As many of you may have started to notice by now, I have not yet been announced as a guest at this year's Dragoncon. In fact, it's starting to look like I may NOT be invited this year at all. I have long since lost count but I believe that if I'm doing my math correctly, this would have been my 15th year in a row performing there! Hard to believe but true.
It's my biggest show of the year. At no other time do I find myself performing to 3 thousand people a night for three nights in a row. I pack a huge ballroom, I MC many of their costume contests ('cause lets face it, SOMEONE appreciates that I can talk non-stop for 4 hours and then play 6 songs! Bless their little hearts, whoever they are! LOL!). I show my films in the film festival. I speak on panels about music, designing toys, making films, writing books, Goth, Steampunk... etc. etc. etc.. Suffice to say, I LOVE this convention, I feel I have become part of the very tapestry of it and yes, I consider the staff, my fellow guests and all of the 50,000 plus attendees.. family.
So, why wouldn't they have me back this year, you ask? Well, it seems that every year there are a VERY vocal few who complain that the convention is the same year after year. I'm there every year, the Cruxshadows and Emerald Rose are there every year.. this is true. But the fact is that pretty much all of the other bands do NOT play there every year. They tend to cycle them in and out, constantly adding new acts along the way. And of course, I probably do not need to point out that there are hundreds of guests and artists, many of whom do not appear every year. HOWEVER... the fact remains that every year, this very vocal few blast their horns and tell the Con chairs to stop booking the same bands. In principle... there is nothing wrong with that.
However, the thing is that... the reason there are some of us who are there EVERY YEAR is because there are people, and I mean LOTS AND LOTS of people for whom our shows have become an integral part of the Dragoncon experience. There are thousands of people who every single year put a ton of work into making their fairy wings... planning and preparing and counting every single last second to see their favorite band, The Cruxshadows. The reason the Cruxshadows are there every year is because people want them there EVERY YEAR. The same may be true about me. It's not my place to assume.
However, believe it or not, the thousands of people who very much wish to see us regulars don't blast their horns about it every year... well, maybe because they've never had to before. So all the Con chairs hear is "STOP BOOKING THESE SAME BANDS EVERY YEAR!"
And so, at long last, it appears the Con is finally buckling to that pressure. I have not been announced as a guest for this year and frankly have accepted that I may not be. I'm okay with that. I really am. Why? Because I stand by a business' right to change and evolve and listen to their customers' wishes in order to be the event their customers wish to attend. In fact, I just figured I'd go find something else to do labor day weekend and make the best of it. Would I miss it? Of course! Would I feel like I was the only one not invited to the family reunion? Yes... sadly, I would. But as a businessman, I accept and understand if the attendees feel it's time for a change.
Now, I had planned to simply not say a word about any of this except that now, there is this:
A delightful and VERY well meaning young lady by the name of Liz, very saddened that I would not be there this year, decided to show her support by starting a Facebook page asking Dragoncon to reinstate me. It's VERY VERY sweet and VERY VERY kind but it can be a very dangerous move. I will tell you why...
Many years ago, after I had played at D*con for about 4 years in a row but wasn't really yet a regular part of the tapestry, they decided not to have me back as a guest for a year. My fans went nuts and phone bombed their offices. D*con was PISSED and no amount of me insisting I had nothing to do with it was the least bit convincing to them. I'm sure they would have NEVER had me back had they not suddenly needed me to MC some shows.
So, please... if you agree with Liz, if you feel it's time for those who WANT the regulars there to be heard, join the page, share the page, post on the page... but DO NOT PHONE OR EMAIL DRAGONCON DIRECTLY!!!! I can almost promise you that the result will not be me being invited back this year, it will be me NEVER being asked back.
Thanks for your kindness! Thanks for your support! I will never cease to be touched and moved by the fact that you wish to come to my show, chat at my booth, share a drink, a photo and a hug!
And if I don't see you at DragonCon this year, I hope it's an amazing year for all who attend and I'm sure I'll see you there some other time!
In the meantime, you can reminisce with me here: http://voltaire.net/photo_gallery
The last eleven pictures are from DragonCon years past!