This past weekend was VancouFur, a local furry convention.
I admit that I went into this convention with a touch of the “meh”‘s. I tend to have that more when the convention is local to me instead of when I have to travel a great distance. A lot of that is that just having to drive 30 minutes is not enough time to sufficiently go into “con mode” than 16 hours of driving or 10+ hours of airplane travel.
Another big part of the “meh”‘s is that VancouFur is a small convention, with 724 attendees. While that might seem like quite a few, it really didn’t feel like there were ever that many people there. The most people that I ever saw around the lobby area was perhaps 40-60 watching as the fursuit parade went through. The rest of the time the lobby peaked at maybe 25-30 people, and frequently went down to “I can count the people here on one hand”.
The number of people around at any time has a direct correlation to “Do I want to get out in costume or not?” If there are enough people around, then sure – it’s worth the time that it takes to put something complex all together and get dressed and wander out. If it’s just ‘handful’, then I really don’t consider it worth the time to spend all that effort into getting ready, only to just go down to walk around the lobby area where there’s barely anyone to interact with.
Why does this con in particular always feel like there are so fewer people there than actually are? I think that a lot of it could be due to the hotel itself. At that hotel, the Executive Suites Hotel & Conference Centre in Burnaby, practically every room is a suite, which gives you personal hang-out space that you can invite people up to and disappear from the convention for however long. Consider also that the only real “public hang-out and chat space” was the lobby which was small and didn’t have a lot of seats, and this also would drive people up to their rooms. Essentially, this makes the convention a Room Party Con and draws people away from the public gather spaces. If you’re not part of the right groups, then you can end up feeling fairly ostracized from all of those ‘parties’ going on.
This year too, the convention hotel wasn’t large enough for everyone who wanted to stay, so perhaps half the people were over in the overflow hotel which was a fair distance away from the main hotel. This then meant that likely a good number of people were hanging out in and around that hotel instead of the main one.
I also feel that the majority of the demographic at this convention is that of the younger, more into parties type person, of which I’m not. I’m on the wrong side of 40 years old now, and I don’t really care for the “drink yourself silly” parties that seem to be the norm with people here (locally). That, as well, may be why I seem to have fallen by the wayside of the furry community here, and never really hear about anything that’s going on.
That leads into another reason why this convention didn’t ‘click’ for me either. The majority of people were the locals with only a few out-of-towners that I knew. With my social interests not aligning well with many of the locals these days, this meant less people I really wanted to hang out with at the con.
Next convention for me is Confuzzled, over in the UK. I have a lot farther to travel for that, and the lounge bar in the Birmingham Hilton Metropole hotel is an awesome public hang-out space, and there’s always people around there and in the lobby… all that makes that convention look far more appealing than my local one.