BayCon has a long and rich history in Bay Area fandom. In over three decades we have had a wide array of excellent, engaging guests who have graciously shared their time, expertise and passion with the attendees, creating some truly exceptional programs over the years. Our guests are the backbone of the convention we put on.
That said, as we move forward with BayCon in a world where fandom and conventions are evolving, we are taking a look at the way we have always done things and acknowledging that the methods that worked so well for so long are no longer the best practice for keeping BayCon fresh and vital. In order to continue the tradition of producing an exceptional convention, we are making some changes to our programming methods. We understand that they will not be universally popular, but we hope that those who love and support BayCon will see the value in these changes.
“But I’m always on the program!” Going forward there is no such thing as a guest who is guaranteed to be on the program every year. The overwhelming feedback we’ve gotten has been that our attendees have their favorites, but they want new voices and new ideas mixed in with the classic program items and long-time guests. In order to make room for those new voices we will be asking some of our long-standing guests to step back and take a year off now and then. Not receiving an invitation one year does not mean you are off the list, just that this year was a better fit for other participants. At the discretion of the board, the chair and the programming staff, some guests who have been accustomed to an annual invite will be finding themselves with a year off. We encourage those people to come to BayCon as attendees both to enjoy the convention and to support their fellow panelists until they are asked back themselves. “Not this year” is absolutely not code for, “never again!”
“But everyone loves Certain Item!” While we are happy that there are traditions that people have enjoyed at BayCon, there are limitations of time and function space. We will continue some of them, but you should also expect to see some of your old favorites make way for new ones. We will continue to solicit feedback and if we determine that people really miss an item we’ve taken out of the rotation, it can always be brought back! As with guests, “not this year” is absolutely not code for, “never again!”
“But I have new ideas and I want to talk about new things!” Perfect! We actively encourage you to come up with new programming ideas and pitch them to us! A large part of the process of deciding which participants to invite and which to sit out for a year will revolve around who brings fresh ideas to the table. The faces you see back time and again will be those who are bringing something new to the program each year.
When we send out our first round of invitations we extend invites to roughly ¾ of our intended headcount. This means that with a certain amount of attrition (some people decline) we still have lots of spots for those who come to our attention later via attendee request or their own submission. If you are (or know) an up and coming writer, artist, blogger or some other person who would be an asset to our program, please fill out the web form them on the Programming page.
None of these changes should be in any way construed as a criticism of the BayCons that have come before. Those BayCons were brilliant and for some of us they were how we first fell in love with fandom. They were magnificent and the people who put them together did a fantastic job and they should be very proud of their work. We choose to honor that by carefully evolving our program to adapt to changes in fandom. We want to be true to the heart of BayCon while still bringing a fresh perspective and welcoming new fans both in the audience and behind the panel table. We want BayCon to continue to thrive and the growth required for that is going to come with some changes. We sincerely hope that people will be open to those changes and that we will live up to the legacy we are charged with.
If you wish to contact programming, please fill out and submit this form. Please note that the guest list for any given year closes in February. Requests to join the program after that time will be deferred to the next year.