Thanks to some very dear friends I was able to attend Furpocalypse this past weekend--a brand new first year convention that is rising from the ashes and memories of the now deceased FurFright. I had a lot of mixed emotions about attending. Not because I don't wish the new convention well or didn't want to see my friends, but because the halls and people are bittersweet reminders of what we built together, and a wonderful time in my life that's now gone.
I can't begin to describe the feeling of love, care, concern, and friendship that wrapped itself around me from the moment I arrived. At every turn I was embraced by beloved friends and strangers alike, who made me feel more welcomed and loved than I ever have in my entire life. I was overwhelmed by your kindness, concern, and understanding. Truly. More than a few times over the coarse of the weekend your words and hugs brought me to tears. As I said, the experience was overwhelming (in a good way), so I hope you'll understand if I seemed a bit quiet or distant at times. I was struggling to keep my emotions in check.
A few of my friends are staff at Furpocalypse and recruited me to help out at various events, thrusting a microphone into my hands on a few occasions (apologies. I have no control what comes out of my mouth. Some things never change). They went above and beyond the call for 11 years to make FF happen, so I was happy and honored to help them in some very small way. I was nervous and rusty as hell, but that's nothing a handful of xanax couldn't fix. ;o)
Furpocalypse is a new first year convention. It is NOT FurFright in any way, shape, or form. New people are running it with their own concept, vision, and ideals. I don't stress that point to diminish Furpocalypse or the effort that has brought it to life in ANY way. Quite the contrary. Yes, they're filling a void and hotel left by the previous con, but they're creating their own event from scratch, and ALL the credit goes to them and them alone. They don't deserve to be a pale imitation, or to have credit go to something that's dead and gone. Their accomplishments should stand on their own. What they're doing is new to them and incredibly difficult, so please don't hold a first year convention to impossible standards. Instead, offer them feedback and ideas. Volunteer. Step up. Help them learn, improve, and grow. That's how good cons are built.
I couldn't be more proud of my friends for the wonderful job they did bringing Furpocalypse to life. You will always have my blessings, friendship, love, and support. With new cons like Furpocalypse and Anthro New England I'd say the future of furry conventions in the Northeast looks very bright.
It's wonderful to remember the past, but life is lived in the present, and it's time to start building new memories and a future. There's no place I'd rather be than right here and now. ;o)
My parting advice (for what it's worth)...
-- Always deliver. Cons are about what you provide your attendees, not hype, image, or empty promises.
-- Be honest and do the right thing, even if it's difficult or unpopular. Your integrity is everything.
-- Always treat your attendees, charities, and community with love, respect, and kindness. They're your family, and you need each other.
-- 'The needs of the many (your attendees) far outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.'