There’s a whole lot of gossip floating around the web right now about PyrateCon. Most of it consists of either vague allegations based on “inside information” or long winded tirades that have little to do with anything the general public needs or wants to know.
Since returning from PyrateCon 08 I’ve been torn between whether I should publicly share my thoughts, or quietly “wait and see” what occurs on its own. But I get asked, and then asked again what my thoughts are on PyrateCon, and so I think it’s time to just throw some things out there. So here are some facts. No inside information, just the publicly available truth:
PyrateCon 2008 was imperfectly orchestrated. The banquet was overcrowded and did not feature nearly the spread of food promised. The official program in Pyrates Way Magazine listed at least one major event (the Interactive Movie) that didn’t occur, as well as an entire Voudou Lounge area that didn’t exist. In an error repeated from PyrateCon 2007, a significant chunk of vendors were overly separated from the main vending room. Evening events were open to the non-paying public, and the Pirate and Wench of the Year Contests were dominated by official entertainers, judges, and VIPs – all of whom should have been ineligible for such a contest. All of these concerns have been expressed by attendees throughout various online forums, but to my knowledge the PyrateCon staff has not yet publicly acknowledged them, nor offered any reassurance that they won’t happen again.
All this said, more went right than went wrong. The evening events – overcrowded though they were – did occur. The vending rooms were great fun to visit, and *most* of the presentations went on as scheduled. But most important of all, PyrateCon served as a reason for pirates to gather in New Orleans, which is the true strength of this convention. Even if you’re not interested in attending seminars or vendor rooms, the opportunity to wander Bourbon Street in a frock and tricorn, drinking rum all day long and then plopping into a seat at the Pirate’s Alley Café to wile away the remaining hours with like-minded souls is a rare and incredible treat.
So where do things stand? Rumors abound of lawsuits, PyrateCon Staff turmoil, mismanagement, etc. And personally, as an attendee, I don’t really care. Those with a financial stake in the matter can (and should) investigate matters and do whatever’s in their best interest. But I plan to be in New Orleans the weekend of PyrateCon – regardless of the actual fate of the festival. I hope PyrateCon succeeds – like many, I *want* there to be one event where we aren’t expected to be performers or educators – where we’re free to just be ourselves while dressing, drinking, and acting like pirates. But regardless of whether PyrateCon pulls itself together, so long as there are pirates aplenty in the French Quarter, it will remain an event worth attending.