CALL FOR INFORMATION: Furry Convention History, by Fred Patten.
by Patch O'Furr
IF YOU HAVE HELPED TO ORGANIZE A FURRY CONVENTION, PLEASE COMMENT BELOW.
Fred Patten wants to put your con in a fandom history book from an academic publisher. (See previous articles from “Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer“.) There are pieces of info lacking from many cons – Fred can make it clear what’s needed from which ones. He’ll report it like this example, the history of RAINFURREST. – Patch
For the last two years, I have been compiling a history of all furry conventions throughout the world from 1989 through the end of 2015. It has been accepted by a publisher, McFarland. It covers 112 furry conventions in North and South America, Asia, Australasia, and Europe. The manuscript is 277 pages. My deadline for finishing is March 1, 2016.
Many convention committees have given full information; others have not answered at all. Also, I am trying to get at least one illustration for each convention — art such as website logos, conbook covers, posters, illustrated membership badges, illustrated hotel room keys; whatever a committee wants to submit. McFarland says that none of the illustrations on the Internet are of high enough resolution for book publication, so I cannot just framegrab an illustration from the Internet. They need an electronic file of 300 DPI or better.
I suspect that some lack of replies are due to a committee member who is not answering or passing them on. So a public announcement might reach a committee member who wants their convention represented in my book with all questions answered.
Here is what I have on one convention.
RainFurrest was created to replace the Conifur Northwest by Gene Armstrong and Trap Winters in Seattle, at the same time that All Fur Fun was created in Spokane for the same purpose. RainFurrest had its act together and succeeded where All Fur Fun faded away after three years. After the first RainFurrest, it was incorporated as Rainfurrest Anthropomorphics International (RAIn). RainFurrest is known for its particularly strong furry literary emphasis, with writers’ workshops, author readings, panels featuring at least one of the furry specialty publishers, and (since 2011) an original furry anthology.
RAIn is a non-profit group which “exists primarily for the purpose of holding events to facilitate education in anthropomorphic literature, art and culture, and to facilitate the donation of funds to non-profit institutions that the board decides are worthy”. RAIn filed for 501(c)(3) status in January 2013.
Name & Date / Theme / Location / Attendance / Parade
RainFurrest 2007: August 24-26, 2007. Holiday Inn, Seattle-Sea-Tac Airport Hotel, Seattle, WA. (370/41)
RainFurrest 2008: September 26-28, 2008. “Flight.” Seattle Airport, Marriott Hotel, Seattle, WA. (599/89)
RainFurrest 2009: September 18-20, 2009. “Zombie Attack.” Seattle Airport, Marriott Hotel, Seattle, WA. (905/159)
RainFurrest 2010: September 24-26, 2010. “Furst on the Moon.” Seattle Airport, Marriott Hotel, Seattle, WA. (1,045/184)
RainFurrest 2011: September 22-25, 2011. “Furry Camping.” Hilton Seattle Airport & Conference Center, Seattle, WA. (1,420/???)
RainFurrest 2012: September 27-30, 2012. “Warehouse Furteen.” Hilton Seattle Airport & Conference Center, Seattle, WA. (1,705/???)
RainFurrest 2013: September 26-29, 2013. “Dancing in the Moonlight.” Hilton Seattle Airport & Conference Center, Seattle, WA. (2,202/???)
RainFurrest 2014: September 25-28, 2014. “Cyberpunk: Fur Meets Chrome.” Hilton Seattle Airport & Conference Center, Seattle, WA. (2,586/504)
RainFurrest 2015: September 24-27, 2015. “Swords and Sorcery.” Hilton Seattle Airport & Conference Center, Seattle, WA. (2,704/492)
RainFurrest 2007: The Masquerade only had three entries. There were numerous panels and workshops, but the guest-of-honor dinner ($35) had notably poor food even by hotel poor food standards. The convention sold out the hotel by a few days before it started. The T-shirt was by Monika Livingstone. There was no theme, but one was retroactively assigned: The Rainforest.
Guests of Honor: Artist G-o-H Monika Livingstone, Fan G-o-H Dennis Avner (Stalking Cat), Writer G-o-H Phil Geusz, Musical G-o-H Alexander James Adams.
Charity: The Sarvey Wildlife Center (almost $1,000.)
Chairmen or Organizers: Gene Armstrong, Tank Winters (Trapa.)
RainFurrest 2008: Registered member received airplane-style metal wings pins; brass for regular members, silver for patrons, and gold for members who were real pilots. Events included a Fursuit Masquerade, a Pet Auction, a Plushie Costume Contest, an Ice Cream Social, workshops, gaming, and dances. WerePuppy did the T-shirt. The hotel staff was reported as very friendly. This was unofficially considered “RainFurrest I”, with the previous year’s as either “RainFurrest 0” or “a beta test”.
Guests of Honor: Mark Brill (WerePuppy) (furry artist.)
Charity: The Ferret Rescue Society ($1,000+)
Chairmen or Organizers: Tank Winters (Trapa.)
RainFurrest 2009: RainFurrest 2009 had a Dealers Den, an Art Show, a large Fursuit Lounge, a Gaming Room with a DDR tournament, a Sponsor/Patron Lounge, a three-day writers’ workshop, and many panels and other workshops. Events included a zombie game, the Fursuit Parade, the Ice Cream Social, a plushie costume contest, a Variety Show, the Guest of Honor dinner, a rant by 2, the Ranting Gryphon, a concert by Alexander James Adams, and dances with four DJs. The 42-page conbook had a wraparound color cover by Farore Nightclaw. The T-shirt was also by Farore Nightclaw.
Guests of Honor: Farore Nightclaw (furry artist), Adam Riggs (Nicodemus, fursuiter), Special G-o-H Matthew Wayne Davis (2, the Ranting Gryphon), Alexander James Adams, Kyell Gold.
Charity: Critter Care Wildlife Society ($536.78)
Chairmen or Organizers: North.
RainFurrest 2010: In 2010, RainFurrest became the sixth convention to surpass 1,000 attendees. The “Furst on the Moon” theme was emphasized in a program throughout the convention of landing a fur on the Moon and returning him or her safely to fandom. The fur was revealed by Dr. Werner von Wolfenstein to be a Cosmofur Siberian Husky of the Sovipaw Air Force. In addition to the Charity Auction, there were tip jars in the con store with the faces of con staffers Gene, Aloha, North, and Trapa. All donations went to the charity, and the jar getting the most donations got its staffer hit in the face with a pie by the volunteer who worked the most during the con. Other events included a plushie costume contest, a Second Life social, a live model workshop, a furry high tea, and a Graveyard Greg book celebration with his first novel. DragonDyne Publishing launched its new game, Neverwhen. Kyell Gold held a writing workshop. The T-shirt was by Balto.
Guests of Honor: Artist G-o-H Albert C. Peña (Balto), Fursuiter G-o-H Kodi, Writer G-o-H Graveyard Greg.
Charity: Northwest Wildlife Rehabilitation Center ($3,000+)
Chairmen or Organizers: North.
RainFurrest 2011: RainFurrest’s first annual charity anthology went on sale: Stories of Camp RainFurrest, printed by FurPlanet Productions; a 108-page trade paperback with 11 donated short stories for $10.00 with all proceeds donated to that year’s charity. TaniDaReal drew both the conbook cover and the T-shirt.
Guests of Honor: Artist G-o-H Tanja Freese (TaniDaReal), Writing G-o-H Alan Dean Foster, Fursuit G-o-H Deanna Larsson (Beetlecat), Artist Special Guest Astolpho.
Charity: Love A Mutt Pet Rescue.
Chairmen or Organizers: Loial.
RainFurrest 2012: The presentation of the first (2012) ALAA Hall of Fame honorees, to those characters, people, books, or films that helped to mold furry fandom, was announced: Bugs Bunny; Walt Disney; and the novel Watership Down by Richard Adams. RainFurrest’s second annual charity anthology wasTails of a Clockwork World, 119 pages/eight donated stories with all sales going to the charity. YamiBliss drew both the conbook cover and the T-shirt.
Guests of Honor: Artist G-o-H Jeffrey Camion (YamiBliss), Writing G-o-H Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, Fursuit G-o-H Sara Howard (Matrices).
Charity: Rabbit Meadows Sanctuary & Adoption Center.
Chairmen or Organizers: Gene Armstrong.
RainFurrest 2013: RainFurrest’s third annual charity anthology was Dancing in the Moonlight, 77 pages/five donated stories with all sales going to the charity. Soulscape drew both the conbook cover and the T-shirt.
Guests of Honor: Artist G-o-H Thea Reven (Soulscape), Fursuit G-o-H Temperance, Writing G-o-H FurPlanet Productions, Fandom G-o-H Fred Patten (in absentia), Writing Special Guest Phil Geusz.
Charity: The Clouded Leopard Project ($6,454.17)
Chairmen or Organizers: Aloha.
RainFurrest 2014: The presentation of the third (2014) ALAA Hall of Fame honorees, to those characters, people, books, or films that helped to mold furry fandom, was announced: Carl Barks; the novel Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White; and Osamu Tezuka. RainFurrest’s fourth annual charity anthology wasFurtual Horizons;A Rainfurrest Anthology, 264 pages/eleven donated stories with all sales going to the charity. The 48-page wraparound Program Book cover was by Egypt Urnash, who also did the T-shirt.
Guests of Honor: Writing G-o-H Kyell Gold, Artist G-o-H Margaret Trauth (Egypt Urnash), Music G-o-H Jared Clark (Pepper Coyote), Fursuit G-o-H Croc.
Charity: Cougar Mountain Zoological Park ($7,000)
Chairmen or Organizers: Cerb.
RainFurrest 2015: The Dealers’ Room was booked to capacity early. Instead of putting later applicants on a waiting list as usual, the committee held a juried judging of all applicants. This resulted in some long-time dealers being rejected and some first-time dealers being accepted, which resulted in some loud complaints. There were two 2015 charity anthologies; A Menagerie of Heroes for PG-13 stories, 322 pages/fourteen donated stories, and Naughty Sexy Furry Writing: Enter at Your Own Risk for NC-17 stories, 124 pages/six donated stories. Jan did both the conbook cover and the T-shirt.
There was much unfavorable publicity from the perception that the RF committee discriminated against veteran fans in favor of promoting a “youth” atmosphere. Whether true or not, there were multiple examples of flamboyant drunken and other inappropriate public behavior from new teenage attendees, including severe vandalism; enough to result in the RainFurrest’s hotel since 2011 cancelling their contract and forcing RainFurrest to find a new venue for 2016.
Guests of Honor: Artist G-o-H Jan, Writing G-o-H Renee Carter Hall (Poetigress), Fursuit G-o-H RedHyena.
Charity: Cougar Mountain Zoological Park ($10,000+)
Chairmen or Organizers: Rex Wolf.
What were the 2011, 2012, and 2013 Fursuit Parade totals?
What were the 2011 and 2012 charity donations?
I have most general information for many cons. What I still need is specifics for many cons – such as the Central Midwest Fur Meet 2012 attendance; the Fursuit Parade totals at EuroFurence 17, 19, 20, and 21; the FurFright Fursuit Parade totals for 2009, 2010, and 2011, and the amount of the FurFright 2013 charity donation.
I need illustrations for many cons. Here are the Abando (Brazil) logo and the RusFURrence 2013 (Russia) T-shirt.
I can send the questions that I have about any convention to anyone who asks.
Two Old Furry Fans already covered the most important bits of the first furry conventions in episode 0 of their podcast.
Rainfurrest 2015… what a disaster. Absolutely disgusting.
And russians needs to translate “furry” into their own language. For the last 20 or so years they have not been translating anything, and simply adopting more english words, writing them in Cyrillic letters. If this keeps happening, the Russian language will disappear in 50 years. Mark my words.
I think RF2015 was apparently organized and executed well, judging by the only press it got saying glowing things. Damage that happened had no names attached. In my opinion, unless there was organizer coverup (and i havent even heard insinuations of it) that should put responsibility on a few ill meaning individuals. With growing crowds you get weaker links and more potential for that.
Fetishy behavior wasn’t part of complaints by the hotel and apparently only from some furries. It caused a lot of drama but I believe most attendees saw nothing amiss. I think that makes it just an issue about being unwise, not the same issue as vandalism by a few jerks.
What is the russian word for furry and what could be a more meaningful one? Its fun to hear those and could even make a neat list. Futrzaki is one i heard (polish?) And the chinese one is funny because it more literally translates as “orc.”
There is no russian word for furry, but that should not stop a culture to invent one. At one point, there was no word for “influence”, and a russian writer in the 19th century invented one, combining existing roots into one, making “vliyaniye” (literally: in-flow). At one point, there was no football in Russia, and when it did arrive, the word “goalkeeper” got translated to “vratar” (“the one in charge of the gates”). And after the 90s happened, it changed to goalkeeper, written in russian letters, replacing the genuine native translation. After the personal computer was invented, France came up with their own word for it, “l’ordinateur”.
When you stop inventing your own words, and start borrowing every time, you lose your sense of identity, and eventually lose all your culture. It’s not that “borrowing every word makes your culture an awesome melting pot”; russians are just lazy about their own culture. I know what I am talking about, I was born and raised there. I saw the local culture erode over the years and the language become more and more quasi-american.
And know I learn they didn’t translate “furry” either. What a shame.
Sorry for the mini-rant, but I had to get this out of my system SOMEWHERE.
You say the publisher needs 300 DPI files for art but what is the overall minimum size they need in pixels? 2550 x 3300 gives you an 8 1/2″ x 11″ picture at 300 DPI.
That’s a good question david. I’m guessing that as long as it can fit some layout on a page of a standard book (8.5 x 11) it should be usable, and probably doesnt need to be full page either. This is a question Fred should answer, but I know Mcfarland publishes niche topics for academic libraries and hobbyists, so this is likely not a high budget affair requiring a lot of graphical layout.
Hello! I have quite a lot of information about the first decade or so of Furry Weekend Atlanta, as well as a large number of years of Rocket City Furmeet. Let me know what, if anything, you need.
Fred shared the the chapter on Anthrocon with me some months ago, which I’ve posted in a Google doc for comments and amplifications:
I need answers, not references to other fans who won’t answer.
I’ll ask McFarland about the minimum size it needs in pixels. Since this wasn’t specified in the first place, I assume that McFarland can adjust to fit.
Several conventions in countries whose language is not English seem to have adopted the English word “furry”. You can take this as either for standardization, or as an indication that English is becoming an international language. I assume that the Chinese word for “furry” (and is that Mandarin or Cantonese?) doesn’t mean “orc” as much as it means “fantasy beast”. It’s probably similar to how the Japanese have two words that are both translated as “monster”; “kaiju” for a huge physical beast whether real or fictitious, like a dinosaur or Godzilla, or “yokai” for a fantasy beast for a ghost or vampire. Yes, it would be interesting to compile a list of words for “furry” in other languages. Do those languages have a word for “furry” meaning having fur, as a cat or rabbit is furry, as distinct for “furry” meaning “furry fandom”?
For one specific recent question, does anyone have the attendance total of Wild Nights 2015? It was 302 in 2014, but the 2015 attendance doesn’t seem to be posted anywhere.