From a fan’s perspective, this probably seems like paradise. Great cons every weekend in markets large and small, covering different aspects of geek culture from small press to big-time media and bleeding edge technology. Under the surface, it’s a different story. None of this is new, but this year the elbows seem sharper, the stakes seem higher and the dollars are getting out of control.
This year will mark the 17th year I have attended MegaCon. I started going in 1999 and have only missed one year since. While I can’t speak for how much they have to pay for the names they bring in, I can say that from a fan’s perspective, prices have skyrocketed over the years, particularly the last few years. This year it costs about $100 for a weekend pass and one day costs more than the whole weekend used to cost. Granted, it has gotten bigger and they even added another day this year but I’m not sure this justifies the exorbitantly high prices. It’s not that I don’t enjoy it, it’s just that it is getting impractical to bring a family at these prices. I have already made plans to go this year but I will seriously consider not going next year if prices remain this high (and especially if they go higher). And it’s not just the ticket prices. As the article mentions, there are hotel costs, inflated food costs, and some events cost extra and are not included with the ticket price.
There is a new con local to me (Space Coast Nerd Fest) and while it is absolutely tiny compared to MegaCon it is also much cheaper and it is growing (plus I won’t have to worry about the hotel costs). It isn’t big enough to completely satisfy my con fix yet but if it grows to be as big as MegaCon was 15 years ago that will be enough for me, especially if it is easier on my wallet.