News From SMOFcon

SMOFcon, the annual convention for people who run SF conventions, is taking place in Amsterdam this weekend. Kevin and I had memberships, but neither of us could afford to go. Consequently news from the convention is a little light. (Some SMOFs take the “secret” thing much too seriously.) However, thanks to whoever is behind the Chicon 7 Twitter feed (Dave, Helen?), and the hard-working Petrea Mitchell, I do have some news on Worldcon bids.

The big news is an official bid for Montréal for 2019. René Walling presented it, so this is serious. Presumably René will have help from many of the people who worked for him in 2009, and they’ll all be a lot more experienced now.

The bid everyone is talking about, however, is Mariehamn in 2016. This is the location of Åcon, a small Finnish convention that I hope to finally get to visit next year if I can find the money. The bid was presented by the indefatigable Eemeli Aro, who is well known in Finnish fandom for his ambition to run a Worldcon. I suspect that when he gets home they’ll sit him on the furnace in a sauna until he repents his foolishness. I’m certainly not backing the bid without hearing from anyone else because I want to be allowed back into Finland.

Of course a bid for a Finnish location would be a lot of fun, and will give people practice at working with Finnish fans. But I don’t think that the Kansas City folks should be too worried. (Update: see comments, the Mariehamn bid is indeed non-serious.)

Finally there was an announcement of a bid for a Boston to be held at Christmas in 2020. This is a hoax bid. If anyone from Boston says otherwise then the New Zealand committee will send a few large rugby players around to see them.

So the current state of bids is as follows:

19 thoughts on “News From SMOFcon

  1. It’s too bad that neither you nor Kevin were able to attend Smofcon this year. (I couldn’t afford to go either.) In the future, perhaps there might be a way to group-fund a tech-savy attendee at Smofcon, in return for live updates and such? The twitter feed in no way makes up for your Cover-It-Live sessions of the Fannish Inquisition nor Kevin’s usual video coverage. I really miss that coverage this year.

    1. Thanks for the kind words. I doubt that you’ll be able to raise funds for such a thing, but I don’t see why someone else can’t do the coverage. It’s not hard.

  2. Mariehamn is just as much a hoax bid as Boston in 2020 at Christmas (which actually launched at last year’s Smofcon). There was no word from the rumoured New York bid (or from New Orleans, but they’re a year further away). All the other bids presented at the Fannish Inquisition, but Orlando did so via a pre-recorded video and didn’t have a representative at Smofcon.

    1. Thanks Mike. I thought it probably was, but the reaction on Twitter was all treating it as if it was serious. I’ll amend the post so as not to alarm my Finnish friends.

      1. One more update. Andrew Adams reported that the venue for the Japan bid will be the same convention centre in Yokohama as in 2007.

      1. As another hoax bid? You can try.

        Any Worldcon bid for Mariehamn is going to be a hoax, which people familiar with Finland – and Worldcon – will understand as soon as they hear it.

        Marihamn has 11000 inhabitants. Finding hotel space for 3000 persons in Mariehamn would be like trying to fit 4000000 visitors into London. If someone was even going to pretend to be serious, the bid would be for Helsinki.

        1. Ah, but you’re not taking into account the possibility of anchoring a cruiseliner to the harbour for the duration.

          1. I think you’d need 2 or maybe 3, 1300 – 1500 passenger liners. 2 for accommodation and one for other stuff. But… could be done. Silja Line and Viking where are you when we need you?

          2. (re: Eemeli)
            Not to mention the conveniently close camping grounds 🙂
            The main problem, as I see it, is finding a sauna big enough for the dead dog party. . .

  3. Aw Shucks. I was looking forward to attending a Con in Äland. I’ve never been there despite having friends who were from there.

  4. I wouldn’t describe Åcon as a Finnish convention. The very idea is that it’s international, or at least both Swedish and Finnish. The programming is entirely in English. The members come from Finland and Sweden. The committees have been from both Finland and Sweden (and Åland, which has its own culture, different from mainland Finland, perhaps closer to Swedish culture, but still not the same thing). And if I read the WHOIS information correctly, the domain name for the Mariehamn 2016 website seems to have been registered from Sweden in July, so I guess the same thing would go for that.

    As far as fandom goes, Åland only seems to be relevant when Finns and Swedes are to do things together. Otherwise the Finns would keep to mainland Finland and the Swedes to Sweden.

  5. Hi everyone-and Im sorry I couldnt get to Smofcon/Amsterdam. As well as shortage of £££ (or actually Euros), it was also my 62nd and family duties called.

    Now re future Worldcons, has anyone else heard anything re Perth (thats W/Australia not Scotland) in 2025?

    All good wishes for the Christmas Season (B C N Y-ule)

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