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FanCon’s sudden postponement baffles attendees, vendors

the community has joined together to organize alternative events

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Universal FanCon was abruptly postponed on Friday, Apr. 20.

Universal FanCon, described as the “first multi-fandom Con dedicated to inclusion, highlighting women, LGBTQ, the disabled and persons of color,” left ticketholders, panelists and vendors baffled after the event was postponed just days before kick off.

The three-day event, which was scheduled for April 27-29 at the Baltimore Convention Center and raised more than $50,000 through a Kickstarter campaign, promised exhibitors, panels, a screening of “Avengers: Infinity War,” among other scheduled events.

On Friday, April 20 Universal FanCon put everyone’s plans to a halt with a statement announcing the event was “postponed” in an email.

A statement, including a FAQ, was eventually posted to the Universal FanCon website.

“Based on an evaluation of all the information available, it was decided that it would be irresponsible to move forward with our plans. Although we worked diligently to preserve the vision of an event that fosters true inclusion, diversity, and safety for all of our guests, exhibitors, and attendees; despite working tirelessly for close to two years, we fell short in delivering the event we envisioned,” the statement reads.

A lack of funding is cited as the main issue for the con’s postponement as the statement admits, “costs started to grow exponentially. Unfortunately, the support we were anticipating in terms of ticket sales and sponsorships did not materialize.”

The statement appeared to be altered a few times since its release with one version of the statement inviting traveling guests to join the Universal FanCon team to watch “Avengers: Infinity War.”

Participants who had invested time and money into the event, including flights and hotels, shared their frustrations on Twitter which brought together a community of hurt con lovers.

In a tweet apology, Jamie Broadnax, editor-in-chief of Black Girl Nerds, denied her involvement as a co-founder of the con and insisted she was an “unpaid volunteer.”

Her statement confused FanCon followers who posted screenshots of Broadnax’s Twitter bio that included “co-founder of FanCon.”

Universal FanCon executive director Robert Butler also released a series of tweets blaming hotel management for the cancellation.

FanCon stated that an effort to refund ticketholders would be made although details were not clarified. According to some Twitter users, refunds have slowly trickled in.

In response to the many disappointed participants, the community banned together to recover time, money and potential exposure.

WICOMICON 2018, a pop-up convention at 1100 Wicomico St., Baltimore, Md. is on Saturday, April 28 from 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

Tickets are $10 and $5 for FanCon ticketholders. Kids 12 and under are free. The event will feature exhibitors, panels, cosplay contests and appearances from members of the cast of ‘The Magicians” and “Killjoys.”

The pop-up con was a last minute group effort by Nerds of Color, Black Heroes Matter, The New Release Wednesday Show’s Patrick Michael Strange, theblerdgurl, Syfy Wire’s contributing editor Karama Horne, Carbon-Fibre Media’s André Robinson and Be A Boss app CEO Elijah Kelley.

DJ Meagan “Ducky Dynamo” Buster has also organized Universal FanCon Redemption Function, a dance party where artists, vendors and guests are invited to dance and sell their merchandise at The Depot (1728 N Charles St., Baltimore, Md.) on Monday, April from 7-11 p.m.

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