This page covers joining an Eastercon. If you are interested in what needs to be done from a convention running viewpoint, see Registration
When you go somewhere to be entertained, or just as a passive consumer, you buy a "Ticket" and then sit in the audience/train/whatever and wait for someone to do things for you.
A convention is different ... we have fun together, much more like a social club, and so we sell "Memberships" rather than tickets. So you "join" a convention rather than buying a ticket or a pass.
It's a language thing, but an important distinction. We want you to come along and join in and have fun!
A membership in an Eastercon gets you:
- The pre-convention publications, such as Progress Reports.
- A membership badge, which gives you access to the various events and social areas of the convention
- At-con publications, such as the ReadMe
- The right to vote on the committee for the Eastercon in two year's time
- The thanks of the convention committee :-)
Currently (2009) an Eastercon full weekend membership costs around £50(GBP) ... slightly cheaper if you join two years ahead, more expensive if you just show up and join on the day (on the door).
There are usually discounts for unwaged (students, pensioners, disabled, unemployed, non-wage earners etc.), as well as cheaper rates for children. Each convention decides what age range they consider to be children.
Most Eastercons also offer the opportunity of joining for just one day, at a reduced price (though it is usually nearly as cheap to join for the whole weekend two years in advance as it is to join for one day on the door).
In the normal run of things, the Eastercon for a particular year is selected two years before at the Eastercon that year. The people running the Eastercon don't know how many people will become members ("join the convention") so they can't accurately predict the total income ... but they have to guess and then hope enough people join to cover the costs. So to encourage people to join early, they set a low membership rate to start with, and then increase it every six months or so until joining the convention on the weekend is the most expensive.
See Budget if you are curious about where all the money goes :-)
But basically the main costs of a convention are:
- Tech (lighting, sound, video etc.)
- Guests (flights and accommodation)
- Other running costs (stationery, postage, membership badges etc.)
No-one in the running organisation gets paid to do it, we are all volunteers, and pay for our own hotel rooms and our own memberships, just like you. So why do we do it? Because we enjoy doing it!
If you figured out the number of hours worked before the convention, and the number of volunteers working many hours *at* the convention, and paid them minimum wage for that work, your membership rate would probably be at least double!