So what is this I hear about a Durandemonium convention in August? Whose crazy idea was THAT?!?
I hate to say it, but I think I might be the guilty party.
Imagine the scene: we’re at the Daily Duranie “Late Bar” party in Vegas, everyone is having fun and a few people have asked when we’re going to do a convention. I look around and realize that yeah, we probably could have a pretty rocking convention right here in Hard Rock Live. It’s a very versatile, exclusive yet open, space for meeting, partying, dancing, etc. Could we pull it off?
I mention it to Amanda, who I think may have threatened me with bodily harm. I can’t really remember now, come to think of it! I do know she did ask me several times if I meant it, and I played it off. It’s one thing to suggest it in jest, another to say it and mean it. I needed to think.
I drive home from Vegas, go through the New Year, and really start considering whether or not the idea is even worth discussing further. A few people ask about it, which does nothing to quell the idea. Amanda and I talk about it on Friday night, and we agree to throw it out to the community by way of a poll.
A poll isn’t very scientific, and the results are only as good as the sample size. Even so, a poll generates discussion, and the reaction might tell me whether or not it’s worth looking into. Amanda and I chuckle as we post the poll on Facebook and Twitter. We assume we’ll get less than 50 people to even answer.
We had fifty people respond by late Friday evening, and most were positive. This was a surprise, particularly since we made sure to indicate that ticket prices were likely to be over $200 a person for a Thursday evening through Sunday noon convention.
Nope, conventions are not cheap. They’re absolutely not free. I know that we do our meet-ups for free – and we really shouldn’t, because even those require some menial things that Amanda and I have just agreed to pay for over the years and not mention it, but a convention is very different.
It is a finely tuned balance. The risk is enormous, because we have to choose a city that Amanda and I can easily get to, as well as somewhere that fans WANT to visit. When we are planning, we have to consider how many tickets need to be sold in order to break even. One way we encourage people to join us, is by having conventions in places that people already want to go.
That typically means sticking to larger cities, and those big cities cost money. No matter what city is chosen, we read posts from people who want to come but insist that the convention be closer to them, like in their own hometown. No matter where we choose, there is always going to be a city that is cheaper, a time of year that is better, a place we haven’t visited, etc. We do our best, and so far, we haven’t had a convention in the same city twice.
With all of that taken into consideration, is it any wonder why so few conventions happen in this fandom?
We soldier on because the one truth that Amanda and I hold most dear is that being a die-hard fan of Duran Duran is about far more than just the band. There is certainly room for those who care little about making friends and are just around to see Simon, John, Nick & Roger – and there’s something to be said for those people. They buy the same tickets and support the band in the same way we might. However, the friendships made along the way have made my journey far sweeter. Amanda and I believe that so fervently that we want to help facilitate more of those opportunities for fans to meet and befriend one another outside of a concert setting. In turn, those friendships are what create and maintain the community. It isn’t what Amanda and I post here on the blog that does that. Not even the events we plan create community. The friendships and bonds between people are what do that. Sometimes though, these conventions and meet-ups help to bring people together, and that is why we plan them.
Those who have been to other conventions and even meet-ups like the one in Vegas with us know this to be true. Somewhere along the way, it really does become the friendships that matter most. I met my best friend at a fan convention. I know other people met their closest Duranie friends at our last Durandemonium convention. I saw a group of people who had mainly interacted online become better friends in Las Vegas, bonding over the band, karaoke and late night pizza. It wasn’t due to Amanda or myself that those things happened, but it sure gave me joy to witness it. That’s why we keep going. I love seeing people come together over the love of a band. The music is between us, and it bonds us. That’s worth celebrating. With this year marking the 40th anniversary of the very beginnings of Duran Duran, I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather be than with people who love this band as much as I do.
That thought is what will keep me going until August.
Durandemonium is coming.