If you’ve been following us online, you know that Farpoint Convention ran a Kickstarter project over the last few weeks. Our goal was to raise $30,000 in order to invite and fully fund a guest from the wish list we’ve compiled from member suggestions. This would be names like Ming-Na Wen, Grant Gustin, Stephen Amell or Haley Atwell. Fully funding the appearance ourselves would have meant that you would have received an autograph and at the table photo as part of your convention membership.
Overall, running a Kickstarter project was an excellent learning experience. Feedback we’ve received showed us that our regular attendees like that Farpoint Convention is small and provides a casual atmosphere for members to interact with our guests and each other. Many of you were concerned that if we brought in a big name guest that the Farpoint experience would be affected. It would not be the same relaxed, informal atmosphere when the big name guest brought in an influx of additional members. Our intent, of course, would have been to preserve the traditional “Farpoint vibe” but whether we would have been successful doing so will remain unknown.
We enjoyed talking to people about our Kickstarter at the conventions we attended during our project timeframe. We gained new social media followers and appreciated everyone’s support through their pledging and sharing of our project. And we continued making plans for #FarpointCon2016. Tesla Motors will be providing one of their Model S sedans for test drives. We will be welcoming several new authors to their first Farpoint Convention. Whitehurst Films will be attending Farpoint for the first time with the East Coast premiere of their film “Legend of Zelda: Oblivion Rising”, an independent film exploring the future adventures of the characters from the “Zelda” gaming series. The 50th anniversary of Star Trek will most definitely be celebrated! We are going to have a great time this February, and having Sean Maher from “Firefly”, along with one or two other celebrity guests, is icing on the cake.
Please continue to share the news about Farpoint Convention. Thanks for your support.
Farpoint Convention is proud to announce that we have initiated a special crowdfunding project on Kickstarter.com https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/svanbl/farpoint-convention-turbo. This project was started in response to convention members’ feedback from recent events on what they wanted to see at future Farpoints.
Why Kickstarter and crowdfunding? One of the biggest pieces of feedback we’ve received in recent years was multiple requests to bring more prominent celebrity guests to Farpoint and we decided that our 2016 convention will be the year to give this a try. We investigated the costs of bringing in some of these guests and found that on average guests at this level cost $25,000 at a minimum and many are in the range of $30,000 and up. Right now, we have funding in place to stage Farpoint Convention 2016 at our regular level of activity. And that’s okay, but to reach out for more prominent guests means a need for additional incoming funds. Our two main options for funding are (a) raise membership prices or (b) fundraising. Our weekend membership price has stayed the same for the last 4 years. We appreciate our members are spending their hard-earned money at Farpoint each year and the 2016 prices have already been announced. This brought us to raising money through a crowdfunding project, our #FARPStarter!
We have designed reward levels at multiple price points. The rewards will provide attending convention members the opportunity to “turbo charge” their Farpoint experience through special rewards and activities or allow long-distance members the chance to participate as never before via live-streaming some of our main events. We appreciate your help and interest; every contribution is important, whether you can donate or simply share our project page link with your social network. Thank you for supporting Farpoint Convention!
Thank you to all of our members and guests who helped make Farpoint 2015 a wonderful convention. We welcomed 659 people through the door, holding our own as far as attendance, which is good.
Colin Ferguson, Tim Russ and Timothy Zahn all had nothing but superlatives when leaving. They enjoyed meeting all of you as much as you enjoyed meeting them, and they hope to be invited back for a future event. Tim Russ, especially, was wonderful in his guest starring role with Prometheus Radio Theatre on Friday night. If you missed “The Maltese Vulcan” it will be podcast by Prometheus Radio Theatre sometime soon. You can subscribe to the PRT podcast on their website, http://prometheusradiotheatre.com/
We received many compliments this year from members on the excellent and varied panel topics staged this year. This needs to be turned back around to the guests and members who both suggested topics but also participated on the panels. The contributions of our guests and members is priceless; we couldn’t do it without you all.
Photos from our official photographer have been added to our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/FarpointCon). Please enjoy looking at them and feel free to share your own photos with us. There were some wonderful costumes on display this year, especially, that deserve a second or third look via photograph.
On to the not-so-good: our hotel sales manager and the general manager were both very embarrassed at receiving our reports on the poor quality of service we experienced this weekend. They both extend their apologies to us and to you all. Our discussions with them are ongoing, but we can tell you at this time that they have proposed ideas to apologize to all of you and show their appreciation should we decide to return in 2016. Farpoint will also be discussing our hotel experiences with the organizing committee of ChessieCon, which is held in the same hotel in November. Sharing information with them and monitoring their experience with the hotel this fall will show us if the promised improvements are in place.
Farpoint 2015 was a great show! Thank you again to our members and guests, and a special thank you to the Farpoint Committee, Staff and Helpers. Their dedication makes the convention happen every year.
We have gotten additional information from the hotel on restaurant and concession hours during Farpoint Convention.
-Northern Lights Restaurant: 6AM to 2PM; 4PM to 10PM with bar open until 2AM
-Cocktail Party Food & Drink cash bars: 7PM to 9PM in Greenspring Ballroom (wristbands must be purchased for $25 at Farpoint Registration for food bar; cash bar is ala carte)
-Concessions: 8:30AM to 8PM; 10PM to midnight
-*Northern Lights Restaurant: 6AM to 10PM with bar open until 2AM
-Atrium Cash Bar: 10PM to 12:30AM
-Concessions: 8:30AM to 11:00AM
-Northern Lights Restaurant: 6AM to 2PM; 4PM to 10PM
*Hopefully you are still reading this asterisked notice for Saturday night. The hotel is well aware of the challenge our group presents in getting several hundred people fed through a single kitchen and restaurant that seats only 80-100 people at a time. Beyond adding seating to the restaurant, they have a proposed plan for Saturday night that we’ve agreed to try this year to see how things go.
Normal restaurant, concessions and room service from 6AM to 5PM
Dinner buffet with “buffet to go” option, normal concessions, NO room service from 5PM to 9PM
Normal restaurant, concessions and room service from 9PM to closing times
The general manager and chef hope that concentrating service on the buffet during the most busy time will allow them to feed everyone as expeditiously as possible. They plan to “plus up” the offerings beyond their normal dinner buffet and offer the “buffet to go” option for people who wish to eat in their room. The hotel plans that the dinner buffet price will be all-inclusive (food, non-alcoholic drink and tip) so that people can pay eat, pay their bill and go.
We appreciate the hotel’s working with us on this important issue. Please give us feedback after the convention for your opinion on how this dinner service change works for you.
We met with the team at the North Baltimore Plaza Hotel a couple of weeks ago and have news! The owners have decided to join the Radisson hotel network and the hotel will become the Radisson Baltimore North at the end of February.
The good news for us is that we will be able to take advantage of some of the hotel refurbishments that have been going on:
-The sleeping rooms on the 1st and 2nd floor that still needed to be remodeled have been completed.
-The plumbing has been updated and the roof re-done. This should help with hot water availability and temperature control in the hotel.
-The kitchen has been updated with new stoves, convection ovens and refrigerator/freezers, and the dividing wall between the bar area and restaurant seating in the Northern Lights has been removed to add more tables. The kitchen and restaurant changes should help with food service efficiency. The hotel is providing us information on menus and food service hours soon and we will post that information when it is available and confirmed. We can confirm that the food concession stand is returning and will again have late Saturday night hours to feed our post-Masquerade munchies.
More information to come.
If you are following our Farpoint website, you may have noticed that we have updated our convention Rules and Policies. We review them each year prior to the convention and wanted to draw particular attention to this year’s changes.
We re-organized the list into sections covering Convention Memberships, Hotel & Conduct to make it easier for members to locate information on a specific rule/policy.
The advent of e-cigarettes and vapor pens caused us to confer with our hotel about the use of these new devices for smoking. The hotel has expanded their no smoking policy to include e-cigarettes and vapor pens, along with traditional tobacco products. Smoking of any kind must be done in the designated smoking areas outside of the hotel with the exception of the few smoking sleeping rooms available, which are assigned on a first come basis when you check in.
Farpoint is a convention about science fiction in its multiple forms and science fiction fans in their diversity of age, sex, orientation, religion, etc. We do not tolerate harassment or bullying of any kind and have updated our rules to specifically state this. It is sad that we need to specify in writing our requirements for members to treat each other with tolerance and respect, but unfortunately important in today’s society.
Please contact us with any questions you have about our convention rules and policies.