DisCon III Moves to December 2021 at the Omni Shoreham

DisCon III, the 2021 Worldcon, will take place as an in-person convention from December 15-19, 2021, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC.

The DisCon III committee chose these dates after nearly two-thirds of respondents to their public survey said they would prefer an in-person December convention over a virtual convention in August. The committee’s public opinion survey launched December 3 asked respondents to pick between “shifting DC III to December 15-19, 2021, with a high probability to be an in-person Worldcon, or keeping with our existing August 25-29, 2021, which would be mostly virtual with the potential for limited in-person activities.” The survey’s full results can be found on DisCon III’s website.

This marks the first time since 1948 (Torcon I) that a Worldcon will not be taking place in either August or September, and the first time Worldcon will be held in December.

“It has been a long and dark year; hopefully, with this news, we can have a December to remember,” said DisCon III Chair Bill Lawhorn. “This team has been working hard through some significant challenges but has continued to push forward even as challenges mounted. Getting past our major roadblock is just the thing we need. I need to thank everyone for their support and understanding.”

The Omni Shoreham Hotel, located across the street from DisCon III’s previous hotel, features 834 guest rooms and over 100,000 square feet (9,290.3 square meters) of meeting space. The convention expects to open up the sleeping room block for reservations very soon.

Omni Shoreham Hotel

Additionally, DisCon III will be providing a Virtual Membership for those who wish to participate in Worldcon but will not be able to travel to Washington, DC, this December. The Virtual Membership price will start at US$75 and will be available for purchase shortly. DisCon III Supporting Members will be allowed to upgrade their membership for the price difference. Attending Members who cannot physically attend will be allowed to convert their membership to a Virtual Membership and either receive the difference as a refund or contribute the difference to the Capitalize! Fan Fund.

Regarding the Hugo Awards, science fiction’s most prestigious awards, the change in DisCon III’s dates will mean a shift to the Hugo voting timeline. More information will be forthcoming on April 13, 2021, when DisCon III releases the Hugo finalists.

Finally, as Worldcon site selection filing has already closed, DisCon III will not reopen and shift the 2023 Worldcon filing deadline.

Update: The survey results are posted in “New Dates, New Hotel | DisCon III”.

[Based on a press release.]

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59 thoughts on “DisCon III Moves to December 2021 at the Omni Shoreham

  1. Steve Davidson: This discussion really makes me wonder about the discussion(s) regarding what to do with Worldcon just prior to WWII.

    There was no established Worldcon tradition “just prior to WWII”. The first ever Worldcon was just two months before the war began (though it’s true that the US wouldn’t join in for 2½ more years), and with 200 members was very unlike modern Worldcons.

  2. Cora Buhlert: Which to me means that the majority of the membership does not care about members from outside the US and whether they can attend the con.

    I just checked, and it’s currently over £100 cheaper to book direct return flights from London to Washington DC for the December dates than for the August dates (arriving the day before and leaving the day after).

  3. @Cora Buhlert–I think you should take a moment to consider the fact that, with that huge cancelation fee, DisCon III literally cannot afford to turn down the hotel’s “offer” of the December date.

    And responders to the survey would have been, in all likelihood, tilted toward those most motivated by emotion–the desire to “get back to normal,” not those willing to see DisCon do whatever was the best arrangement the concom could make. Also, of course, they’re mostly not thinking of the logistics of other people’s travel, just as you’re not thinking about what the heck DisCon III does about that intentionally prohibitive cancelation fee.

    I think having an in-person WorldCon the week before Christmas is going to be a failure in numerous ways, but I really don’t think they have a choice, not a meaningful choice. And I’m probably going to upgrade to a virtual membership if I can afford to, if only to do my small bit in encouraging as much attention to virtual program as possible.

    And whether I can upgrade or not, I’m going to be hoping for the best, and for the 2022 WorldCon to be a genuinely in-person WorldCon in a world where that’s possible again.

  4. I’ve had good trips to D.C. during December. You don’t need sunny weather to visit the world-class museums, government buildings and monuments, which is most of what I want to do there anyway.

    I know December is a dealbreaker for some people and I’m sorry to hear that, but personally I have a better chance of going on the new dates than I did in August. My family has been extremely cautious during the pandemic about our activities out in the world. We exercise outdoors and go to health care providers, but otherwise we stay home. It will take a lot less coronavirus spreading around for me to think it’s a good idea to attend a big public event.

  5. Tammy Coxen: I think you make a very good point.

    Brian Z; Actually, August in Washington gets a bad reputation. It’s hot but tolerable. It’s July where we have hot humid days in the upper nineties and Excessive Heat Warnings.

  6. I think you should take a moment to consider the fact that, with that huge cancelation fee, DisCon III literally cannot afford to turn down the hotel’s “offer” of the December date.

    DisCon’s initial statement did not mention the cancellation fee. Tammy Coxen only mentioned that in the comments here and I have sympathy for that.

    Also, I wouldn’t be flying via London. Most likely, I would be flying via Amsterdam, Frankfurt or Munich, maybe Paris.

  7. The statement doesn’t have the cost implications but the FAQ about the changes does – read:

    So why did you not go 100% virtual in August like other conventions?

    In January 2021, our previous hotel, the Marriott Wardman Park hotel went into bankruptcy and was closed permanently by the current ownership. That action froze all contracts and left DisCon III staff with a contractual obligation which it could not simply walk away from without the risk of owing over $500,000 in guarantees to that property. At the same time, the convention also had an obligation to the tune of over $400,000 dollars to the Omni Shoreham if we attempted to break the contract to go completely virtual. This meant the cost of breaking contracts would have been very prohibitive for many members. In order to have a chance at providing a better experience for the fandom, we decided to move to in-person in December with a virtual element.

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