Sunday, 9 July 2017

Rogue Events is no more

For those of you who, like me, enjoy a good convention (“con”) now and again, the news that Rogue Events have closed down will come as a surprise.

Well, it would if you’ve never been to a Rogue Events con.

Ask anyone who’s ever attended one of their cons and you’ll probably hear something like ‘the guests were amazing but JFC they couldn’t organise their way out of a paper bag’. I’ve been to 2 of their cons - both Asylum (the Supernatural ones). They ran others too, for Arrow, Once Upon a Time, Vampire Diaries, etc. I have to say, because I didn’t need any autographs, photographs, meet n’ greets or basically anything other than sitting my arse down and watching guests on stage, I saw lots of good stuff and apart from not really knowing where or when things were happening, it wasn’t too bad.

However, I was witness to the appalling almost-organisation of the whole shebang. For anyone who had bought autographs, photo ops, 1 to 1s or similar activities, it was a logistical nightmare. No formal queueing system, so way to tell what the unofficial queue of self-organising fans was for, no word as to where the evening events were being held or when, charging people extra to see the evening entertainment, not telling people when or where to pick up their photos - and that was just what I saw and heard whilst talking to other fans.

Now that they’ve officially folded it’s left of lot of fans out of pocket - many of whom didn’t have a particularly deep pocket to begin with. The question of whether Rogue Events broke UK law in selling a product they knew they couldn’t deliver is one for the courts, and the insolvency firm who are no doubt already hard at work going through WCM Events’ debts. What that means in real terms for people who bought tickets and now have nothing is that, a few years from now when all the large creditors and overheads have been settled, they may get something acknowledging the debt they are still owed. By then it’s anyone’s guess if there’s anything left to reimburse them with.

Enter Star Fury Conventions. They’ve been running cons for 20 years in the UK, and by all accounts are pretty good at it. They’re professional, organised, and more importantly, they understand customer service and How to Make Money and Help People. Take for instance this whole Rogue Events debacle. As their Supernatural con, Asylum 19, has apparently been summarily cancelled (I say apparently as no-one has had official notification; all there is to go on is the official website), Star Fury’s rival Cross Roads 2018 event has experienced a surge in ticket sales. That would be enough for some. But some bright spark at Star Fury has decided that, in order to help fans let down by Rogue, they will give each fan who had bought an Asylum ticket one free autograph and photo op at their own Cross Roads 2018 event. Yes, you still have to pay for entry. But being able to go to an alternative event and still get some of what you wanted is better than no con at all. And if it makes you life-long fans of Star Fury Conventions along the way? So be it.

I would say I’m sorry that Rogue Events has gone. But I’m not. It’s natural business selection; poor management can only get you so far.


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