We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future. ~George Bernard Shaw

 

May 13, 2017

It's with sincere apologies and heartfelt regret that I have to send this message to you all. The simple truth of it is that RainbowCon 2017 will not be happening. I recently went over the numbers with the help of our Holiday Inn (host hotel) liaison, and attendance for this year's con is currently so low that there is no way we would be able to cover even the basic hotel expenses, much less put on the lovely events attendees have come to love, as well as host the guests we were so excited to invite down to Florida. We organizers wanted to share this information with you as soon as we were certain of the necessary course of action, giving enough time before the event to minimize money lost on travel expenses, which we know for many of you are substantial.

In previous years, RainbowCon has boasted a growing attendance, peaking last year with over 250 attendees. When we signed the contract with our host hotel, it was for two events (2015 and 2017) in order to keep some of the costs reasonable both for us organizers (i.e. convention space rental) and for you attendees (i.e. hotel room rates per night). The intent, however, was for the con to grow each year, and we had counted on that upward momentum.

I'll break it down for everyone so that hopefully I can assure you that I'm in no way exaggerating. I want to be truthful, and in this case, I feel some details will give perspective. We currently have 15 General attendees and 17 Industry attendees signed up for the con. Several of those are repeat attendees who have come to previous RainbowCon events (their registrations were slightly discounted). We also have nine guests (who do not pay registration to attend the con; this includes our Guest of Honor). Even adding in the opt-in additional payments (like RSVPing for the drag show dinner and/or USB space), the total income for the conference hasn't even covered half of the hotel's con-space rental/catering fee we've contracted for.

In addition to all this, our contract with the hotel requires that we bring in enough people staying at the hotel to cover 300 room-nights. We are currently sitting at less than a third of that. The consequence of having so few room-nights booked by con-goers is that us con organizers have to pay the difference to the hotel (the math works out to an additonal $16,000, not including taxes and fees). This money would have to come out of our pockets personally, even if the event did happen. The long and short of it is that we simply cannot financially make the con happen at this point, and so, though it pains us terribly to cancel an event that we so thoroughly believe in, we have to let RainbowCon go.

I hope you will understand that this is in no way the direction we wanted RainbowCon to go, but a con's success and growth depend entirely on attendance, and we sadly cannot sustain the event on our own. Our profound thanks go to all of you for supporting the con by attending past events and signing up for this one as well. We're especially grateful to our amazing guests, who have promoted the conference at every turn, those who stepped up as sponsors, and those who volunteered to give their time to work during the conference. RainbowCon has been very special to us all, an event that brought so many together, forging new friendships, encouraging connection throughout the QUILTBAG spectrum in a safe place where everyone was welcome. An event like ours is both needed in our current society and desired by all of you reading this. We hope that one day a similar event will be able to plant firm roots and flourish in a way ours has not managed.

Until then, we must give our sincere apologies and ask for your compassion and understanding. We wish only the best for each of you.

Sincerely,
~Kris Piet, Saundra Armstrong, & Roger Armstrong