Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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« How can I get the most out of a filk convention? | Main | I'm going to my first OVFF! Any tips? »

What are the differences between the different filk conventions?

I've found filk conventions have different personalities, usually based on the people running the convention as well as regional differences. GAfilk, for example, is more of a "relaxacon" than other conventions, where the emphasis tends to be more on hanging out and socializing rather than intensive programming, and only a few concerts. OVFF usually has several tracks of programming at once, including workshops and many concerts throughout the weekend. I enjoy both types of conventions. :-)

What do YOU like about different filk conventions? Please focus on positive rather than negative; this is NOT an invitation to list pet peeves and complaints. What appeals to one person about a particular convention may not appeal to someone else. I reserve the right to remove any post that I consider inflammatory or negative. The purpose of this FAQ answer is to help promote the best aspects of each convention as well as explain some of the regional differences between conventions.

From Heather Borean (Jan.14/2005):

"It's funny, the FKO con-com had this conversation two or three con com meetings ago. We talked about the different atmosphere's at different cons, and we talked about FKO's atmosphere. We were wondering if we needed to change anything, or if perhaps for now we had the mix right. After FilKONtario (no number) someone said in Tapa (a since folded Apa) "Heather Borean threw a party for 87 of her closest friends over the weekend" We wanted a con where people would relax and have fun, but where they could enjoy some good music as well. Picking up some new hints ws a nice idea as well. Now personally I like the idea that Bill had with GaFilk, a relax-a-con. Someday I'll get to Atlanta and see if it feels like what I think it feels like. I'm not sure that any of that made sense, but basically, each con has it's own flavour, this is good, every one needs different things at different cons. Personally I like FKO's flavour, (but I might be biased.) I've sampled OVFF and Consonance and the east coast. I like them, and would love to keep experiencing them. And someday I'll taste a British or German filk con flavour."

From Sherman Dorn (Jan.14/2005):

"Let me start with a con that's no longer around: Musicon (Nashville, 1992-96) had the best darned consweet I've ever seen, bar none. It had a clever way to designate "concom member on call" (the red tunic), and it was my first filkcon. It was also the first Southern filkcon.

Gafilk is just a great relaxacon and my regional filk home.

OVFF is the Consumer Electronics Show of filkcons. Big. Impressive. It is the place you are most likely to think, "I didn't know someone could do this!" I met Daniel Glasser's Succubus there.

Consonance is the gathering filkcon for the west coast and the most likely place to see people who live from the SF Bay Area north to Vancouver."

From Mary (Jan.16/2005):

"OVFF: I like the fact that it has a lot of workshops. Wish I had the time to attend them. Hazards of helping to run the con.

GAFilk: Love the room to filker ratio. Lots of filk space, and the circles are small enough that people don't have to be competitive in order to get a chance to sing.

FKO: I really like the fact that you can usually find a filk room empty. People tend to cluster because the big room is plenty big, and there's a second really fairly big room (with a cool design to boot!), so the third filk room is open for random stuff, like voice lessons or a few people trading songs.

I've only been to the other filk cons a maximum of once, and all of those pretty long ago now - about 7-8 years, in fact. Thus, no clear memory about what's really good about those cons in particular. (Though the one in Van Nuys had a *really* pretty hotel when I was there....)"

From Zander (Jan.16/2006):

"I like the British filkcon because it's in Britain. Easier to get to.:)

FilkContinental has a wonderful relaxed atmosphere (which takes a lot of work from the concom and others) and man, that scenery!!!

OVFF 1993 was amazing, but a very long time ago, so see braider's post. Marcon 2000 was awesome but not strictly a filk con."

From Gary McGath:

"Re FilkContinental: Definitely. What other con takes place in a real castle?

I've only been to one Consonance, but the fannish musical was a definite feature, and I understand they at least try to make that a regular feature.

OVFF: The sheer quantity of music. Intimidating at times, but I like it."

From Margaret Middleton:

"GaFilk is the only specifically filk convention that I attend regularly. I've been to a couple of OVFF's recently, and one waaay-back (about #2 or 3, istr) and haven't been to a west coast filk con since Bayfilk I. So I don't have a large basis of comparison.

I definitely like the relaxacon atmosphere of GaFilk.
I like the nutritious consuite food offerings (the eating of which for most of the rest of the convention makes it possible for me to afford the banquet ticket price).
I LOOOVE the jazz band at the Banquet."

From 'JalapenoMan':

"Well, I attended GAfilk for the first time this year, but I have been going to OVFF for um, 10 years or more now. I like both approches. I finally did attend a banquet diner at GAfilk, and they do know how to do a good house band (almost the only reason I went - I am not very comfortable dancing). I realize that OVFF has the awards to hand out, but a small dinner entertainment might draw more to the banquet. Unfortunately, I think that would draw out the OVFF banquet into an even longer event, not necessarily a good thing.
The best thing is making sure there is a solid, interesting programing at the con to keep people interested and entertained. Personally, I look at a filk con registration (and hotel if out of the area) as a multiple concert ticket. Not only do I get to listen to the known people in filk, but I also get to hear the late night sharing from everyone. I that vein, I think that asking a "Big Name Filker" to hit some of the alternate rooms to get more variety going in open filks is a good thing. It happens informally now, but I think that would make the cons more interesting, and make it easier to get a first time con-goer interested in the overall idea of filk.
Wow, I didn't expect to write so much...."

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