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This is not an official Discworld event. It is strictly an unofficial, fan sponsored, organized and run event.

Discworld™ is a trademark of Terry Pratchett. Use of the name or characters associated with Discworld does not imply ownership, and all rights remain reserved by Terry Pratchett, his publisher, Colin Smythe Limited, and agent, Colin Smythe.

This event is in no way affiliated with nor sponsored by Terry Pratchett nor his agent or assigns, though they have kindly granted permission to use the names for and in this fan-run event.

Images in the icons by Paul Kidby, all rights reserved by him, and used without permission for now.

Haven't forgotten about this evil plan.

I've spent the last few months researching sites. I had to do that anyway for $Other_Event, so it worked out.

On the positive side of things, the site found for $Other_Event would also work for the Discworld Weekend. On the down side of things, it means pushing the event into Fall, because there's no way to get it off the ground before the end of August. I was really hoping for a Spring event, but that's just not going to happen. $Other_Event eats my life in July and there's another big reenactment event at the site in early August. However, if I was able to use this site, it significantly reduces the out of pocket costs, because there are bathrooms and water faucets on site.

Since the first North American DW Con happens on Labour Day Weekend, 2009.. I wonder if it'd be worthwhile to have the Weekend happen that weekend this year, to sort of ramp people up for it. With the expectation that the Weekend would never again be assigned to conflict with the Con. (Because I'll probably be at the Con.)

This would also give me time to really promote the hell out of the idea. I've been quietly talking to people I know to see if they'd be on board, and so far, the response is almost all positive.

So: Tentative dates: Saturday, August 30 through Monday, September 1.

So far, the idea for the DW weekend is being funded out of my pocket, and my anticipated attendance is in low numbers, and mostly people I know. I want to make it open to everyone, but I also want to keep it from turning into a logistical nightmare. I have no idea what the interest level in the outside world would be, although I'm trying to find out. One of the problems I've seen happen in the SCA is when someone proposes a demo, 200 people wax enthusiastic about it and promise to show up, and they only get 20 people at the gate. Trying to figure out anticipated attendance for a first-run event can be a scary headache.

All events need a break even point. Right now, this event is being planned based on how much money I'd be willing to lose to host it, because I'm well aware that I very well could. This is why it's being planned for a smallish gathering. I'd be willing and able to run a larger sized event, but that means being able to finance it.

And therein lies my current conniption. Pre-registration is something the SCA does all the time and it's very useful for guestimating attendance and budget. However, pre-registration for conventions and fan gatherings has, in recent years, burned a whole lot of people. The most recent horror story I'm aware of was the Firefly "Flanvention II" that went belly up the day it was to open, after repeatedly assuring people it wasn't going to, and made off with literally hundreds of thousands of dollars, leaving fans really in the lurch. The California Browncoat group rallied and pulled off a last minute miracle that saved the day and saved hearts from being broken. I'm loathe to even ask people to front a fee, and would rather find another way to do it if my event winds up needing it.

Right now, it doesn't need it - it's all me, and I'm ok with that. The thought I've been toying with would be to have a pre-reg that didn't take a full fee up front, but some sort of pittance - say $5. That would guarantee the visitor a discounted ticket in at the gate and some sort of nifty commemorata exclusive to advance registers. The actual amount would wind up being whatever amount it would cost per person to have sanitation facilities on site to accommodate them. (I.e., for 925 people at WW2007, it cost $3000 for porta potty rental and pumping, which breaks down to roughly $3.25 per attendee.) If I had to factor in water, it'd be a little more, because all of that is stuff that has to be factored in advance.

My thoughts are: A) cap attendance or B) find a new way to do the pre-reg.

One other thing that I intend to do is a full, ongoing financial report both so people can see here the money's being spent, not only to ease minds but in case anyone else wanted to do something like this. They'd be able to see how much it cost to do. I haven't even started yet, and it's currently around $2000 with insurances and permits and sanitation.


The To-Do list

1. Email Waddy and get permission to take a page out of his book. [Edit: Done! He emailed back and said yes, and mentioned there's a German group who did the same thing. YAY!]

2. Email Stephen Briggs and beg for help finding out about licensing and rights. [Edit: Done, and he directed me to Colin Smythe, who wrote back and gave me the guidelines. MORE YAY!]

3. Land - preferably acreage that isn't a commercial campground. [Edit: Found one potential - 40 acres with a 10 acre lake, owned by a man who sounds very interested in the event. Talks continue.]

4. Liability Insurance - Looks like it'll cost around $250 for a one-time special event insurance certificate policy for $1m per incident, $3m aggregate, that covers fire damage, property damage, personal injury, and other sorts of nastiness, carrying a $1,000. deductible. Must check with Farmer's - might be possible to get a policy through them for less, with better coverage.

5. Sanitation - WW, with 25 portas pumped twice a day, runs $3000. That's the max cap, but the reality will probably be significantly less. If there's <100 people, 2 would suffice. Must call vendors.

6. Emergency Services - the land currently proposed is within 5 miles of a very good hospital, with clear access for emergency vehicles. I also know EMTs who could, provided the event doesn't conflict with an SCA event, possibly be bribed into running the first aid stations.

7. Water - depends on how many people are likely to attend. If <100, either bring coolers or have people bring their own.
7a. Showers - if it's more than two days, these will be necessary. Would be nice to have anyway.

8. Licenses and permits - would need a special event/non-conforming use permit for land, shouldn't be a problem. Might need a permit from the department of health for special event food stalls - $100 and fairly easy to obtain - must check into that. Will not be alcohol vendors unless I can find one already zoned for off-sale in that area. Event might be BYO. Check with fire marshal closer to the event to find out about campfire and lighting restrictions.

9. Security - probably just people I know, unless it gets large, in which case there are police officers I know and could probably bribe into pulling some off-duty security.

10. Vendors - would probably put a call out to Dreamhaven, Uncle Hugo's, and The Source, possibly put feelers out to Cunning Artificers and Paul Kidby and other DW-specific merchants. Most of them are in the UK. Maybe try to find resellers here in the US. Check with Dreamhaven.

11. Money handling - for the event, it'd probably be easier to have that at one central point, so possibly have ticket sales, but to make it less odious, have them be raffle tickets that people can fill out and have a drawing at the end of the event for some sort of door prizes.

12. Prizes for games - No clue yet. Insert Cool Stuff Here.

13. Registration? Probably pre-reg if there's interest outside my local group of freaks friends. Mostly to gauge how many portapotties to rent and how much food to have on hand. Wait and see what, if any, interest there is.

More as I think of them.

The original brainstorming post.

Under the cut, you'll see the original brainstorming post that started this whole thing. This is just a list of things I'd like to do, not a definitive list of what will actually happen. Ideas are welcome in the comments.

The original, long winded postCollapse )

It all began with an "AARRGH!"

As in, "ARRRGH! Why are all the Discworld events in the UK and in August?!" August being my decompression month after that other event I co-run, and right when school begins. Why wasn't there a DW event in the States? Why couldn't there be one in May/June? Why.. am I sitting here wondering why nobody's planned or run something like this? Why don't I get off my arse and do it?

That's usually how these things begin, for me. Before I go any further, I feel the need to state: THIS IS NOT A CONVENTION! It's not intended to be a convention, it's not going to be run like a convention, and most of the things people go to conventions for will not be present at this event. If you're reading this and salivating at the thought of cornering Terry Pratchett to get his autograph and regale him with the exploits of your fanfic/LARP/rollplay DW feature character, I invite you to move right along to an actual convention or book signing tour where he's agreed to hold himself hostage to that sort of thing. I certainly do not intend to ask him to do that for this event.

I don't go for that sort of thing, and it's upset me that in recent years, most conventions have become very mercenary in that regard. I watched MiniCon rip itself apart and completely restructure itself just to get away from that, and as they are a convention, they can't escape it entirely. I can, by never starting to go down that road. So, this is not a convention.

What I'm hoping to do, is have an event that brings a little slice of Anhk-Morpork into our lives, for a weekend. I'd like to set it up so it's an amalgam of both Discworld ambiance and modern day fun. An event where people can dress up as their favourite characters, not just for the Masquerade, but for the event. Costumes are not required, but would be strongly encouraged.

Imagine, if you will, a small county fair held outside the walls of Ankh-Morpork. Canvas tents have been set up for traveling vendors to display their wares, becoming almost a small city in its own right. Entertainers, both professional and just locals wishing to show off a particular skill or trick, wander around. CMOT Dibbler is there, of course, selling various foods on sticks and inna bun, and commemorata, ready as ever to take advantage of this opportunity. The City Watch are a visible presence, to keep the peace, as somewhere Commander Vimes pinches the bridge of his nose and glowers at the thought of this fresh new havoc in his city. The Times have a presence, reporters dashing about to gather all the most recent news for publication the next morning in special event papers. The Guilds have representatives there to search for new talents under the guise of giving classes or contests. There are games to play and new skills to learn, and a jolly time would (hopefully) be had by all.

It's a chance for the people who love to imagine Discworld to get together and play in it, to share their joy in the world Terry Pratchett created.

It's not meant to be a money making venture. I specifically do not want it to be one. There will probably be a cost to help offset things like the sanitation needs and land rental, but the cost would be minimal. Anything above and beyond that will be donated to the Orangutan Foundation that Terry Pratchett is involved in. At this point in time, I'm expecting this to be a very small event, less than 100 people, and that number has been chosen simply because I know almost 100 people who will be dragooned into helping me with it. I'm not really sure what the outside interest would/will be, so I'm planning on a small event that has room to grow. I can handle running an event up to 1100 people 1 - but I have no expectation or anticipation this event will ever get that big. Certainly not the first year. Whether or not there's any year but the first year, remains in the ether - I want to concentrate on pulling it off right the first time. I'll worry about "what next" later.


1 - Yes, really. WW's attendance in 2006 was 1100, and in 2007 it was 925. I'd probably drop dead of shock if my DW event had even a quarter of that attendance, but then I'd simply rise as a member of the undead and go right on running it.