Seattle fandom takes a hit – both Emerald City Comic Con and PAX West have now declared their intentions to cancel their physical conventions this year, opting instead to go to an all-virtual format. Each cited COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic concerns.
Emerald City Comic Con had initially rescheduled from their original date of March 12-15, and abruptly canceled after major participants announced that they would not be attending. The new date was to have been this August, but this too has been canceled.
The event producer Reedpop that runs Emerald City Comic Con, released this official statement on June 16:
Emerald City Comic Con is not just an event that happens over a handful of days, it’s a community. It is OUR community. It is made up of thousands of people creating and sharing their passions. For almost two decades, what has made ECCC so special are the people, their stories, and their experiences. We care about you. We care about your safety. That will always come first.
Because of this, and after many discussions with the convention center, exhibitors, artists and fans, we have made the excruciating yet necessary decision to cancel Emerald City Comic Con 2020 in Seattle.
We’re still here though! We will be putting on a digital event in August to support exhibitors and connect fans with as much of the content you love as possible. For more information on what is available digitally now, our next physical show in Seattle, and everything in between, keep up with Emerald City Comic Con’s social channels and YouTube.com/ReedPop.
All tickets transferred from ECCC March 2020 to August 2020 will be automatically refunded by June 29, 2020; no action is needed on your part. We will have more information on 2021 tickets and their on-sale date in the Fall.
ECCC will return. We will connect with our favorite artists and creators again. We will cheer for our heroes again. We will discover new fandoms and meet new friends again. We will wear and take pictures of awesome cosplay again. We will celebrate what we love with each other again.
Our hearts, as always, remain with you all. Thank you for sticking with us. Thank you for your patience. Thank you for your understanding. Stay safe, stay healthy and take care of yourselves and each other.
We’ll see you in August for our digital celebration, and we cannot wait to welcome you all home in person March 4-7, 2021.
Similarly, Penny Arcade, the media company that produces the PAX conventions world-wide, has announced that PAX West is moving to an online format which they are calling PAX Online. This was a predictable outcome, since they have already canceled nearly all their in-person events this year owing to the health and safety issues caused by the pandemic.
From their web site comes the following statement:
In our previous post, we explained that while we still had hoped to bring you PAX West this year, protecting the safety and health of our community is our highest priority. The more we worked on a solution, the more it became clear that if we really wanted to welcome everybody home, we’d have to remove the physical barriers entirely, and simply take PAX Online.
Going digital means a lot more than just a change in venue though, and by transcending the physical, in fact, we’re able to do more PAX than ever before!
PAX Online is the result of the convention-organizing supergroup made up of the people responsible for PAX West, PAX Australia, as well as our new friends at EGX to create our new PAX Online and deliver a steady 24/7 stream of content, events, discussions, and gameplay.
Oh, and did we say 24/7? We actually meant 24/9, because we’re going to be running this virtual shindig for nine straight days, from September 12th through the 20th.
In certain ways, the online format is even better than the in-person format, since convention planners no longer have to play room scheduling Bingo to figure out what panels they’ll have space for. Instead, they’re just gathering and scheduling online content. Convention goers will miss the camaraderie and spontaneity of a live, in-person event, but there seems to be at least some compensatory benefit.
Both conventions are optimistic that they’ll be able to have their in-person conventions in a more traditional format in 2021. In the meantime, they’re doing their parts to make sure fans are safe.