Louisville’s Fandom Fest is still happening this weekend (July 28-30), but in the past few days its slate of celebrity guests has lost so much luster that local TV station WDRB reports “Fans of Fandomfest now say they feel conned by convention”.
The list of near 40 celebrities announced paired down to just 18 as of Wednesday, two days before the start of the convention.
The event brings celebrities and superheros under one roof with superfans. In years past, thousands traveled to Louisville to interact with the actors of television and film. Some even dress up as their favorite characters from entertainment including comics and cartoons.
On Facebook, a Fandom Fest spokesperson glossed over the situation:
- The Cancellations started with several guests who are contracted to film either TV Shows and or Films. This is something that every convention deals with. When you book any working Celebrity this is a risk you take. Every guest we announced we have signed contracts on from them.
- As far as the rest of the guests they each have their reasons. Some are medical, others are personal. It is not always for us to disclose the exact reason they have chosen to cancel.
Fans’ dissatisfaction is amplified by the convention’s strict “no refund” policy. The WDRB story says:
Online fans are irate, one calling Fandomfest, “A fantastic bait-and-switch scam.” Tickets range from $30 to $300 for the three-day event and all of its VIP experiences. Some paid for personal interactions, autographs and pictures with stars who are no longer coming. They’re being told they can exchange it for an experience with a celebrity in attendance.
“We have a no-refund policy that is listed on the website,” [Fandom Fest organizer Myra] Daniels said. “It also says that any guest is subject to cancellation at any time.”
Guests have been dropping out since a recent announcement that Fandom Fest was moving from its previous venue, the Kentucky Expo Center, to an empty Macy’s store several
blocks miles away – accompanied by questions whether the convention had even booked the Expo space for 2017. While some think the less glamorous facility is to blame, the real reason may be failure to meet commitments to the celebrities..
The latest cancellations include Weird Al Yankovic and 90210’s Tori Spelling and Ian Ziering.
“Delayed flights and hotel room reservations — it just didn’t look like a good situation to be in,” said Tony Vela, Spelling and Ziering’s booking agent.
“They did not ever confirm travel and or accommodations with two deadlines accepted to do so. It was on them,” said cartoon voice actor Charlie Adler.
Daniels insisted to WDRB the travel arrangements were in place.
Insider Louisville has been keeping track of the guests who are no longer coming: “After venue change, Fandom Fest loses celebrity guests”. A few do have work schedule conflicts. In addition to those already named, the cancellations include —
…Chris Sullivan, who is one of the stars of the acclaimed “This Is Us” television drama. He also appeared in “Stranger Things” and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.”
Paul McGann, the eighth incarnation of the Doctor in “Doctor Who,” has also canceled.
Spencer Wilding has also canceled. He appeared in as Darth Vader in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Movie” (James Earl Jones voiced the character), “Guardians of the Galaxy” and other sci-fi movies and television shows. In a short video on the con’s Facebook page, Wilding says that he’s “gutted” not to make the festival, but that work calls.
Also gone are Burt Ward, the original Tinkerbell, and voice actors from Disney’s animated Beauty and the Beast.
[Thanks to JJ for the story.]
Update 07/28/17: Corrected distance between Kentucky Expo Center and the old Macy’s.