My biggest reason for attending a convention, any convention be it "Furry," sci-fi, fantasy or other is the socialization aspect it presents to me. I normally avoid socializing in large crowds because I detest crowds, but I realize that for some people and events you just have to make a compromise or two in order to get what you want. For me a con is really just a noisy, busy backdrop to a chance for me to see folks I haven't seen in person in a long time or to meet new folks in person whom I've gotten to know online. I attend very few con functions, since most of what goes on is really not my scene or frequently not what I find interesting (I don't do variety shows, or most panels, for example). So really, what defines if a con is "good" or not to most people has almost zero bearing on me. I find a con enjoyable if I get to meet up with folks and pal around, go out to eat and just in general shoot the breeze.... or if I find some really sweet buts in the dealer's room. ;) Thus if there aren't many folks I know (or desire to get to know) then the con is not fun for me. I'm just weird that way, I guess.
I'd decided a few months ago not to attend this year's Further Confusion, and I reached the decision not because of financial reasons (I could afford it) nor because of work issues (plenty of vacation time is available to me in January, as that's when the new block of time is assigned). No, I opted not to attend because I didn't think many of my friends and associates were going. The Illinois Pack certainly wasn't going, so that was a strike. I of course knew that some folks I'm friends with such as frysco and tuftears would be attending (they live relatively close, so for them attendance is pretty much a given). Since I haven't seen them in over a year and a half that made it a tough enough decision to decline attending (Frysco enjoys tempting me with the lure of tasty chicken), but there just wasn't enough people going to justify it for me. I get enough travel thanks to work that I'll probably catch up with Frysco and some other folks in the next eight or twelve weeks, for example -- so I get to see them for free, practically. I didn't want to chuck out that money and travel all that distance in the hopes of running into folks, I had a sort of "minimum friend density" in mind to justify my tossing all that money into the wind. Once I'm assured of that return on investment, my money is as good as the con's. So I didn't go. The con occurs. The con ends.
Then I find out about six more people I knew and haven't seen in ages went to CA for the con. That's when I started getting cross.
These people are busy or have set schedules, so they don't attend a lot of the cons that I attend (MFF, etc). I can certainly understand, trekking across the country for five or six events in a year is not conducive to having a steady job, nor to monetary affairs (it's hard to make a profit on attending a con as a dealer or artist when you factor in travel, lodging and food costs), so I don't begrudge their lack of attendance at cons where I am. And hey, I'll be the first guy to also understand that the region a con is held in can influence attendance... MFF is a breeze for me because it's in my back yard. FC is a bit of a stretch, being half a continent away from me. But had I simply known some of these people were going it would have added to the desire to attend I already felt knowing folks like Frysco were going to be there, and in no time it would have been more than sufficient to tip the scales and coax me into attending. And I'm sure I would have had fun because some of these people are great to hang around with, let me tell you.
Maybe I'm being childish or overreacting, but I feel a lot like the lone geek in high school who isn't invited to the party that the rest of the student body is attending... and who doesn't find out the entire school went (minus his presence) and had a rioting good time until after the event is over.
I get my kicks above the waistline, sunshine