Con*Cept To Liquidate

The annual Montreal sf convention Con*Cept was cancelled in 2012 and now its corporate parent, ConCept SF&F Inc., plans to hold a special general assembly on January 20 to entertain a resolution to liquidate. The notice came from Marc Nadeau, its Secretary-Treasurer.  

Con*Cept was founded in 1989 by a local club, MonSFFA. The club ran it from 1989 until 1992 and after that it became an independent entity (with many club members still working on it as individuals). When the con suffered a cancellation in 2000, MonSFFA revived the event and governed it from 2001-2003. It has been run by an independent corporation since then.

The assembly is scheduled for the same date and at the same location as the next MonSFFA meeting. Despite the con’s previous history, I don’t know if anything should be read into that.

Commenters on the original 2012 cancellation said fans had discussed launching a new sf con in Montreal in lieu of Con*Cept, and that in any case the city has other sf-oriented events that are continuing to be held.

[Thanks to John Mansfield for the story.]

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5 thoughts on “Con*Cept To Liquidate

  1. Reasons for this would be nice. If you weren’t give any, why didn’t you make some up, Mike?

  2. To the best of my knowledge…there weren’t enough people available and willing to take committee positions to make Con*cept happen. As many SF literary conventions are suffering through, there is less and less interest in literary works, and more in media, anime, comics, gaming, etc. To be fair, lack of willing people to take committee and staff positions was also the reason for the demise of Polaris, the big media SF convention in Toronto. (This is the convention that Yvonne founded in the late 80s under the name Toronto Trek Celebration.) Many people are retiring from committees, Yvonne and I retired after 30 years, friends who were on the Polaris and Ad Astra committees are retiring or getting married. Not just retiring from running cons, but retiring, period.

  3. Hehya, Lloyd!

    While it’s technically true that there is a lack of bodies here to work on Con*Cept, that’s not the whole story. As usual in fandom, it comes down to some politics and egos, and in this case, specifically one person’s ego. Their name sort of rhymes with _________ The Great. This person has managed to alienate and piss off so many people that no one is willing to work with her on the event. If at some point before this, she had been removed, there are at least a half dozen people with lots of experience, both with Con*Cept, and other cons up and down the East Coast that would have been willing to work on Con*Cept.

    With the dissolution of Con*Cept, this will remove this person’s fingers from the pie, and a new event will pop up to replace it…sad, as until recently, it was a great event, and I have many fond memories from past Con*Cepts.

  4. Uh Nick,

    I don’t know the details of your past history with the person you’re refering to, so I can’t comment about it. While it maybe true that there weren’t enough people volunteering to take committee positions – it was not the only problem facing Con*Cept. Yes, fannish politics and egos were involved, “and in this case, specifically one person’s ego” – but you seem to gotten both the name and gender of that person wrong. I can also tell you that there have been more than enough cheap shots and personal attacks regarding concom members, as anyone who had access to Con*cept’s facebook group page can attest. The rehashing of old blood feuds and settling scores online did enough damage to Con*cept’s reputation and it became much more difficult to recruit or retain people who really wanted to work on the convention. It also created a negative image which made it a far less attractive event for people to attend.

    The main issue was really over the amount of money left in the bank after paying the bills from the 2011 convention. (This information was even made public on the facebook group page.) Declining attendance in recent years had simply depleted the amount of funds available to continue running the convention. While there were a number of suggestions regarding fundraising (notably by Sv Bell) none of these were adopted. There was also talk of running a scaled down event, but no agreement on what that meant. Options discussed included cutting the number of days, guests, and types of programming. Budget issues also made it difficult to attract the types of gohs the conchairs ideally wanted. Although not impossible.

    After the first concom meeting (in late November 2011), I contacted two possible guests with the permission of the conchairs and their advisor. Both the writer and artist responded the next day that they were genuinely interested and looking forward to making the trip to Montreal. I forwarded copies of both emails back along with their contact information and websites. While the artist was eventually contacted, no one made any attempt to contact the writer. Despite repeated assurances that this had been done. After two months I received an email from her asking what happened. Should she assume that the conchairs did not share her interest in appearing at Con*Cept. She finally received a form letter a few weeks later telling her that while there had been no meetings or decision on possible GOHs, that they would understand if she could not keep the dates open. Unfortunately, this was done on the same day that the artist GOH was announced on the convention website! The conchairs had forgotten that both the artist and writer had already been given the convention website and facebook url links during their initial contacts. They also both live in the same state in the northeast, which was an attempt to contain transportation costs. If details could have been worked out, it would have given the conchairs a full year to work on getting guests for 2013, which then could have been announced at the end of the 2012 convention. It might have helped sell advance memberships similiar to other conventions and start a small reserve fund each year. The reason I was given was that the conchairs had decided that they wanted a more media oriented guest.

    As far as the more than half dozen people you referenced as being experienced and willing to work on Con*Cept – none of them ever stepped forward to volunteer! Despite many appeals on the convention website. Long after the person you’re attempting to “scapegoat” resigned from all positions (May 2012). I’ve gotten really tired of character assassinations by this point. Hopefully this clarifies things.

  5. The Montreal clubzine’s January issue [PDF file] confirms that the meeting is to shut down the convention, though expresses hopes it may someday rise again.

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