Tuesday, 8 July 2014

It'll be BUCK, Jim, but not as we know it

I can't say that the announcement that BUCK in its present form is most unlikely to continue beyond this year took me entirely by surprise. The con's budget now runs into six figures (of pounds!) and that really is huge for an event in what, in the UK at least, is a bit of a niche fandom. It makes me even more disappointed that I can't go this year, but I'm also even more glad that I made it to last year's edition. (Besides, nothing this year will match the Bridgewater Hall's auditorium for sheer grandeur!)

There have been some fairly heavy hints from the BUCK team that there will be something from them in 2015, but that it won't be what we've known up until this year. It'll be interesting to see whether that's enough to stop anyone else trying to set up their own con. If they're going to do that on any sort of scale, I don't think they can risk waiting months until BUCK makes a final decision. On the other hand, there's clearly a limit to how many MLP cons this country can support in a year.

Now for some musing on the future of British cons. UK Ponycon is probably the safest, since it's long-established and as a multi-gen event doesn't depend entirely on we fickle bronies. BronyScot is an interesting newcomer, on what seems a sensible scale, and I really hope it goes well. GalaCon in Germany seems likely to be where "big con" devotees will head from now on, but that still leaves, to my mind, a gap for a medium-sized con in England or Wales. That gap may end up being filled by "BUCK Redux", of course.

As in so many other things, I'm often out of the mainstream, so a con tailored to my own preferences would probably be a disaster from a financial point of view. But since this is my blog: I don't think I'll ever forget singing "Winter Wrap Up" with hundreds of others in one of the greatest concert venues in the world. Of course the people were the main thing, but they weren't the only thing: the posh venue did make a difference. Similarly, I really like the look of the four-star hotel UK Ponycon will be using this year.

Similarly, the Lunar Eclipse. When I'm not kicking myself (again) for missing most of EileMonty's set, I'm revelling in the memories of hearing Acoustic Brony do "I'll Fly Higher" in that auditorium. It was more special than it would have been in a plain big hall. So my dream would be a standalone brony music event in a place like that, or Birmingham's Symphony Hall. Will it happen? Unless a passing oligarch turns out to be a brony, almost certainly not, on cost grounds. But if it ever does, put me down for a ticket right away.

Going back to BUCK, though: I'm glad they're taking the sensible, professional route here. Pushing on into 2015 and risking having the thing fall apart and the BUCK brand dragged through the mud would have been absurd. In the end, finances have beaten them: no matter how much your costs rise, you can't keep putting prices up by 30% a year and expect everyone to keep shelling out. So yes, BUCK as we knew it will die at the end of August. Hard though it is to say, that's probably for the best in the circumstances. Here's to the future!


  1. It is a real shame, even though there's not much that the BUCK organisers can do about it, that BUCK won't be able to continue in its current form. It was so obvious just how much you'd enjoyed it last year, and I really wish you'd been able to go again next year. And I'd have certainly liked the option, at least. But unfortunately that's how things have turned out. If only venues weren't so expensive!

    Still, I'll be very interested to see what they do have planned for next year, not to mention how it works out cost-wise and of course how well it actually does. At the moment I can't really even guess what they could have planned.

    Ah, now if only that show you mentioned at the Symphony Hall was possible. That would be one extremely memorable night. Even if it couldn't be done there, it's a shame it isn't possible to organise a kind of miniature Glastonbury - a stage set up in a small park with lots of brony bands playing all afternoon and evening. :)

    1. Inevitably, the name "Glastonpony" has already been suggested. Not by anyone around here, oh no indeed not sir. ;)

      I think it would probably need more than a *small* park, though. I could easily see a couple of thousand people turning up, since that's the kind of crowd the SSC gets.