Chairman's Report from SMOFcon 29

Let me take the opportunity, as we archive the SMOFcon 29 website to with thanks to Laurie Mann and James Shields, to round-out the site with a final chair's report and thanks to all who helped.

The Amsterdam SMOFcon started life as an idea in the period following the Glasgow Worldcon in 2005. A number of us were keen to build on the energy of fans across Europe, and bringing SMOFcon to The Netherlands would offer the chance to exchange experience and ideas with many fans from the rest of the World. After announcing the idea and eventually settling on 2011 as the ideal year - well in advance of the 2014 London Worldcon bid, and the tenth anniversary of the York SMOFcon - Paul van Oven and I started looking for sites and we were surprised to find a suitable hotel in the most central of locations in Amsterdam, next to the main railway station, and in fact the hotel we had used as our initial meeting place to discuss the con. I was delighted with the level of support we got at the bidding session and in the end we had 110 attendees at the convention, out of 130 advanced registrations, representing over a dozen nationalities. The convention itself largely ran smoothly, breaking even financially, and with a very high level of participation, mixing nationalities, age groups and levels of conrunning experience, and generating activity which lasted long afterwards. I recall particularly the hilarious Mariehamn in 2016 presentation by Eemeli Aro, which was the spark for the eventually successful Helsinki Worldcon bid.

I will close by hoping that SMOFcon will return to this side of the Atlantic again. 

A few final words of thanks:

  • To all of Dutch fandom, and in particular the Dutch National SF Society, NCSF and Katcon which moved it's date to accommodate the SMOFcon. 
  • To our predecessors, the committee of SMOFcon 28, especially Glenn Glazer, for their support and pass-along funds.
  • To our 'official opposition' the Hawaii SMOFcon bid, led by James Daugherty and the sadly missed Kathryn Daugherty.
  • To those who kindly sponsored the catering over the weekend: Chicon 7, Lonestarcon 3, and the London in 2014 and Spokane in 2015 bids. This was very helpful indeed to making the convention a more congenial and hospitable space.
  • To Barbara & Ray VanTilburg of OffworldDesigns for the convention T-shirts including the terrific logo!  See:
  • To the management and staff of our hosts at the Park Plaza Victoria Hotel, Amsterdam.
  • To CanSMOF for providing scholarships to support two fans to attend and participate, Catherine Crockett and Megan Totusek.
  • To Alexander den Olden for audiovisual services.
  • To all the attendees and programme participants for their energy, and especially to Colin Harris for his work on the Marketing Masterclass, Deb Geisler, TR, Stephen Boucher, Mike Scott and Flick for running the Fannish Inquisitions, and Mark Meenan who ably impersonated Sinterklas!


And last but not least to the hardworking committee:

  • Paul van Oven, who co-founded the con, found the hotel, managed memberships and was liaison to NCSF.
  • Margaret Austin and Martin Easterbrook who ably developed and ran the programme.
  • Spike who was North American Agent and handled publications.
  • James Shields who created and ran the website.
  • Janice Gelb who provided much appreciated advice and support on many things.
  • Steve Cooper our UK agent and liaison with the London 2014 bid and the ConRunner conventions in the UK.

Vincent Docherty, Chair, SMOFcon 29