Last year when we saw it was unlikely we would make the minimum number of hotel reservations we needed, we were able to renegotiate the hotel contract and cut back the function space to reduce the financial risk. While this meant we had to cut some long held functions like the Fannish Video Room and Fanzine Reading Room, it proved a wise precaution as we did make the new minimum but would not have made the original number of registrations needed.
For MW*C 40 we kept the downsized function space but were able to add back the game room while maintaining the same reduced risk.
Sadly, despite our best efforts to increase membership to a sustainable level, advance memberships are at an all-time low and show no sign of improving. Even with repeating the function space downsizing we instituted last year, this year it does not appear we would make the minimum number of hotel reservations needed to avoid thousands in hotel penalties. Therefore, we have no choice but to cancel MW*C 40 and notify attendees so that they can cancel their travel and hotel reservations in a timely fashion.
We hope people will understand that this is not an easy decision for us, and that it does NOT mean MediaWest*Con is dead. Rather, it gives us time to consider how MW*C may continue in some form.
Obviously, the myriad causes are nothing new — the graying of fandom, dwindling interest in fanzine culture, technology that makes face-to-face meetings seem superfluous, ever increasing travel expense and inconvenience, and SF/Media going mainstream, to name but a few. All have contributed to declining membership and participation in suggesting panel topics, Fan Q nominations, etc.. Nor are many of these issues unique to us, as other cons have suffered as well with no solution in sight.
All MW*C 40 memberships will be refunded. Refunds will be made as quickly as possible. Those who paid via PayPal will be refunded via PayPal unless we hear another preference. Due to checking account limitations it may be necessary to spread out payments by check.
The Fan Quality Awards will continue taking nominations, and voting will be conducted as usual online and by mail, with the final results posted on the MW*C website.
As always, we encourage members to subscribe to the MW*C blog to keep up with the latest updates and announcements. We will continue to maintain the MW*C blog and website (www.mediawestcon.org) as your primary sources of MW*C information.
Thanks to all the members, GoFers, Staffers, and other volunteers who have supported MW*C for over 40 years. MW*C has nurtured many long-term friendships, facilitated many great discussions, supported many dreams, and provided a safe haven for SF/Media fans with diverse interests to gather and share their passions. We never expected the the party to continue for over four decades! It would be wonderful to gather again in the future in celebration.
We would like to do at least one final convention, but at this point it doesn’t appear there is enough interest to carry it out.
— Lori & Gordon