Jefferey Lee Contrersas (S.O.M.A.--Society of Magical Artists) announced yesterday that the Fourth Western Mystery Conference has been cancelled.
And I wish that I could say that it was a big surprise; but last month based on things I heard though back channels, I suspected that it was going to have to be cancelled. Quite simply, there were not enough ticket sales to pull it off.
Unfortunately, Contrersas sunk a lot of money into this project, going into debt to try to make it happen. And he might still be on the hook for even more money---the venue is going to charge him an extra twenty-five percent on top of the deposit that Contrersas had already gave them, if they can't find someone else to rent out the building for that weekend. Every dime that Contrersas took in from ticket sales went towards the non-refundable deposit on the venue. And yes, that means that ticket refunds are going to take some time to occur.
(Plus, a lot of attendees are going to be out hotel deposits and plane ticket fares.)
[Update 2015.10.22: A follow-up post concerning a donation page to help with ticket refunds.]
And now, that I relayed the news, it is time for Mad Uncle Morgan's soapbox.
Please note that I am not talking to those who buy tickets to such events, or who actually buy occult books, or pay lodge dues. I am just talking to the whiners who want to see these things done for free or dirt cheap.
For those people who complain that there are not enough magic and occult conventions, this is why there are so few. You all want them, but a high percentage of you are unwilling to pay for them (and ticket sales is how these events get funded...well, outside of the massive money sunk that the organizers suffer). And yes, it boils my blood when I encounter someone who argues that there should be no cost for attending such events (because that monetary burden should not be dumped on the people who spend their time and energy organizing such events).
It is a lot of work to put on such an event, and it requires a massive budget and bankroll to pull events off.
If you want events, you have to be willing to buy tickets to such events. You also need to spread the word about such events. These events don't just magically happen.
And while I am at it, the same goes for occult books. I just loathe those people who think that occult writers should write and distribute occult books for free. No. No. No. It is an insult to occult writers to expect them to give up time, energy, and personal experience to feed your need for occult books, and to do it all for free. If you want new occult books, you need to accept the fact that writers need to be paid for their hard work.
Same goes for working Orders. Running an occult Order is hard work, robs one of personal and magical time, and is a pain in the ass. Yes, there are a few crooks out there (which some of you have no problem giving money to---is it you paying for the sizzle, and not the steak?). But most Orders are operating at a loss.
Oh, there is no local magical lodge. Are you willing to pay for one to exist? Oh no! That's why there ain't one in your neighborhood.
I don't care how much you do not like it---money makes the wheels go round. Remember that the next time, you want one of the leaders in the occult community to do something for free.