We are pleased to (finally) announce that TitanCon 2013 is confirmed to take place on Saturday 7 September 2013 at the Wellington Park Hotel, Belfast. Yes, that's a new date and a new venue.
Why the change of date?
The last two year's TitanCon has been held on the 3rd weekend of September to coincide with Culture Night Belfast. Our main reason for changing the date is to avoid a clash with the Emmy Award Ceremony in Los Angeles. Last year several Game of Thrones guests that would otherwise have attended TitanCon could not because they were going to be in L.A. for the Emmys. We really can't compete with an event like that and we want to bring our members the best line up of guests we possibly can so we needed to make a change.
Back in January 2013 we announced that the date we were planning for was 14 September, but it turns out our new venue was already booked for the 14th, however it was available on the 7th. We realise that this date change means some people may not be able to attend on the 7th when they could have the 14th, but equally there will be other people that could not have made the 14th that can make the 7th. We hope there are more people out there in the latter group than the former, but if you are one of those that cannot attend we apologise and please understand that this change of date and venue was absolutely necessary to make TitanCon 2013 financially viable.
Why the change of venue?
The Europa Hotel has been a fantastic venue for us the last two years and we thank everyone at the Europa for their great hospitality. The Europa is the most prestigious and well located hotel in Belfast but that prestige comes at a price. Many of you will be aware that last year we were very concerned that we had made a loss, it turned out that we did in fact make a modest profit but that close call has forced us to re-evaluate our budget planning. We felt that the last two years we've had too much of our budget tied up in venue costs and we really wanted to put more into our guest budget. Therefore we began looking for a venue that would meet our needs and we are pleased to say we have found it.
The Wellington Park Hotel is located near Queen's University, about a mile south of the Europa, and offers excellent conference facilities with all of their meeting rooms located on the first floor of the hotel within close proximity of each other. So it's not just about the price, we feel like this will be a better venue because of the layout of the rooms. The main hall seats 350 people, a second room will seat 100 and there are numerous smaller rooms ideal for holding workshops, round tables, gaming, signing and photo sessions. The conference space also features a separate bar area so there won't be any noise distractions during panel discussions, and we can set up tables in the main corridor so dealers will be situated right in the heart of the convention.
Wellington Park has also offered us a great room rate which will allow TitanCon members to affordably stay in the same hotel as the convention. The opportunity to stay in the same hotel where the convention you are attending is taking place can massively improve your experience at the con. The practicality of being able to return to your room quickly and easily at any time is a huge difference maker and with enough people staying here the entire hotel can become infused with the atmosphere of TitanCon making the whole experience that much more enjoyable for everyone. Please see our hotels page for more information on the room rate offer and other hostels, guesthouses and hotels close to our venue.
Please see our venue page for more details about the Wellington Park Hotel.
Why the price increase?
Last year our membership prices ranged from £12 special offer for returning members to £20 on the door. This year we are increasing our membership price to £25 and that will be a fixed rate for everyone with no planned increases at a later date. You may be thinking to yourself, but if they have reduced the venue costs why put the prices up as well? Our reasons are two-fold.
Firstly this is to again ensure our financial viability. The last two year's we have received a funding grant from the National Lottery funded Northern Ireland Arts Council. £4000 in 2011 and £3400 last year. Without that money we would have been a massive failure and right now we don't know if our grant application will be successful this year. This price increase coupled with the reduced venue costs means we should just about be OK even if we don't get the funding. We are of course still applying for funding and if successful then we'll be able to greatly increase what we can do with our workshop programming, bring in additional guests and really make TitanCon even more awesome than before.
The second reason is because we want to increase our guest budget and attract more guests, and we're not just talking about more Game of Thrones cast and crew. We are proud of the great variety of programming we offer at TitanCon with science-fiction and fantasy literature, art, media, gaming and practical workshops. We really want more of everything and all the changes outlined above to the date, venue and price will allow us to do just that.
We hope you'll agree that these changes will ensure TitanCon's success this year and well into the future too. We have more news and announcements coming over the next few weeks and months.
Sounds great, when can I buy my ticket?
TitanCon 2013 Memberships will go on sale Saturday 13 April at 12.00 midday GMT.
The TitanCon Coach Tour tickets will go on sale around the end of May/beginning of June because we really need to see more of season 3 before we can finalise the route and our plans for the event, but rest assured we are working on it and we'll give you plenty of notice for when the tickets go on sale.
Calling local authors and artists
Are you an author or artist living in Northern Ireland working in the field of speculative fiction or works of the imagination? Would you like to be our guest at TitanCon 2013 with an opportunity to participate in discussion panels, run a practical workshop, promote your books or display your artwork in our Art Show? One of the aims of TitanCon is to showcase local talent and we want to provide you with a platform to connect with science-fiction and fantasy fans from all over the world.
If you're interested then please contact us with details about what kind of work you do and what you'd like to bring to TitanCon.
We've set up a Message Board Forum for TitanCon members to get together online and discuss plans for TitanCon. This will be the best place to get in touch with friends you've met at past TitanCon's and make new ones before attending this year's convention in September. Sign up today and be part of the community getting excited about TitanCon 2013!
Full details on TitanCon 2013 on the website www.titancon.com