We’ve already told you that we are still positive about GalaCon and are doing our best to make the event finally happen this year. As the pandemic seems to get more and more under control and taking into account the two last Summer months, we think that chances are quite good to finally be able to return to Ludwigsburg!
On the other hand, the last more than two years without events did not leave our association unaffected. Besides the extreme efforts and stresses our staff had to work through, the pandemic has put us in a financial situation which does not look great for GalaCon. As we see ourselves as part of the community, we think that it is the right thing to do to speak openly about what currently worries us and to keep you all up to date about our plannings.
At first, the good news are, that:
- No, we do not plan to cancel GalaCon. Even considering the given financial situation, we currently find carrying out GalaCon 2022 feasible.
- Yes, your tickets and your money are safe. If in the worst case we would have to cancel GalaCon, we would currently be able to refund all purchased tickets.
But the following circumstances still cause a lot of problems in the future and might even put the future of GalaCon at risk.
Recurring Costs & Online Events
There are some recurring, unavoidable costs which still need to be paid even if no event is happening. We fortunately do not have any personnel costs and noone is personally financially dependant as all of our staff members work on a voluntary basis, but still, things like insurance, administrative costs or webhosting need to be paid. To make it short, no convention generally means close to no income, so this causes a problem.
Although the the online events replacing GalaCon in 2020 and 2021 raised some money and our staff members did their best to keep costs low, the overall outcome was not as high as expected. As said before, our staff members also heavily contributed to keeping costs low and funding our association.
All in all, a huge part of recurring costs could be covered and the GalaCon budget remained mostly unaffected, but two years without conventions did exhaust our funds and reserves. This itself would be a minor issue, but there were also some unexpected extra costs which make the situation even more severe.
Increasing Venue Rent
The venue rent has already been increasing by around 20 % from 2013 to 2019. Now, the rent has again heavily been raised by another 30 % compared to 2019, nearly doubling the amount we had paid in 2015.
We always calculate with increasing costs, especially regarding the venue, and therefore carry a small reserve to keep the impact on ticket prices low. But we could not and did not expect such a huge increase in such a short amount of time.
The worst part is that, as this raise has only just been announced this year, we had no time to react adequately. If we knew about it early, we would have been forced to raise the ticket prices – but as so many tickets have already been sold, this is not an option anymore. And just switching to another venue which could have been an option with more time on our hands is not only near impossible in terms of organisation as it would not only mean to find new hotels and suppliers besides a fitting and cheaper venue, it would also disturb the travel plans of many of you.
These surprising extra costs have a huge impact on the convention budget as the venue rent is making up around 40 % of the convention budget. With no means of compensation, this might lead to severe cutbacks elsewhere.
Guests and Travel Fees
Guests of Honor are one of the greatest attractions of all conventions. Being an European convention, the downside for us is that most show staff, well-known voice actors or other important people involved in the show have to travel from the US or Canada. The costs for Guests of Honor have always been quite high and took around 30 % of the convention budget.
COVID-19 pandemic heavily impacted the travel and airline business and there are still some restrictions, e.g. capacity limits or monitoring obligations, which increase the price of flights and accomodation. Some experts suggest that prices for oversea flights might increase by 10 to 20 % compared to pre-COVID times.
In addition to that, many potential guests are concerned about the overall situation in Summer and won’t make a final decision yet. By postponing the booking of flights, travel costs further increase.
Extra Effort due to COVID-19
COVID-19 itself also means a lot of extra effort and a lot of extra costs for us. With Everfree Encore 2021, we have conducted a smaller event under COVID-19 regulations and had the chance to gather experience.
First of all, there are many small things to consider. Face masks for visitors, staff and volunteers, COVID-19 tests, safety signs, temporary barriers, glass partitions, disinfectant – the things you need to buy to keep up to common hygiene standards and to keep everyone safe amount to a big bunch of extra costs. Also, any vendor table left free because of distancing rules or any line at our merchandise shop may lead to lesser income.
Some visitors may also still not feel comfortable with attending such a big convention, which is totally understandable. Lower visitor numbers mean a lower budget though and further increase financial issues.
Conclusion – What’s at Risk?
All in all, we carefully recalculated our convention budget and we are sure that we can carry out GalaCon in 2022. And even in case of a worsening situation, either because of COVID-19 or because of more unforeseeable costs, we could still wind up without causing losses on your or our side.
But, given that GalaCon 2022 will happen as we all hope and strive for – it will mean a huge financial burden and bring our association and staff to the limit. To put it bluntly, with further increasing costs and used up reserves ahead, we fear that 2022 might be the last GalaCon – and we absolutely do not want this to happen. In the worst scenario, the given situation could not only lead to cutbacks affecting your GalaCon experience, but also make it too risky for us to continue organizing GalaCon in the future. We want to avoid this at all cost but unfortunately are not able to solve this issues on our own.
How Can I Help?
GalaCon is the longest continuing MLP convention in Europe and has become a permanent institution for the whole fandom. To assure that we can carry on with GalaCon in the future, we kindly ask for your support to ease the impact of COVID-19 and the two years in limbo.
We know that we ask for a lot here as many of you have shown great support before, be it by keeping their tickets over more than two years or by supporting online events. But we have seen many times what this community can achieve and we would be very grateful if you could again manage to help GalaCon through these difficult times.
You can support us by
Our main goal is to ease the situation by (partly) compensating increasing costs so that we can carry out GalaCon 2022 as planned and after that start planning for next year right away. But depending on the overall outcome, we could even carry out some plans which we’ve yet postponed due to the looming COVID-19 situation and make GalaCon 2022 even better!
Any help is highly appreciated! As usual, all donations are used to directly fund GalaCon. No salary or profit is paid to any of the staff members or association representatives.