So the big question on everyone’s mind is what’s up with GASPcon this year. We were contact by the Monroeville Convention Center (MCC) a couple months ago, letting us know they would not be renting to us any longer. The issue stems from a complaint by the Steel City Convention (SCC) and a part of their contract with the MCC about non-compete events. It seems the SCC feels GASPcon competes with their events, and issued a cease and desist letter to the MCC. I had multiple conversation with the MCC about this issue, trying to get to the root of the issue. We have our opinions on why the SCC issued this CnD order, but I won’t go into these here, except to say we think it primarily stems from our expansion of our vendor activities and the recruitment of new vendors, some that frequented, and were unhappy with, the SCC. In short, the MCC did not want to deal with any legal issues from the SCC, and decided it was in their best interest (and an easier resolution) to stop renting to us. We have no control over what other vendors request or get added to their specific contracts, nor can we force the MCC (or any other venue) to rent their space to us.
We have spent the last few months searching again for a new host venue. As most of you know from our last move out to the MCC, this is a long and arduous process. We already explored most venue around the city the last time we moved, so the list of new places is relatively short. We contacted some of the venues we looked at before, as well as some new ones we felt may work. The few we found that would fit our space and budget do not have dates open this October/November. We reached the point where we did not feel comfortable trying to rush together a convention if we found a space last minute. I know it’s about 4 months away, but it takes about that long to plan the event even when we have a space that is already laid-out and ready to go.
We decided to postpone GASPcon for 2016, and continue to look for a venue for the Spring of 2017. We feel that the Spring timeframe (late April/Early May) may be a better opportunity for GASPcon, for several reasons.
1. It’s a couple months prior to the start of the summer convention season
2. It’s about a month after other local cons, like Cold Wars and COSCON
3. It’s about a month after some other major cons, like Adepticon
4. The weather may be more agreeable in the Spring as opposed to November
5. Rates for spaces should be comparable
6. Last, but not least, the year of the con will line-up with the convention number (GASPcon 17 will be in 2017) – small bonus
I know this is a big let-down for most of you, but we have come to expect from ourselves putting our best foot forward for GASPcon, and we don’t want to skimp on our premier event just to try and fit it in this year. We want to continue offering a wide variety of events, as well as the expansion of our dealer room. Anything less would be a compromise we do not want to make.
The one bit of good news from this (other than the years lining up) is we had booked every month at the SUPC, since at that time we were not sure if the con would be in October or November. Since it will be neither, we will keep both months on the schedule. In addition, we may look at adding another date or two to the Games Day schedule, if there are dates open at the SUPC.
Finally, anyone that paid for GASP Knighthood for 2016, we will carry that into 2017 for free. If anyone else wishes to take advantage of this extension, please see me at a future Games Day. One of the big benefits of Knighthood is the GASPcon discount, so we want to ensure that your donation to the club is not overlooked. We will also be making a renewed effort to have some Knight Nights scheduled for 2016 and beyond, another way to say thanks for your support.
Feel free to ask any questions, either as an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or on the GASP forum http://eonsreach.com/gaspforum/index.php. If you do not have a forum account (or forgot your account info), email us with your preferred user name, and I will get an account created for you (or reactivated).
Don and the GASP Royal Court