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Dashcon is a convention organized by and for the core community members and audiences of Tumblr, including content creators and fans of a wide range of exceptionally popular subcultures, hobbies and interests within the microblogging network. After successfully completing a fundraiser in 2013, the inaugural convention took place in Schaumburg, Illinois during the second weekend of July 2014. However, the event was largely marred by poor planning and mismanagement of the budget, the news of which quickly spread on Tumblr and became a source of ridicule under the designated hashtag #Dashcon.
Originally proposed under the name Tumbl-Con USA in March 2013, the convention got its jump start after successfully raising $4,000 via IndieGoGo. The name of the event was subsequently changed to Dashcon to clarify its non-affiliation with the company itself. Shortly after that, the weekend passes ($65) and day passes ($30 – $50) for the convention went on sale. The inaugural event was planned to be held between July 11th and 13th in the Schaumburg Renaissance Convention Center in Illinois.
Welcome to Night Vale Cancellation
One of the most highly anticipated events at the convention was a live performance and Q&A session by the staff members of popular podcast series Welcome to Night Vale. However, the event had to be dropped from the program as a result of misallocation of funds by the organizers, which drew much criticism from the attendees.
An Extra Hour in the Ball Pit
Some Dashcon attendees also pointed out that one of the most memorable attractions at the convention was a colorful children’s ball pit in an otherwise mostly empty room.
Following the cancellation of the Welcome to Night Vale appearance, rumors began to spread on Tumblr that the convention organizers were trying to appease the angry attendees by offering “an extra hour in the ball pit” in compensation. Soon, many attendees at the convention, as well as Tumblr users who were remotely following the story through the hashtag, began making mockeries of the ball pit as the primary attraction of the entire event.
As the weekend progressed, the #Dashcon and #Ball Pit tags accumulated large numbers of posts on Tumblr, in addition to several side rumors surrounding the ball pit such as its deflation, it being urinated in, or having a child conceived in it.
As the news of the disastrous turnout at the convention continued to spread on Tumblr, it became known that the organizers had raised more than $17,000 USD in emergency donations to continue hosting the event at the venue. Combined with the moderately high admission price of $65 for the weekend pass, the emergency fundraiser soon prompted suspicions that the convention is litle more than a money-grabbing scheme. In criticizing the poor planning of the event, the Tumblr blog 17000dollars was launched to offer a variety of alternative ways in which the money could have been spent on instead.
On July 17th, the DashCon organizers released an official statement to address the controversial turnout of the event. In the statement, the staff acknowledged that they were underprepared to host the event, citing “mismanaged communication,” contract misinformation and other clerical errors, but it also clarified that they had to raise $17,000 to pay an outstanding balance billed by the venue, the Renaissance Schaumburg hotel. The statement also included a scanned copy of the bill, which verified that a sum of $21,000 were paid before the convention and a separate payment of $22,237.45 between during the weekend of the event.
In addition, the organizers also announced a conditional refund for those who had made cash or Paypal donations for the event.
If you would like your PayPal donation refunded, please let us know by 11:59pm EST on Saturday, July 19, 2014. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “PayPal Donation Refund” in the subject line. Within the body of the email, please include your full name and PayPal transaction number so we can verify your claim.
If you donated cash and would like it returned, please also let us know by 11:59pm EST on Saturday, July 19, 2014. Please send an email to email@example.com with “Cash Donation Refund” in the subject line. Within the body of the email, please include your full name, phone number, Invoice ID from your badge purchase [to verify your ability to have been in attendance], and the amount you donated.