I don’t know what it’s like where you live, but in Joburg a lot of small to medium geek conventions have something in common – the venue. There’s also some overlap in venues for the two big Gauteng boffer larps (MEAD Legends and Tales of Teana). You could do a lot of work to find a venue that’s uniquely yours, or you could follow the common sense approach:
Use venues you’ve seen work for your kind of event. It’s what I’m doing for my wedding.
Geeks are (sometimes) more sensible than brides and grooms
My first translating job was for Bruidsgids / Wedding Guide. I’ve helped out with many weddings. I enjoy Offbeat Bride. From this I deduce the prevailing wedding philosophy is that each wedding has to be unique.
If your cousin’s best friend who you met once five years ago carried deadly nightshade and belladonna in her bouquet (don’t you dare point out they’re the same thing), and your bouquet has flowers and berries, you’re stealing her idea. Apparently this is Serious. While copying something special the couple did might not be the best idea, I’m completely happy with “stealing” a venue.
Geek organisers call this “using” or “hiring” a venue. People who’ve been in the con scene for a while are usually happy to introduce you to the people who run the venue and will tell you what the rules are, how much it should cost and what the venue will and will not let you do.
Why you should steal a venue
For the record, I’m not inciting you to steal venues not open to the public. If your best friend’s sister got married at her old school because her mom is a teacher there, you can’t have the same venue. I’m talking about places anyone can hire.
Let’s take Jabula Community Centre. When I went to my first ICON in 2004 everyone already know where the venue was. It took me a few years to register the venue’s name. Come 2014, the Great Geek Collective even considered it for our con but decided to keep it in Pretoria. ICON moved to Gallagher in 2016, but I also went to Jabula for Kin Con, CosXP and it was the advertised venue for Teana Con (the date has been moved to 2018).
Why use a venue someone else has tested out for you?
- You know about small niggly stuff (like Jabula’s buildings don’t keep out the winter cold and my wedding venue doesn’t have aircon) from the start.
- You get to taste the food. My wedding venue doesn’t do taste tests anymore since organising tasting evenings drove everyone nuts. It’s not a problem because Hardus and I know what the food tastes like.
- If you’ve had to find the venue as a con goer, you’re likely to already know if it’s easy to find, dangerous at night, and if you felt safe there.
- Someone who already has a relationship with the “venue people” can introduce you. While the event you went to vouches for the venue, the venue is also more likely to let you hire their facilities because someone vouches for you.
What do you think? Would you use someone else’s wedding venue or con venue?