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News The End of a Chapter

Discussion in 'BUCK Convention Discussion' started by nethesem, 9 February 2016.

  1. nethesem

    nethesem Existentialist

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    The End of a Chapter
    [​IMG]
    Hey everyone, this is an open letter to deliver some news we’ve been mulling over for some time now. It’s with a heavy heart that BUCK Events has declared that BUCK 2016 will be the last brony/cartoon convention that we run.

    Once BUCK 2016 is all wrapped up in April, we’ll all be turning to other projects.
    Instead of scaling BUCK down and fading away, we’re going all-out. We’ve got big plans, we’ve got a show-stopping musician we’re about to announce. This is not abandon ship, this is “Get over here because it’s your last chance!”

    Now I’ve given the short of it, here’s the long of it – BUCK has been running since 2012. It started as a large-gathering that turned into a small convention in Manchester. The fandom was ascending, and there was massive demand.

    In 2013 we returned with the intent of running something bigger and better to satisfy this demand, and although it was hard work, we managed the transition up to the 1000-1200 attendee bracket. We also launched the Summer Sun Celebration, a concert that went toe to toe with other similar events much bigger than ourselves. Changing up to a larger venue, we quickly discovered that UK venues just aren’t used to dealing with US-style conventions. All the time the costs were high, expecting us to have big name sponsors and a few hundred exhibitors each paying a high price for their table – but as a convention, not an expo, we are effectively a private party, and the attendees pay our funding to run it.

    This business model is extremely volatile. We constantly wondered if we should scale back, cut the tech budgets, ditch the glitz and glam. But the thing that makes BUCK special is that it’s a blow-out event. You can go to a small convention and have a good time, hear some good music – but at BUCK, we want stuff you haven’t seen. We want a concert that matches the kind of environment you see on DVDs of platinum-selling bands where everything is off the hook. And we delivered that.

    I asked people who go to other events what they thought, and always the answer was; “Oh no, BUCK is massive, it’s a whole different thing…” And since that’s what you’ve wanted that’s exactly what we’ve always aimed for. But it’s expensive, time-consuming, and exhausting.

    In 2014, we ran our most successful event yet. It went almost without a hitch, and we all said; “This is it, we’ve got the recipe, now we just tweak the measurements and we’ll have this nailed…” It had been hard work, but we felt sure that the experience was now going to pay off, and the next event would be a breeze.

    But the staff were exhausted, with most of us having been living and breathing BUCK for two years solid, and also many who had also been heavily involved in BUCK 2012 and were on their third year. We called a one-year hiatus to gather our strength, and check that the market was still ripe for another big-convention.

    And it’s now that we find ourselves in 2016. Despite having the longest planning period of any BUCK, once again the work is exhausting. Despite having a tried and tested recipe, we are constantly faced with unexpected problems: people complacent that they don’t have to support us, or saying that it’ll be no different to 2014; and an on-going struggle to gain commitment from everyone involved.

    It feels like we’re doing this for the first time, again, when we should be doing it in our sleep.
    We feel that this has been reflected in ticket sales and the pool of community guests we look for – and this leads us to one conclusion, that the market for an event like BUCK isn’t there anymore.

    We could make it smaller. We could cut the budgets. There are many things we could do – but all of them will leave us with something that isn’t BUCK, and that’s not something we’re interested in doing.

    So with that load off of my chest, let me now clarify some things – We’ve been working our little rumps off on BUCK 2016, and despite all of the above, we’ve lined up an amazing event. We’re still finalising plans that make us say to each other “Oh hell yes, this is going to be amazing!”

    There’s an array of all new panels, new musicians and guests, new workshops and interactive events. We’re a community event at heart and we’re supporting you the community, with community events. But it seems this is as far as the community is willing to go.

    This isn’t the end of BUCK Events as a company. We’ve got other events on the back burners that are now coming to a boil, which we’ll be sharing later on this year – but they’re non-pony. We need to look at other areas that are more sustainable, and don’t require our staff to effectively work two day-jobs at the same time.

    As well as these non-pony events, we’re also not ruling out smaller events like BUCK LDN, which was a massive success that proved to us that the medium-sized meetup is very much alive and well.

    So what should you take away from this? This is your last chance to experience BUCK. It’s also our last chance to run it. So we’re going to make it a bloody good one. We’re going out with a bang. We’re going to quit on a high note: a tone that says “You should’ve been there… I’m not sure there’ll ever be anything quite like it again.”

    Graham / Nethesem
    BUCK Chairman
     
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  2. anthony rothstein

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    A word of warning to those tempted to try and replace BUCK now that they have confirmed 2016 will be their final year.
    Events are difficult, always remember that. Last year in BUCK’s absence we saw two events emerge around the Manchester area. Both didn’t have much thought put into them and both went awfully wrong. With one of the events in particular being suddenly cancelled and it’s organiser refused to refund tickets.

    I fear others may attempt to do the same in 2017, or sometime in the future.

    If you are intending to run an event for the first time, I urge you to seek advice from people, such as myself, or BUCK’s staff. And please, don’t try and run something to the same scale as BUCK, you’ll likely fail.

    Ask yourself this. Can you afford all the expenses yourself if something goes wrong? Can you be sure to honour ALL commitments and to ensure that attendee money is safe? There’s a lot of commitments when running an event. Venue costs, equipment costs, admin costs, guest costs and a whole lot more.

    Back when I started BronyScot, myself and the other founders carefully worked out how much money it would cost to run the event. And we made sure that we could personally pay for any debts incurred from any issues that may have happened along the way. We were also very careful to never agree to anything we couldn’t be sure we could afford. We never promised anything that was too good to be true. We were honest and transparent, realistic and level headed with what we could and couldn’t do. And with a whole lot of hard work, we’ve ran two successful events and are onto our 3rd this year.

    BronyScot is a whole lot of hard work for myself and the team. And we’re tiny compared to BUCK. Our budget is roughly £5000/year and our attendance is 200. BUCK’s budget is well over £100,000 and they get 1400+ attendees. That should speak volumes.

    Running an event is a risk and you have to be prepared for anything. (that’s why we have insurance as well!)

    Attendees! When looking for events after BUCK, be sure to make informed decisions.
    There’s UK Pony Con which as been running successfully for over 10 yearshttp://ukponycon.co.uk/
    BronyScot of course which is now into it’s 3rd year http://www.brony.scot/

    Also remember to check for the EPCU logo, this is a seal of quality for European brony conventions and shows that an event has ran successfully to a high standard. More info can be found here: http://ponycon.org/

    I don’t want to discourage others from running events, I love events and always like to see what this fandom can bring to the table. But I feel this must be said after what happened last year. The community deserves to be kept safe from incompetent, misguided and untrustworthy individuals.

    BUCK is a fantastic event, and I am sure it’ll be going out with a bang this April. I hope to see you all there and at other events in the future. To you all, be safe!
     
  3. Cloudane

    Cloudane Element of Mostly Excessive Verbosity

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    Sad to see it go and particularly that it's seen somewhat as a lack of support. I think it's of no lack of desire to support it but shallow pockets may have something to do with it... it's not been an easy decade for anyone financially really. I've had to sacrifice other possible events myself to afford to attend BUCK (and Bronyscot but that's smaller and easier) :p With the possibility FiM could end next year (just a theory with the movie and such though, who knows it might go on for decades!) it's going to be harder to get people to justify huge events like this without new source material to build on.

    There's also always been something of a "student fad aspect" to a lot of the "noise" about MLP hence the super high energy party-to-the-max atmosphere around it and that's definitely quietened down outside of forums like this. These things do that - I believe these days the term is "dank meme" :)
    That said, I thought BUCK14 would've been quieter and it was bigger than ever! Hopefully BUCK16 will beat it yet again and prove that there's still plenty of love for all this, even if it's the last.

    Worst case there will always be people who love it and always be smaller cons and meets like BronyScot I think, but maybe the massive all-out balls-to-the-wall partying... maybe that's seen its time. Or rather, will have seen its time - the biggest is still to come ;)
    It's been an awesome time, thanks so much for doing BUCK and giving us memories that will surely last a lifetime!
     
    #3 Cloudane, 9 February 2016
    Last edited: 9 February 2016
  4. FlareWing

    FlareWing MC Pinkie

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    Its sad to hear its your last year but I been to BUCK since 2013 and I enjoyed every moment of it and am sure 2016 is going to be something to always remember. All the staff that make BUCK a sucesses deserve so much praise for there hard work. I make sure to enjoy as much as I can this year.
     
  5. Irregular Apocalypse

    Irregular Apocalypse Follo teh oranj hoers ...

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    I've organised events in the past, albeit on a much, much smaller scale, and even then it's hard, nerve-shredding and often unrewarding work - and Murphy's Law often applies big time.
    I can't comment about previous BUCKs because I've never been (this year will be the first - fortuitously enough) but I have a fair idea where the organisers are coming from and I know how hard it can be to make decisions like this.

    Even so, judging on what people have said about past events BUCK will be a hard act to follow and the organisers can justifiably feel proud of themselves.

    Personally, I think they deserve medals the size of dustbin lids for giving up so much of their time, money and sanity to make it all happen.
     
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  6. Eunos the Fool

    Eunos the Fool Proud Hater of Sparity

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    Whilst sad to hear this will be the last one, I understand there comes a point where you have to say enough is enough.

    As much as I hate to admit it the fandom isn't quite as strong as it was 3-4 Years ago but it still has it's loyal followers.

    I attended Buck for the first time in 2014 and I loved it and there was no way I was going to miss this one.

    Between this and Galacon in Germany I have grown the bug to go to conventions, Unfortunately my Work schedule doesn't give me the time I would like to do so.

    None the less if this is indeed the last BUCK than let's go out in Style.

    I'm sure it will be just as if not better than the last :)
     
  7. Spear

    Spear Honorary Pony

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    If you thinking going to Cons is a bug you should trying volunteering for some in the future, you get seriously hooked. I know so many people who started volunteering for summer in the city or Insomnia and so on and now just want to work at loads haha
     
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  8. Bridle Timeout

    Bridle Timeout I Love Twilight Sparkle

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    I'm very sad to see BUCK go. I'm very on the fence about going this year, but that's simply because the timing isn't very good for me. BUCK 2014 was one of the very best conventions (of any type) that I've been to, and I've been to quite a few!

    If this is to be the last one, I really would like to go. Maybe I'll be able to, and maybe I won't.

    Either way, best of luck to all of you with your future endeavors. :)
     
  9. Cendaquenta

    Cendaquenta she / they

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    Rest in peace BUCK, we'll miss you. :( Both times I've attended the con, 2013 and 2014, were some of the most amazing experiences of my life and while I have been to other pony cons none have been as well-organized (well, barring a few minor blips) or as much pure fun. *cue army of Pinkies* Will definitely have to come to BUCK16 now, and I hope this time will be just as magic. :D
     
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  10. CuldeeFell

    CuldeeFell Ponies Rock

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    This is bittersweet news really.

    I completely understand and respect why you won't be doing any more after this one. MLP has definitely lost that veneer of excitement and newness that it had three or four years ago when "Bronies" were a new thing and you had newspaper articles explaining who bronies were and what the "Brony" phenomenon was. BUCK as a large-scale event grew out of that phenomenon. Bronies are no longer a phenomenon now; MLP is less of a talking point, and the fanbase is full of people who are in it for the long run rather than people who are excited by something new. Now most fans have been fans for a few years already (although there are new fans all the time of course) the fanbase has shifted. It's sad, but, if it's no longer new and exciting, I can see why there's less enthusiasm for BUCK.
     
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  11. Robshi

    Robshi Young Dragon

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    Aw, I'm really sad to hear BUCK is coming to an end. I really enjoyed the 2014 convention and it was one of the most fun times I've ever had. It's also making me really bad that I likely won't be able to make this last convention as it is timed rather badly for me.

    That said, I did really enjoy BronyScot last year, and I find that despite it being a much smaller convention it did have a lot of things that made BUCK fun for me. So whilst BUCK will be gone, pony conventions will likely continue for a long while yet. I'm just glad I managed to make one whilst I could!
     
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  12. Loganberry

    Loganberry Element of Custard

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    End of an era indeed. But rather than feeling sad because the end is nigh, perhaps we should rather feel impressed by the fact that the BUCK team did it at all. They went up against a pretty hostile environment for hosting a con like this, and they made it work. Repeatedly. That's worthy of great respect, and not a little awe. Thank you, guys. You've done wonders.

    Picture yourself years down the line. Maybe you'll have long left the pony fandom behind by then -- but I strongly suspect you'll always remember your visit(s) to BUCK. That will always be an aspect of your life that will mean something special. Maybe for the friends you made, the fun you had, whatever. But BUCK will stay with you, I'm sure.

    And for everyone who's never been to BUCK, but may be able to attend this year: do it. You don't want to go into that future I mentioned never having known what BUCK was really like, do you? This fandom has always been pretty good at making finales memorable. Get out there and make this finale special, too.
     
  13. UmbraFlare

    UmbraFlare Starship captain extraordinaire

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    I'm sad to hear it's stopping, was hoping to add it to my list of yearly conventions to attend :( but I can see where you're coming from and I'm glad you're still putting in lots of effort for this last one ^_^ so glad I got a ticket to vend, would have been so annoyed to miss it!!

    Good luck with future projects :D
     
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  14. Mark Hyder

    Mark Hyder I be in a short doc based on bronies in the UK

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    There not many MLP con left in the UK.
     
  15. crystella3333

    crystella3333 Active Pony

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    Sorry to hear that this is going to be the last one but a massive thank you for taking the time to do this out of your free time. The challenge and momentum to keep the ball rolling on the scale BUCK does is a full time job I imagine, plus its not something that is done that often in the UK (conventions that is).

    This too is my first year vending and I'm gutted that its going to be the last one :( but excited I managed to get to one at least. :p

    No, but that means that we just have to keep on showing them how much we want them to happen! :D:D:D
     
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  16. Stik

    Stik Fearsome Dragon

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    Sad to hear it's going, of course, but it's definitely the better end, out with a pop instead of a fizzle. We'll just have to turn our attentions to the European events in 2017 :)
     
  17. BT_Blueshift

    BT_Blueshift Lives for the night

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    This made me wonder, would it be possible to get a financial breakdown for BUCK after the event (as BronyScot has done in the past)? And what influenced the decision to take the convention to EventCity, the second largest venue in the UK? I know Manchester Central wasn't available that weekend because of a Muse concert, were there no other venue options?

    Gutted to hear this will be the last BUCK. My group of friends have fond memories there. One less excuse for a party weekend in Manchester :(
     
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  18. remnants

    remnants Pony

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    Wow, I was mulling over if I could afford it when I bought the tickets, I am so glad that I did if this is going to be BUCK's swan song.
     
  19. Recurrent Trotting

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    woo been meaning to buy a ticket to this for ages and this announcement meant I finally committed :D go BUCK! you go out with a bang/ You shall always be my favorite large gathering of British fans of sparkly horsies.

    it is a shame that it seems we won't have a big British convention after this to fill BUCK's boots, but if cons like Bronyscot are about to fill the void then I'm happy :3 (and then I have an excuse to go to America/EU :p )

    about fandom - for me personally MLP is still as attractive as ever (kind of scary after 3 years) and not much has changed for me, but I've never been a scene brony :p the idea that I'd ever attend a con for anything is madness... but then I went to Bronyscot and now I've booked BUCK. Anyway if the scene is quietening down then I bet its a while before a thing as big and silly as MLP was at its hayday comes along.
     
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  20. Mavromichali

    Mavromichali BUCK 2016 & BUCK LDN

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    When you're dealing in large scale events a lot of things are bound by contract, and thus we can't share those costs in a breakdown, other than as rough estimations.

    However I will say that the move from Manchester Central to EventCity was purely down to price. EventCity not being as well known yet and eager for some new business offered a quote that was £20,000 cheaper. That perhaps gives an idea of the scale of the numbers we have to work with for venue hire in the UK.
     
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