Thursday 10 May 2012

RIP the SFX Weekender (2010-2012)

I received an email from SFX editor-in-chief Dave Bradley this morning, as did many other SFX contributors. It contained sobering news which went public late this morning.

Farewell SFX Weekender hello Sci-Fi Weekender 

We wanted you to be the first to know, folks: SFX is saying goodbye to the annual Weekender event in order to prioritise on other projects, like our digital editions.

An event in February 2013 will go ahead but change venue (moving down the road to Haven at Phwelli) and continue under the leadership of Chic, who organised the Weekender for the previous three years - its new guise is the Sci-Fi Weekender. The SFX magazine team will not be taking part in the event going forward, turning our attention instead to other SFX projects such as growing our digital mags.

A big thank you to everybody who came along and enjoyed the three SFX Weekenders previously, it was fun geeking out together and we hope you have fond memories... 

Anyone with tickets for next year's event (purchased when it was still the SFX Weekender 4) then, I am told, Neil from Chic will be in touch about the changes. For more information about the event's transition to the Sci-Fi Weekender at Phwelli you can contact Chic now by calling 08700 110034.

I had a great time at all three SFX Weekenders, with this year's extravaganza being the proverbial dog's doo-das, and was already looking forward to the next one. There was something rather special about what the SFX team managed to achieve, uniting Warhammer fans, Doctor Who fanatics and movie buffs all under one Pontin's roof and, at present, I can't help thinking that the Sci-Fi Weekender will not be able to replicate this. What will become of the Abaddon Pub Hour? The Kitschies Awards became a fixture this year, for goodness sake! And where else would I be able to bump into fans in the bar and get chatting about making a Pax Britannia movie?

But, that said, it's too early to make any decisions as to whether I will want to be involved the newly evolved event, or not (although judging by this debate that followed this year's Weekender, I know which way I'm veering at the moment). 

So goodnight, the SFX Weekender, and may flights of angels (or dragons, or Cybermen, or whatever) sing thee to thy rest.


Sophia McDougall said...

Wait, what? Wow.

I'm really sad. It's no secret that I was unhappy about various gender issues at the last one, and the ensuing fracas was very stressful... but as I tried to make clear throughout, I *liked* the Weekender, and thought it was particularly regrettable that an event that could spark such lively enthusiasm and creativity from such an energised crowd could, at the same time, fall into such tired patterns. It had problems, but they were very fixable. I was looking forward to next time.

I hope the new event turns out well, but alas!

Sophia McDougall said...

Wait, what?!

I'm so sad. My problems with the 2012 event are no secret, but, as I tried to make clear, I liked the Weekender. I wanted to see it do better because it was so clear it could. It was depressing to see such tired old patterns reappearing at an event which could command such energy and enthusiasm from everyone involved. Everything that was wrong with it could have been fixed except the weather. I was looking forward to next time. Alas!