An Update on Flame Con 2021
To our queer geek community,
2021 has finally arrived, and with it we begin a new year of planning for this year’s Flame Con!
2020 presented us with several hard decisions and new challenges, especially around how best to keep everyone safe and provide as much of a Flame Con experience as possible. Several decisions were entirely out of our hands. 2021 is presenting us with very similar challenges.
COVID-19 continues to be the primary factor in our ability to hold an in person event safely. We are still in contract with the Sheraton Times Square, but are largely at the mercy of the venue’s priorities, the laws governing the city of New York and, of course, the pace of vaccine distribution across the country. Like many conventions, we currently have two imperfect options to choose from. If we preemptively cancel the event, before state & local authorities have expressly forbidden large gatherings, we forfeit our deposit with the venue. If we wait for authorities to make a decision on events like ours, we likely won’t know if an in-person Flame Con is possible until just before this August. As a non-profit with a modest budget, forfeiting the deposit to the venue would risk our ability to come back for another year. So, unfortunately, we must wait.
As always, our primary focus will be to make Flame Con as safe and accessible as possible. It is with this in mind that our planning for 2021 will continue with the expectation of having an in person event (until we are told otherwise), while also planning ways to make Flame Con available to those who cannot attend in person – even if that happens to be everyone. This is a great opportunity for us to rethink our operations and expand on our mission – creating a space in geek culture where LGBTQ nerds of all experiences feel welcomed!
So while we await a decision, and anxiously hope that the situation improves, we are working on the following plans:
- Exhibitors – Many of our 2020 exhibitors are still planning to attend in 2021. We will decide whether to open the remaining table spaces as we learn more on changes to venue capacity. And, in an effort to also support creators virtually, we are exploring options for an online Exhibit Hall.
- Attendees – We are going to hold off on opening attendee ticket sales and hotel room reservations until we know more about whether in person attendance is possible.
- Special Guests – We will continue to work with and secure special guests for 2021, with the knowledge that we may only be providing remote content.
- Programming – Flame Con will soon be opening applications for panels, workshops, and performances. We will be planning for a full 2 days of programming, regardless of venue/format, and applicants should be prepared to have their proposals be available for remote viewing.
- Volunteers – We will be opening up volunteer applications in the next month. Whether we hold an in person or fully remote event, we will absolutely need help doing so! If you are interested in helping, please sign up.
- New Initiatives – We are exploring new ways to bring Flame Con to you – in-person, virtually, and year round! Look out for announcements on how you can help us support our creators, join discussion on the things that matter most to us queer geeks, and spread Flame Con joy beyond two days in August.
It’s hard to plan around uncertainty, but we will provide updates to everyone as soon as we are able. Regardless of what comes our way, we hope you will be able to join us this year!
If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org