How bad would the Corona virus be to the convention scene

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Fireminer
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How bad would the Corona virus be to the convention scene

Post by Fireminer »

I have heard from a lot of event organizers in America that they are being put in pecarity because of having to cancel their events. For people with experience here, how bad would cancelling anime conventions be to their organizers? Would they go bankrupt?

davemerrill
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Re: How bad would the Corona virus be to the convention scene

Post by davemerrill »

the contracts most conventions (and large events of any kind) have with their venues include a "force majeure" clause. The force majeure clause is, as Wikipedia says, "a common clause in contracts that essentially frees both parties from liability or obligation when an extraordinary event or circumstance beyond the control of the parties, such as a war, strike, riot, crime, plague, or an event described by the legal term act of God (hurricane, flood, earthquake, volcanic eruption, etc.), prevents one or both parties from fulfilling their obligations under the contract."

When the municipal governments of cities order the cancellation of any large gathering of people, this allows the force majeure clause to be activated. In practice, this means that the convention can cancel their event without being financially liable for fulfilling the terms of their contracts. Most anime conventions have written off their 2020 shows entirely, and are rolling memberships over to their 2021 shows, and from what I can see most of the venues are agreeing to this.

The key part in this is that the conventions HAVE to wait until the city governments have banned gatherings before they can safely get out of their contracts. If they cancel their shows BEFORE the force majeure can take effect, the conventions may find themselves liable for all financial penalties. Even suggesting they may be thinking of canceling their event might be enough to void the contract. So, many conventions have to be very careful when communicating to their attendees what their plans are in dealing with COVID-19.

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DKop
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Re: How bad would the Corona virus be to the convention scene

Post by DKop »

The Raleigh Convention Center has barred all events till the end of May, meaning that gets Animazement out of their contract. They say they might "postpone" their con, but I think its inevitable to just move the con till next year, which is fine with me, more money saved.

I got a feeling that AWA is still a go since its the first weekend of November, and will be one of the major cons thats going to get a ton of traffic since people missed out on the others. It'll be interesting to see what will happen.

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Re: How bad would the Corona virus be to the convention scene

Post by davemerrill »

>>>>>THIS IS POST 1000<<<<<<<<

I really hope AWA is able to go as planned. If the COVID is still wrecking society in November... well, AWA will be the least of our problems, I think.

I've sort of been able to kick back and relax a bit with Anime North being canceled, but I should use this spare time to prep AWA panels, probably.

I just heard AnimeNEXT in New Jersey just canceled their 2020 show, which was scheduled for June 12-14.

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Re: How bad would the Corona virus be to the convention scene

Post by Fireminer »

davemerrill wrote:
Mon Mar 30, 2020 8:05 am
the contracts most conventions (and large events of any kind) have with their venues include a "force majeure" clause. The force majeure clause is, as Wikipedia says, "a common clause in contracts that essentially frees both parties from liability or obligation when an extraordinary event or circumstance beyond the control of the parties, such as a war, strike, riot, crime, plague, or an event described by the legal term act of God (hurricane, flood, earthquake, volcanic eruption, etc.), prevents one or both parties from fulfilling their obligations under the contract."

When the municipal governments of cities order the cancellation of any large gathering of people, this allows the force majeure clause to be activated. In practice, this means that the convention can cancel their event without being financially liable for fulfilling the terms of their contracts. Most anime conventions have written off their 2020 shows entirely, and are rolling memberships over to their 2021 shows, and from what I can see most of the venues are agreeing to this.

The key part in this is that the conventions HAVE to wait until the city governments have banned gatherings before they can safely get out of their contracts. If they cancel their shows BEFORE the force majeure can take effect, the conventions may find themselves liable for all financial penalties. Even suggesting they may be thinking of canceling their event might be enough to void the contract. So, many conventions have to be very careful when communicating to their attendees what their plans are in dealing with COVID-19.
So that means when Trump and other Republicans telling people to go outside and continue working, thus discouraging states to declare businesses are closed, is actually bad for convention organizers?

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Re: How bad would the Corona virus be to the convention scene

Post by davemerrill »

As far as I know, there hasn't been an anime convention that's had to make the decision to cancel without a city or state gathering ban already in place.

IF, and this is a hypothetical, if a convention was forced to make the decision to shut down without the benefit of force majeure as a cover, then they will have to consider many issues.

-if they cancel unilaterally they may be liable for contract violation penalties.

-A lot of their attendees, vendors, and guests may cancel on their own anyway, costing the convention revenue.

-The people that DO show up may hold the convention liable if they get sick after the show.

Even without force majeure, I feel it's definitely in an anime convention's best interest to cancel or postpone their show until the fall at the earliest. Speaking as a convention organizer myself, I would rather **not** hold a convention than hold a convention that might result in attendees getting sick and dying. That's all there is to it, really.

From what I can see, I don't know how much influence what Trump says (which changes day to day) has much affect on the actions of state governors and city governments. There are groups of Americans determined to ignore public health warnings, but that's a self-correcting problem.

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Re: How bad would the Corona virus be to the convention scene

Post by DKop »

davemerrill wrote:
Wed Apr 01, 2020 7:12 am
As far as I know, there hasn't been an anime convention that's had to make the decision to cancel without a city or state gathering ban already in place.

IF, and this is a hypothetical, if a convention was forced to make the decision to shut down without the benefit of force majeure as a cover, then they will have to consider many issues.

-if they cancel unilaterally they may be liable for contract violation penalties.

-A lot of their attendees, vendors, and guests may cancel on their own anyway, costing the convention revenue.

-The people that DO show up may hold the convention liable if they get sick after the show.

Even without force majeure, I feel it's definitely in an anime convention's best interest to cancel or postpone their show until the fall at the earliest. Speaking as a convention organizer myself, I would rather **not** hold a convention than hold a convention that might result in attendees getting sick and dying. That's all there is to it, really.

From what I can see, I don't know how much influence what Trump says (which changes day to day) has much affect on the actions of state governors and city governments. There are groups of Americans determined to ignore public health warnings, but that's a self-correcting problem.
This is where it kinda gets iffy on violating first amendment rights in terms of "right to assemble," but that's more inline of assembling to address grievances against the government than hosting an anime con, or going to a mega church in Miami, or somewhere in between. I'd hope some judge with common sense and a good caring heart to throw out a case regarding people suing the government over barring right to assemble when it was in their best interest to keep them home and safe and not get sick. Although ill get a laugh if the court room is full of fursuits and anime cosplayers throwing a pity party because their con got shut down and took it personal as an attack against them and their rights or whatever. I hopefully don't think that's going to happen.

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Re: How bad would the Corona virus be to the convention scene

Post by davemerrill »

I'd think in the case of churches or anime cons or anyone hosting gatherings in defiance of current ordinances regarding COVID-19, the "peaceful" part of "peaceful assembly" might be where the whole First Amendment thing fails the test, in that infecting people with illness isn't exactly peaceful (see also: shouting "fire" in a crowded theater). There are always people who think the rules only apply to other people.

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Re: How bad would the Corona virus be to the convention scene

Post by davemerrill »

it was announced a few weeks back but I missed it: Project A-Kon has canceled its 2020 show. This means for the first time in thirty years there won't be a Project A-Kon. Kind of a bummer.

I hope they can bounce back from this, if only for nostalgia's sake. The convention is under new management, has had to go through venue and date changes, and I know there's been a lot of staff turnover. I'm honestly curious to see if whoever is running it now can keep it together over the next year.

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Re: How bad would the Corona virus be to the convention scene

Post by davemerrill »

(meant to include this in my previous post) it's interesting that A-Kon could cancel and I didn't see it mentioned anywhere on my social medias, even the anime-con specific social medias. Is the convention just that far off the radar? Or is Texas enough of a market that sizeable conventions can happen and the rest of the country simply goes on about its business? Dallas' All-Con, which only got through one day before being shut down due to COVID-19 fears, does eleven or twelve thousand attendees, yet people outside Dallas never seem mention it.

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