Should there be a second Arisia con during the year?

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Should there be a second Arisia con during the year?

Postby ringworld » Wed Jan 29, 2014 4:14 pm

Arisia is the smallest of the very large conventions, or perhaps the largest of the small ones.

One thing is for sure: No other convention in New England is anything like it. Some cons focus on Anime, Gaming, Reading, Horror, etc., but Arisia is one of the few that covers the totality of sci-fi & fantasy fandom: written, media, art, music, gaming, etc.

There are very few similar size cons like this in America's northeast (Lunacon and I-Con, on Long Island, being the two that most closely resemble it)

But the size of Arisia keeps growing every year, and recent discussions mention increasing the attendance cap, again and again. I see this as a potential problem -other conventions skyrocketed in size, and lost what they were. I'd hate to see Arisia eroded by it turning into a mass media entry event, with thousands more people. It wouldn't be a true con community anymore

At the same time, I don't like turning people away; it is clear that the demand for what Arisia offers is huge, and growing. So how best to serve this need, without destroying the specialness that is Arisia?

I propose that we - in some yet to be defined way - create a second annual event, perhaps in spring or summer.

In this way, more people could have more fun and community, more often, by spreading this over time and place. Seems like a much better solution than to jam 10,000 people into one hotel, for one weekend.

I know that some people want Arisia to stay on one weekend only, and just get larger but think about this: On one of the Arisia FB pages, Tanya writes:
Do you see a difference in experience in watching a discussion with 3000 people, or watching a discussion, with the possibility of weighing in, in a room full of 50 people. I guess I don't really have a good word to describe the active versus passive participation that gets lost as audience size increases.


That is what I am getting it, and why Arisia is so special.

* There is a difference between television and the real world;
* There is a difference between gazing on an audience of 1,000 people watching a speaker - and actually participating in a room full of fellow fans!. Here, in a very real world sense, we constitute a community.

It's like prayer in a synagogue in church. Do you want to watch a podcast of it - or be a part of it? I don't understand the former, let alone have any desire to pay money for it. It's the latter - being able to actually participate - which is warm and meaningful. And that's hard to do if we invite thousands more people to join in on the same one weekend.
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Re: Should there be a second Arisia con during the year?

Postby ringworld » Wed Jan 29, 2014 4:20 pm

Of course, how one does this is important. Two Arisia like events could burn out the volunteers. However, there is no need to do this from scratch. Arisia could simply reach out to already existing cons across New England. Partner with them - leverage talent, experience and skills. The extra people (and man-hours) are already existing, and being done. But they currently occurs without the wonderful experience (and partner-branding :D ) of Arisia.

This was it would easier to create a different weekend, perhaps in a different part of New England, that offered the same wide array of experiences and programming that Arisia offers.

The need is clear: Just look at the hundreds of comments on the various online communities. People across New England are looking for conventions, here, much larger than those small cons of 100 to 300 people ... yet smaller than those crazy 10,000 person cons, which are all commercial, and have no feel of community.

That is the need which we can serve. Partner with volunteers from the other smaller cons. They lack the deep experience and wide skill-set of Arisia. With cooperation, this can be provided.
To be clear, I am not suggesting that any other con has to duplicate the experience exactly. But it's clear that shared expertise can reduce the individual volunteer workload, widen exposure, serve far more people, reduce expenses, and offer more of what everyone is asking for :-)


FWIW, This second Arisia doesn't necessarily have to be called "Arisia", or staffed and run solely by Arisia folks.
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Re: Should there be a second Arisia con during the year?

Postby ringworld » Wed Jan 29, 2014 4:25 pm

Where could such a con be held? Pi-Con is a smaller con, held this year in Connecticut, but if we worked to create another Arisia-like event, we'd have to think carefully about where it should be held.

Shirley Márquez Dúlcey had written on Facebook:
Pi-Con and various other conventions lack one essential thing: they aren't in a city........Getting to a convention in a location like Enfield CT is a challenge. BEING at such a convention is also a challenge because you are captive to the con; you have to eat all your meals there and you can't get away unless you beg your car-enabled friends for rides....


These are good points. With expertise from folks at Arisia, a con could be located somewhere with more public transportation, and more cultural and restaurant options. Places like:
Lowell, MA, Salem, MA; Manchester, NH, Nashua, NH; New Haven, CT, Hartford, CT
And I'm wondering: Is there any place in southern Maine that could possibly work?

What are your thoughts?
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Re: Should there be a second Arisia con during the year?

Postby Selkiechick » Wed Jan 29, 2014 4:43 pm

We are not the Borg.
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Re: Should there be a second Arisia con during the year?

Postby ringworld » Wed Jan 29, 2014 4:47 pm

^ LOL! Hey, we are all just fans, and most of us go to more than one convention. Cooperation, and spreading the love to another season, isn't like being taken over by the Borg collective.

Some minor amounts of cooperation and cross-publicizing already occur, in small ways. Always thought that this was a good thing :-)
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Re: Should there be a second Arisia con during the year?

Postby sova216 » Fri Mar 10, 2017 2:05 pm

I was waiting for the second arena and waited !! Hooray))
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