Geeks

CONVENTION HELL – HOW TO SURVIVE A ROGUE CONVENTION

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£400 and fuck all to show from it! I really wanted to be able to write so much about attending Insurgence 9 in Blackpool last weekend, but alas the weekend was cursed from the start. Rogue Events is a completely dodgy company, who were happy to rip off customers and even the guests. If anything this has set a bench mark now for future events, and situations I will steer clear from.

Money wise I really wasn’t going to attend this year, last year cost me quite a bit so I thought I could just do without it. THEN  they announced Joseph Morgan was attending. Yes that’s right Klaus himself so I was sold.

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Insurgence 9 is a The Originals/Vampire Diaries convention, I’m a massive fan of The Originals so this is right up my street. I wanted to use the event for this blog, as well as meeting more members of the Mikaelson family.

The event was originally billed with Damon and Stefan from Vampire Diaries and Klaus from The Originals, that is a massive line up. As the convention moved forward the guests just began to drop like flies.

1aBut there were good times that weekend, myself and Lee met up with friends I had made last year at Insurgence 8, so if it wasn’t those girls the weekend would of been a disaster.

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They quickly added other stars to the event, but they were not in the same calibre as before. But the company was refusing refunds on this, instead giving credit notes. This was a big ball ache at the convention as so many where upgraded there was nothing special about being upgraded.

But this tale is an extreme case, so please see this as a cautionary tale, especially if you are planning your first convention. Because at the end of the day this is suppose to be a fun time, not a nightmare.

DO YOUR RESEARCH

So when you see the a convention you like the sound of delve a bit deeper and look at the history of the event, and especially the company running it. Last year for Insurgence 8 I looked at previous Insurgence events. I looked at the venue that was booked previously and the guests and the events they held.

So this was my basis for going to Insurgence this year, last year was good and I thought to myself as long as I meet Joseph Morgan then all is well.

One thing I would say to you would be keep away from Facebook groups regarding the event. True you can keep  up to date with the event ect, but if something goes wrong the negativity you will see from some of people, who at the end of day their whole lives revolve around this. You don’t need it.

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BE CAREFUL PAYING MONEY UPFRONT

When looking at conventions if possible if you can pay with credit card do it, then you will be covered if anything goes wrong. The next best alternative would be a Paypal option. Fingers crossed nothing will go wrong but every effort you can put in to be covered will help.

Rogue Events are clever, the only way you can pay is by bank transfer, and if you knowingly pay this way, there is nothing your bank can do to get the money back, and Rogue Events knew this and exploited people.

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The one reality with conventions, especially due to how far in advance they are planned, guests cancel. If a guest cancels you cannot get a refund for the event. But you would get refunds for photos ect. But you need to make sure how trustworthy the organisers are. If a guest cancels you are entitled to a refund of photos and autographs

KEEP UP TO DATE WITH THE EVENTS

Like I said before Guests do cancel events due to work commitments, which comes part and parcel of the event. So make sure you check in the official site of the event for all announcements.

CHECK THE VENUE

Most conventions, especially ones held in big hotels will usually have a deal with the hotel for a special rate to stay there during the event. But before you do so look up the hotel on travel sites first!

We stayed at the delightful DUMP that was the Norbreck Castle hotel in Blackpool, my word this place was still in the 80s. My friend Carla had checked into her room to discover a 5 day old pizza under the wardrobe, and our room was like a convent. Hard wooden narrow beds not fit for anyone. And look at our view.

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JUST ENJOY YOUR TIME

For me Insurgence 9 was an absolute nightmare, and I wished I saved the money for something better. I imagine a lot of people who went to this weekend would say the same, compared to a lot of people who have lost £100 plus I got off lucky. The one big mistake this company did was upgrade too many people to premium packages which then made queuing more like a life sentence. On Sunday when I wanted to meet several of the guests I cued for 2 hours plus only to be told to go away. I gave up at this point and went home.

But if it wasn’t for my friends Lee, Carla, Mandy, Ellie 1+2, Linzi and the Dark Destroyer, then the weekend would of been fucking awful. So make sure when its going wrong you have good people around you to make it worthwhile.

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Since returning home Rogue Events has since gone bankrupt, with 100s of people out of pocket. But they knew what they were doing with this event. Wayne the owner walking around the event emptying the tills of cash and Jennie the puppet trying to calm rightfully angry people. It didn’t wash with me.

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Even some of the guests didn’t pay which is absolutely awful.

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Next year we are off to Barcelona for Bloody Night Con. Fingers crossed will be a huge improvement from Rogue Events.

Darren Goodwin

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