One of the things I like best about being part of a fandom is the people. Of course, not everyone in a fan community is cool. Certainly, not everyone is happy or excited to see us. For the most part, though, other fans are the best! This past week gave us an opportunity to see and meet lots of great people, both at shows and at our meet ups. Duran events bring people together from all over the world.
Look at us. We don’t live anywhere near each other yet…here we are. A funny moment happened both times when we crossed the border to and from Canada. The border officer would ask how we know each other since one of us lives in Wisconsin and the other in California. We would explain how we travel to go see Duran Duran. Then, we would be allowed in without question. Apparently, that is too weird to make up!
As you all know, we had 3 meet ups on this first leg (both Chicago shows and Toronto). Each of them had their challenges but we felt all were successful. The challenge in Chicago was obvious. We held the meet ups there on the Ravinia grounds. We had to claim some space on the lawn where others were trying to set up dinners, picnics, chairs, etc. for the duration of the evening, which meant being smushed at best. Then, somehow, we had to try and explain to people exactly where we were, which wasn’t easy. We tried to have posters to advertise our location but…we had to hold them one night and had a table the next night, which weren’t ideal.
On top of that, the venue is pretty tough to get to as it is located inside of neighborhood, making travel in and out challenging. Despite any and all difficulties, we had great turn-outs! I loved that we had lots of people from other events that we have hosted as well as new people!
For Toronto’s meet up, we met at the local Hard Rock Cafe. Traffic again was a serious issue. It was hard to get to the restaurant and super hard to get to the venue afterwards. That said, we had quite an international crowd for that meet up. A few of us were from the States, one person from Canada, one person from Germany and a couple from the UK. We had actually met the woman from Germany before. Where? In Birmingham! We sat next to each other at the Birmingham show in December of 2011. For Duranies, the world is a small place!
Seeing Duranies meet, get to know each other, and become friends is one of the absolute best things about organizing fan events. It is the biggest reason why we do them as we know that fans who are happy with other fans stay in the fandom. They become lifelong fans who don’t and can’t walk away. Seeing people go to shows together now who met at a meet up or a convention is such a gift. We feel lucky to be part of their friendship. Most of the time that is all we need to keep going.
Yet, this time, we had people do more to acknowledge us. One of our friends told us how we helped to bring people into her life that she is so thankful for, which caused both of us to tear us a little. Then, one of our new friends in Toronto brought us gifts to thank us for what we do here! The idea of someone giving us anything blew me away but the gift itself really touched me. On top of the heartfelt card, we got exactly what we needed after the tour to pamper ourselves as well as what was needed at that moment! Vodka tonics!
These meet ups and the people who attended will keep me going for sure. They show me that what we do matters.
We have one more meet up planned for this summer tour, which is in Vegas. There is still plenty of time to RSVP if you want to join us; details can be found here. Hope to see many of you there!