FedCon USA Cancelled After One Day [UPDATED]

This morning in Dallas, Texas, shortly after the start of the second day of the first ever FedCon USA, the show was cancelled. At 11:14 AM (Central Time), after the first Saturday guest (John Billingsley) finished his appearance, the show MC came out on stage announced that the convention was closed due to poor attendance.

 

“It’s Over”
This morning the second day of Fedcon USA started off with John Billingsley (Phlox – Star Trek Enterprise) and his wife Bonita Freidericy (who guested on Enterprise) entertaining the crowd with thoughts and anecdotes on Star Trek Enterprise as well as jokes about Billingsley’s Enterprise cast mates. As their appearance was finishing up with Q&A, FedCon USA MC Richard Anderson came on stage and told the crowd “we have no choice but to cancel the remainder of the event." Billingsley and Friedericy stayed on stage after Anderson’s announcement and vowed to "stay until all questions are answered."

Anderson cited the lower-than-expected attendance, saying organizers "were hoping for people to show up" and again repeated "we have no choice." When asked if they would finish up with the planned guests for Saturday, Anderson said "It’s over as of 10 minutes ago." Anderson did say that convention goers would get a full refund. Those who bought their tickets at the event were able to get their refunds immediately but those who bought in advance were told they would get refunds "at a later date." Anderson noted that FedCon USA organizer and founder of Trek United Tim Brazeal (who was not at the event due to illness) would "go into personal debt" to pay back all attendees.

As of noon Saturday the main hall and the dealers room have been closed, but the autograph room remains open (and will stay open until 4PM). Some of the guests including Connor Trinneer (Trip Tucker – Enterprise), JG Hertzler (Martok – DS9) and Robert O’Reilly (Gowron – TNG & DS9) are in the autograph room signing for the fans. Hertzler and O’Reilly are in costume.


O’Reilly and Hertzler in the Autograph Room Saturday
(with Mary Czerwinski of DVD Geeks)

FedCon USA is no FedCon Germany
FedCon Germany is known for putting together some of the best organized and largest conventions in the world, but apparently this event was ‘FedCon’ in name only.  Billingsley told the crowd "this has nothing to do with FedCon Germany…I think that was frankly somewhat misleading." Anderson informed the crowd that FedCon Germany, who had licensed the name to Brazeal "pulled out in January." Friedericy apologized to the audience saying "I’m so sorry, so sorry for you all." Mark B. Lee of FedCon Germany has written a statement on the FedCon USA Board noting how FedCon Germany discontinued their association with FedCon USA back in January.


Autograph Room at FedCon USA Saturday

Friday: Relaxed start – first signs of trouble
Friday night FedCon USA started off with a relaxed party atmosphere. Attendees mingled with celebrity guests like Connor Trinneer, Garrett Wang, J. G. Hertzler, and Menina Fortunato. The intimate setting allowed everyone to relax and interact on a level that is rare at conventions. The opening ceremonies were highlighted by an appearance of stormtroopers from the local 501st legion, and John Billingsley jumped in as ringleader, crashing the other introductions and pouring drinks for everyone on stage. Late at night, one cast entertained with a live "Rocky Horror" in the main convention room while Billingsley and his wife Bonita serenaded and danced with the crowds at a separate party. However, the first signs of trouble were also evident Friday night, with some of the ‘confirmed’ guests not showing up, including Anthony Montgomery (Travis Mayweather – Enterprise),  Aaron Douglas and James Callis (Chief Tyrol and Gaius Baltar on the new Battlestar Galactica).

You can actually read comments directly from Douglas about the reasons he did not show up on the FedCon USA Forum. Douglas cites how the con never came through with promised plane tickets and makes it clear that he and Callis are not happy with Brazeal and the FedCon USA organizers and apologizes to the fans.


Friday night at FedCon USA

 

UPDATE: FedCon spokesman explains what happened
Chuck Ballard, Tim Brazeals’s son and on-site organizer and spokesperson talked to TrekMovie.com about the demise of FedCon USA.

Interview was conducted by DVD Geek’s Mary Czerwinski (aka ‘TeleVixon’), reporting from FedCon for TrekMovie.com.

TrekMovie.com: Where was the breakdown?
Chuck Ballard: I don’t think we were too ambitious. The biggest matter was disorganization. Tim is very smart, but we were spread thin, and some areas didn’t get covered.

TrekMovie: When was the decision made and was it your decision to close the convention?
Chuck Ballard: Yes, this was my decision…Last night, I was going to call it, but the hotel wanted to work with me to keep it open. We ran some numbers last night, and [the hotel’s] administrative staff were trying to make it work. This morning it fell apart. If I try to keep carrying this on, it’s going to hurt more people – not so much the fans, but the talent. John (Billingsley) has really stepped up to bat.

TrekMovie: Does Tim [Brazeal] know you cancelled it?
Ballard: At this point, he knows. Tim knows he’s the fall guy and a lot of people are going to hate him, and I feel for him. I’ll try to help him as much as I can.

TrekMovie: There are rumors that a lot actors didn’t get their plane tickets in advance and that is why they are not here?
Ballard: A lot of the actors had to cancel. I think [the talent coordinators] just waited to book the flight until they have confirmation. You never know. A week or a month before they may have to pull out.

TrekMovie: Have they been compensated for their time – are they getting their rate or a reduced rate?
Ballard:  Everyone as much as possible. Not everyone has gotten paid.

TrekMovie: Can you resurrect this con–what about the future?
Ballard: As for other conventions, Tim’s done.

 


That says it all

 

John Champion is reporting from FedCon for TrekMovie.com and DVD Geeks. DVD Geeks (which John produces) is a fan-oriented DVD review and commentary show on the America One Television Network. For more information check out DVDGeeks.TV

 

Sort by:   newest | oldest
andoriano
June 14, 2008 12:54 pm

pues mira que es raro que se suspenda una convencion en USA, sobre todo una con la importancia de esta por poca asistencia, lo mismo es la crisis ;(

Xai, (remembering the Boy Scouts and Flood Victims of Iowa)
June 14, 2008 12:54 pm

Whoa

RTC
June 14, 2008 12:54 pm

Wow. Stunning and disappointing. Let’s hope this is a quirk and not a sign of things to come for future conventions.

That One Guy
June 14, 2008 1:06 pm

1,

I hope so. It doesn’t seem like this kind of thing would happen very often. It’s most likely a quirk. “Crisis” indeed.

Irishtrekkie
June 14, 2008 1:09 pm

@3 , well i dont think so, converntions are still populour , but its more the big few ones now days , and i know you can put 100s of hours of work into putting one on and not getting anything back
( i once looked into what it would take to hold a sci fi conversation where i live ( Dublin ) as there had not been one for years ,and i know people would go , but the cost of holding one and trying to get guest etc , it was just impossible , so i have the respect for the people who manage to hold successfull ones every year and for the people running fedcon usa who i am sure tried really hard to make it work .

Thomas
June 14, 2008 1:13 pm

That’s disappointing. We know a lot of work goes into putting these conventions together. Maybe they will be able to get something going next year. Does anyone know how far in advance this convention was announced?

lennier1
June 14, 2008 1:16 pm

Reading Aaron Douglas´ (nuBSG´s Chief Tyrol) side of the story is a rather sobering experience: http://fedconusa.com/community/index.php?act=Search&nav=au&CODE=show&searchid=55422e4fe0d3e0d45b46e27d2546710e&search_in=posts&result_type=posts

Lou
June 14, 2008 1:35 pm

one thing i don’t get is why in the world are there so many conventions?
there’s been like 8 in the last month already.
how ’bout those klingon kostumes only get dug out of the bottom of the closet once per year, eh?

June 14, 2008 1:37 pm
This statement was posted by me on their board in representation of our past involvement with FedconUSA: An Official Statement from Fedcon GmbH (Germany’s originator for the title FEDCON. GmbH is known as INC. in the states) This could end up being a rather long statement but for the sake of the headache I already have from reading all of the disparaging news, I’ll try to make it brief. I would hope that all of the fans involved with the emotions that were initiated by guest cancellations and lack of communication has had time to ponder their association with the FEDCON family. I cannot speak for the FEDCONUSA team because we were not involved in its execution and I would be overstepping my boundaries as a representative of FEDCON GmbH. FEDCONUSA was an experiment that was early abandoned by its corporate offices in Germany for various reasons. Tim Brazeal and his group were given permission for a one time usage of its name for this event only. We had no reason to deny his request for we found Tim to be an honored friend of ours. FEDCON GmbH is in no way distancing itself from FEDCONUSA and would have found this statement unnecessary had not one of its scheduled actors expressed the full effects this event had brought upon him via his justifiable posts on the forum board. We understand his confusion and disappointment. FEDCON GmbH has operated its events successfully in Germany for 16 years with our last April… Read more »
D
June 14, 2008 1:38 pm

I’m not surprised at the low turnout at all…

Conventions have just become too commercial, which is one of the reasons I don’t go to them anymore. I realize the organizers want to make money, and I don’t fault them for that, but the conventions I went to in the late eighties-early nineties had an entirely different “feel” to the last couple I’ve attended.

It used to be you went to conventions partially so you could actually interact with the rest of the fanbase, hang out with people as dedicated to Star Trek, (or Star Wars, or BSG, or whatever) as you were. The internet has made that part of the equation less of a draw. The little trinckets you could only purchase at a convention are now up for grabs at reasonable prices on Ebay all the time.

The growth of the constant internet “convention” has resulted in the only draw being the actors, who reasonably want to be compensated for their time, and are not having to beg for table scraps anymore. The fall out of pricing has made conventions cost far more than many people honestly feel they are worth. Add to that the current economic situation, and you have convention cancelation.

Thomas
June 14, 2008 1:42 pm

7. I followed the link you posted, and read through the FedCon thread. Aaron Douglas was really pissed off at the organizers for essentially screwing Aaron over and those who went to Dallas to see him and James. It sounds like the organizers are just trying to cover themselves. In my last post, I said I hoped they would be able to get something going next year. If a convention is this poorly managed, to the point where would-be guests are blackballing you, you need to just close up shop.

June 14, 2008 1:58 pm

I’m so sad that the name FEDCON is used because the REAL FedCon is in Germany and it it truly an amazing event.

M.
June 14, 2008 2:00 pm

So could someone explain to me why they couldn’t finish out the day atleast? I mean they should have atleast given the fans that much. I don’t care if they had to pay the guests and convention hall out of their own pockets. If they promised a show, then they’d better deliver. Have they no shame, or is the who convention circuit becomming a SLANTED FEDORA fiasco?!

Any thoughts…

Sirmartman
June 14, 2008 2:03 pm

Shocking,,

:o (

Paul Martin
June 14, 2008 2:11 pm

Poor folks! Totally off topic, just watched of gods and men part 3…… interesting….

Psytce
June 14, 2008 2:27 pm

Very disappointed, I was on my way to this and the person I was meeting there called to tell me this news. This was going to be my first convention since 1978. I went to the Star Trek convention at the Statler Hilton in New York from 1973 to 78. I was going because I have really been into trek lately and I wanted to see what had changed since I last went to a convention.

I sure hope this doesn’t effect other conventions feeling about having a convention in Dallas or else I’ll never get back to one.

Daoud
June 14, 2008 2:29 pm

Aaron Douglas is such an amazing fellow… Read what he wrote before they remove the whole thing.

He’s clearly the Richard Hatch of nuBSG.

And why am I not surprised that a certain Tim is right in the middle of yet another quasi-scam.

Reginald_Barclay
June 14, 2008 2:36 pm

I went around noon. This was to be my first Star Trek convention since I was a kid. The organizers were very upset about the situation and very apologetic. I can’t imagine planning something for a year only to have it collapse like this. I am impressed that they are giving full refunds given that nowadays it seems like most things are on a no refund basis. I still got to meet the stars in the autograph room and that made the trip fun.

RedShirtWalking
June 14, 2008 2:42 pm

This is just a low-rent move by the FedCon USA organizers–closed after one day. Talk about a blatant disrespect of the customer.

FedCon USA is dead to Aaron Douglas and they should be dead to us all, too.

CmdrR
June 14, 2008 2:45 pm

That’s rough.

Jeffrey S. Nelson
June 14, 2008 2:52 pm

Borgus frat.

Orb of the Emissary
June 14, 2008 3:07 pm

WOW! Unbelievable. Maybe they would save a little bit of money by continuing for the rest of the day rather than shutting down immediately and refunding everyone. The fans are the ones who are the victims here.

June 14, 2008 3:28 pm

Blast, didn’t get to see what Aaaron wrote. It’s a bad sign for a convention to remove posts from their guests. And sure, are they gonna refund the airfare and hotel costs to all the fans who traveled to the con? I see a lawsuit pending…

June 14, 2008 3:40 pm

I just finished up working a music camp all this week with the week long work schedule ending with a concert on Saturday. I was planning on heading back to Dallas and attending tomorrow’s activities. I guess that’ll save me the trouble of finishing my “Assignment: Earth” T-shirt tonight to wear around there. Beyond that,…this is a big bummer. Something about this is unsettling and beyond sad news.

Dan
June 14, 2008 3:55 pm

I don’t think FedCon is just dead to Aaron Douglas. It’s just dead period. The saving graces were John and his wife Bonita, they really stuck it out and even Garrett Wang came from beginning to end they were there.

I’m here now and I’m told that there’s more to the story than what we know and I was like, “Well, that’s not cryptic at all.”

How is he able to run a studio, sci fi studios but he couldn’t run a convention?

One of the guys on the forum who run things actually said that Friday went really well in his opinion.

What does he think he is, a Jedi?

COMPASSIONATE GOD
June 14, 2008 4:19 pm
Re: “10. D – June 14, 2008 I’m not surprised at the low turnout at all… Conventions have just become too commercial, which is one of the reasons I don’t go to them anymore. I realize the organizers want to make money, and I don’t fault them for that, but the conventions I went to in the late eighties-early nineties had an entirely different “feel” to the last couple I’ve attended. It used to be you went to conventions partially so you could actually interact with the rest of the fanbase, hang out with people as dedicated to Star Trek, (or Star Wars, or BSG, or whatever) as you were. The internet has made that part of the equation less of a draw. The little trinckets you could only purchase at a convention are now up for grabs at reasonable prices on Ebay all the time. The growth of the constant internet “convention” has resulted in the only draw being the actors, who reasonably want to be compensated for their time, and are not having to beg for table scraps anymore. The fall out of pricing has made conventions cost far more than many people honestly feel they are worth. Add to that the current economic situation, and you have convention cancelation.” Excellent points. I’ll add that Star Trek itself has far too many cons–or cons with a gaggle of former Trek stars in attendance. Cons used to be special events (I recall going to several, massive Trek cons in… Read more »
Miguel
June 14, 2008 4:58 pm

Wait wait, Brazeal was doing it? The guy who lead the defunct ‘save enterprise’ campaign?

Definitely no surprise then.

Marv
June 14, 2008 5:01 pm

Trek conventions in the 90s had more of a grassroots feel to it. You could buy things like the Fantastic Four 80s movie that you couldnt find anywhere else.

Too bad it can’t continue like that.

Thomas
June 14, 2008 5:21 pm

It does seem like there’s always news of an upcoming convention. I went to one so long ago that all I really remember of it was that it was in Glendale, CA. About how many are held in a year, can anyone give a ballpark figure? Also, is there a “convention season”, a time of year when there seem to be a greater number of conventions then other times of the year?

Scooter
June 14, 2008 5:26 pm

Could it be that Trek is no longer as popular as it once was and these conventions have worn out their welcome? Just a thought….

Viking
June 14, 2008 5:39 pm

A few observations from On High:

– It looks like it was a real goat f*ck from the get-go, but guys like John, Connor, and Garrett salvaged the evening for those in attendence. Good for them – it’s like Bob O. popping in here from time to time: you earn a lot of respect by showing that you put your trousers on one leg at a time like the rest of us. We don’t forget that sort of thing – ever.

– I read Aaron’s posts, and he sounds righteously (and justifiably) pissed to High Heaven. If – and I repeat, IF – there was some sort of active swindle going on, I hope Justice holds the offending parties correspondently accountable. Subterfuge on any level irks the hell out of me.

– O’Reilly looks like he’s been thumbing his nose at the salad bar a little too often these days. C’mon, Bob, you’re making JG look like a Slim-Fast spokesmodel! LOL

– Two words: Mary Czerwinski. (RROWWWRR! *PANT*PANT*PANT*PANT*) :-)

June 14, 2008 5:46 pm

I can sympathize with the organizers.

Back in the day when conventions were fan events rather than commercial events I organized a Star Trek fan club in Pismo Beach, California. The club did so well we thought it would be nice to do a convention.

We got a movie theater to let us use their facility for the event so all the movies were show own a big screen rather than “sheets on a wall” which was the norm for the time. We screened movies like “2001”, “Forbidden Planet” and the “Man Who Fell to Earth”. I got Robby the Robot as master of ceremonies.

Sci Fi icons last Forrest J. Ackerman showed up along with some classic authors. We couldn’t afford the fees charged by George Takei and James Doohan.

Everyone agreed it was the best convention ever. But due to timing and a flu epidemic, the turnout was extremely low. I lost a lot of money as a result.

The only convention I was involved with after that was one that a shopping mall asked me to coordinate. They paid all the expenses. Even that one had issues because I had the mall book Robby the Robot again. He was a no show because he was damaged during filming of a “Mork and Mindy” episode the night before.

Viking
June 14, 2008 5:52 pm

“He was a no show because he was damaged during filming of a “Mork and Mindy” episode the night before.”

What a hideous way to end up on injured reserve………LMAO

Marvin the Martian
June 14, 2008 6:11 pm

“He was a no show because he was damaged during filming of a “Mork and Mindy” episode the night before.”

Sorry to laugh, but… that’s really funny.

Viking
June 14, 2008 6:15 pm

“He was a no show because he was damaged during filming of a “Mork and Mindy” episode the night before.

Sorry to laugh, but… that’s really funny.”

Some pictures just paint themselves, yes? LOL

Blake powers
June 14, 2008 6:18 pm

I was gonna go but I’m currently out of the country. Makes since that not that Many people showed up around Dallas. (Texas jokes to be MADe at a later date) (not serious hatred I just love the razorbacks)

Colonel West
June 14, 2008 6:43 pm

@ 27:

Miguel, Yeah it was that same gangster that took a lot of people for a ride with his save enterprise scheme. I was thinking of heading myself but as soon as I saw this chancer was involved I knew a lot of people were going to be disappointed. I just spent the last few hours reading up on what happened & unfortunately it seems my gut was right & this guy was at it again. & I can’t believe no-one has mentioned it before you!

I’m fully behind the talent & the fans who have got ripped off (possibly again) by the same shyster, ffs Aaron Douglas & James Callis were willing to fly in at the last possible second if they got their tickets in time AND bring the season finale before it aired on scifi!!!

It seems John Billingsley & his wife were absolute legends from what I’ve read online & heard from a friend who was local and went, like the band on the titanic that just kept playing is what comes to mind. Brazeal either has the worst luck ever or he should be done for fraud!!!!

June 14, 2008 6:45 pm

The discussion on the FedCon boards that was linked to in the above post….the discussion was heated and hardcore and I can’t say I blame the people for being pissed one bit.

Redjac
June 14, 2008 7:26 pm

What…the…hell???

Who closes a convention midstream?!

How did they pay the guests?

Unbelievable! I’d have been one pissed off puppy had I paid money to go to that convention.

Chris Clow
June 14, 2008 7:29 pm

Wow. This is truly disappointing just on a personal level. I feel really sorry for the organizers who lost money because of this event, and hope that everything works out alright.

June 14, 2008 7:40 pm

My name is Michael Nelson, and I am part of the Executive Committee for FenCon (with an N), a Dallas-based, non-profit, literary science fiction convention.

Our organization – the Dallas Future Society, which holds FenCon (www.fencon.org) – is in no way, shape or form associated with FeDConUSA.

We first heard about that organization last year, and were somewhat taken aback that they had chosen a name so close to ours, seeing as we had been in existence for over four years at that time.

We are working on a press release which we plan to send to as many SF related information sources as possible to explain that this similarity in names should not reflect on our organization or convention.

FenCon prides itself on being a successful, non-profit, fan-run convention, which is operated in a professional manner. We always strive to show the highest respect to both our guests and members.

If you feel the need and have opportunity to spread this information to other SF professionals or fans, we would greatly appreciate the effort. As you know, a convention such as ours relies heavily on word of mouth, and any negative implications can be unintentionally damaging.

Thank you for your attention.

Michael Nelson

June 14, 2008 8:23 pm

Ummm….Hi Michael. Sorry. Not to nitpick or anything but FEDCON has been in existence for 16 years. I can understand your confusion tho.

FEDCON USA was allowed to use our name (although we are regretting that now) for reasons too numerous to name here.

Sorry.

Marc B. Lee
American Business Manager
FEDCON GmbH

June 14, 2008 8:32 pm

Hi, Marc.

Yes, our group knows about FEDCON Germany. We were referring to the fact that a similarly named con in the USA was being set up in Dallas.

And nothing against FEDCON GERMANY, of course. Lots of good things have been said.

lennier1
June 14, 2008 8:54 pm

In case they try to hide the posts from comment #7: http://www.zshare.net/download/13634390d2c945e6/

The Angry Klingon
June 14, 2008 8:58 pm

I found it interesting also that Mr Douglas seems to share a lot of the animosity that a lot of us have toward Creation Cons…he is obviously in tune with the fans and has nothing but disdain for Cremation…errrr…Creation Con as well.

June 14, 2008 9:27 pm

No problem Michael. I understand and thanks for understanding too. We are reeling at what has occurred and kicking ourselves in the butt for the usage of our name.

Off topic: I’m Dragon*Con’s charity and art show auctioneer as well as base runner announcer. I should take a look at FENCON someday. I’ve heard good things as well.

We return you to our regularly scheduled program: DEATH TO CONVENTIONS

Redjac
June 14, 2008 9:38 pm

I agree the Creation cons held around the country are lame but the Vegas convention and the Grand Slams are great!

Closettrekker
June 14, 2008 10:58 pm

#37—I’ve never been to a convention myself, but I have always been a huge Trek fan, and I would hate to think that fellow fans had been abused in any way or taken advantage of as you have suggested with those remarks.

Can you elaborate? It seems as though you are making some serious inferences, perhaps of improprieties on the part of the convention’s organizers, as opposed to this being chalked up to unfortunate, yet honest, incompetence. Does this person have a history of dishonest practices? I’m unfamiliar with the “Save ENT” campaign you spoke of.

June 14, 2008 11:03 pm

wow, simply wow.

I have been quite a few FedCons in Germany and this seems to be about as far the opposite of the awesome, well organized conventions I’ve gotten to know as FedCon.

I can only imagine how much the FedCon Germany regretting ever giving the rights to their name to such a financial disaster.

Sad in every way. (Besides, a FedCon without Marc B Lee as MC? Madness I say!)

toddk
June 14, 2008 11:43 pm

well..Nice to see gowron and martok in costume..I might have gone to texas just to meet them :) and yes I agree that sometimes too many conventions isnt such a good idea. Too many people figuring they can just catch the next one in a couple months..:(

wpDiscuz