Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

SMOFCon Announces "Operation Leapfrog"

It's not a surprise that SMOFCon, the conrunners convention, could not be held this year. What may be a surprise is how it's going to be rescheduled.

Joint Announcement from Montreal and Lisboa SMOFCons

Due to the increasing impracticality of holding SMOFcon 38 in Montreal as originally scheduled in 2020, SMOFCon 38 has been postponed until December 2-4, 2022. The only known bid for SMOFCon 39, SMOFCon Europe, will host SMOFCon in Lisboa, Portugal on December 3-5, 2021. The two committees are in discussions for jointly organising a limited series of online-only events on the weekend of December 4-6, 2020.

Conditions with the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic are such that CanSMOF (the parent non-profit corporation of the Montreal SMOFCon 38 committee) concluded that holding an in-person SMOFCon in December 2020 was unsafe. CanSMOF felt (and still feels) that the in-person element of a SMOFCon is essential to the nature of the convention and the event would be non-viable without it. Accordingly, they began to explore options for postponing the convention.

The SMOFCon Europe committee was the only group to express interest in hosting the 2021 SMOFCon. They did say, however, that it would be impossible for them to postpone their convention any later than 2021, due to many committee members being involved in the Glasgow 2024 Worldcon bid. Under the circumstances, and after extensive discussions on the SMOFCon email list, all parties reached a consensus that if Montreal could renegotiate its hotel agreement to 2022, Lisboa could proceed with their plans for 2021.

The Montreal committee was able to reach an agreement with the Le Centre Sheraton Montreal to postpone the event until December 2-4, 2022 at no additional facilities cost and with the same hotel room rates previously agreed for the original 2020 dates. Membership rates for the Montreal SMOFCon will remain frozen at the current level (CAD$80 / USD$60) until after the Lisboa SMOFCon in 2021.

In July, the Montreal SMOFCon committee contacted the previously announced SMOFCon bidders for 2022. Those bidders mutually agreed that if Montreal was able to postpone their convention, that they would postpone their bids as well. After agreements were reached, Montreal’s committee contacted the SMOFCon bids for 2022 and 2023 in early September to advise them that “Operation Leapfrog” was a go. The Montreal committee thanks all future SMOFCon bidders for their cooperation and understanding under the current worldwide pandemic conditions.

The Lisboa SMOFCon in 2021 will conduct the site selection for the 2023 SMOFCon. The Montreal SMOFCon in 2022 (postponed from 2020) will not conduct a site selection for a future SMOFCon. Site Selection will once again return to one year in advance rotation starting with the 2023 SMOFCon.

The committees of SMOFCon 38 (Montreal 2022) and SMOFCon 39 (Lisboa 2021) have mutually agreed to jointly organise a limited online-only “mini-SMOFCon” event on the weekend of December 4-6, 2020. Dubbed “SMOFCon 37 ¼,” the initial plan is to have online sessions to allow current Worldcons, bids for future Worldcons, and bids for future SMOFCons to make their presentations and answer questions. The joint SMOFCon 37 ¼ committee will announce further details of their plans shortly, including contact details and participation information.

SMOFCon Europe will launch their convention, making rates, hotel rooms, their online proposition and further information all available in time for SMOFCon 37 ¼.

If you have questions specifically about the Montreal or Lisboa SMOFCons, please direct them to the individual committees through their websites:

SMOFCon 38 (Montreal 2022):
SMOFCon Europe (39) (Lisboa 2021):

I was part of the joint working group of the Montreal and Lisboa (Lisbon; "Lisboa" is the city's name in Portuguese) committees, as Montreal Chair Jannie Shea asked me to help with part of the negotiation. I'm a CanSMOF director, and earlier this year, I contacted the bidders for 2022, who each individually agreed that if the other bids were willing to put of their bids, they would do so as well.

Note that what's happening here is that SMOFCon 38 (Montreal) is going to happen after SMOFCon 39 (Lisboa), after which we hope to be back to normal again. That's why Lisboa is scheduled to hold the 2023 site selection, as it will be SMOFCon 39 selecting SMOFCon 40's site.

If it all sounds a bit odd, that's pretty much SOP for SMOFCon. SMOFCon 2 was canceled (a few people with non-refundable airfares came out anyway), and there was a year in which there were two SMOFCons: one on the island of Jersey the week after an Eastercon in the same hotel (I was there) and another in Lexington, Kentucky the following December (I was there, too).

I just hope that it's safe to travel again by December 2021 so that I can go to the SMOFCon in Portugal.
Tags: smofcon

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