Six years ago, on this weekend, I was in Chicago at our Duran Duran Fan Convention that we called Durandemonium. This convention took place over 3 days with a variety of events that ranged from Duran games to watching A Diamond in the Mind in a movie theater to a dinner and dance. By any and all accounts, it was a success as people came and had fun. In fact, many people formed friendships that night and kept in touch past that weekend. From our standpoint, it was also a success in that we were able to pull it off without losing our minds or going into serious debt. Of course, the question that is always hanging out there is will there ever be another one?
Looking back at the convention, the first two main emotions and thoughts that pop up in my mind are pride and fun. Contrary to what some might believe but planning and hosting a three day convention isn’t easy. There are lots of details that need to be planned, decided on and completed. I remember the months leading up to the convention and how many phone calls were made to the hotel, to the restaurant, and more. My email inbox was always full of quick questions, answers, and new concerns that would that risen to the surface since the last time I had checked it. I swear that as the messages increased so did the worry. Would we get it all done? Would people come? Would they have fun? The money worry doubled the anxiety as each venue required deposits and at one point, I was literally on the line for $20,000 if we didn’t have enough people show up. Yet, we pushed through with the help of all of the people on the convention committee and managed to hold it without any major problem. I still feel proud about that. I always will.
I can also admit that I had a ton of fun that weekend in between having to be “on” at various points. I danced my heart out at our dinner as well at Late Bar (an 80s club in Chicago), Howl at the Moon (a piano bar chain) and NEO (club that held an 80s night). I enjoyed quite a few drinks and many laughs over the course of the weekend. If all that wasn’t enough, I got to sing and dance to A Diamond in the Mind on the big screen with other Duranies. Who wouldn’t love that? If all that wasn’t enough, I saw people talking, laughing and forming connections with each other. It reminded me of when Rhonda and I met and bonded at a different convention in New Orleans in 2004. Mission definitely accomplished.
So the next question that usually follows is: Will there be another convention? If so, when? I won’t lie. We have thought about it many times. Sometimes, we have even picked out a place, a venue and started initial talks but something always stops the process. For one thing, it requires a serious commitment in terms of the amount of work. It literally took us months of planning to pull it off. During that time, Rhonda and I weren’t doing much else but planning and blogging. I didn’t have big projects outside of work and things were relatively calm on Rhonda’s end. Nowadays, it is tough for us to do that. After all, we are in the midst of a new writing project.
On top of that, it was stressful, not just because of the planning but also as the person putting myself financially on the line. I didn’t mind doing it but, ideally, if we were to do it again, I would love, love, love to be able to raise money ahead of time so that I am not paying thousands of dollars upfront to reserve spaces. This, of course, not only takes work but also faith in other fans. Do enough fans want a convention? Would they be willing to give money ahead of time? Do they like one we had last time? After all, we have gotten criticism for just meetups. Conventions can be much worse in terms of disagreeing with how we are organizing or when or where. That gets tough to take. On top of all that, hosting a major event like that isn’t always easy. Neither Rhonda nor myself are super excited about being the ones up front and out in the spotlight. We are much more comfortable doing behind the scenes work but hosting an event means that you have to step up, to some extent.
So the answer to the question is that I don’t know. I am not sure whether or not we will hold another convention. Personally, I am not opposed to the idea and rather enjoy putting something like this together but I also feel strongly that it would have to be the right time and place and that both of us would need to be 100% on board to do it right. So what do the rest of you think? Would fans be interested in another Durandemonium or has that time passed?