31 Jan 2014

The Actual Reason I'm Not Attending Starfury: Elementary

If my title caught your attention, you are likely to belong to one of two groups. Either you're a disgruntled Sherlock-fan looking more reasons to be outraged about this event. Maybe you read this article in the Birmingham mail, or maybe you helped fuel it, who knows? Or I caught your attention, because you're a Starfury regular, who cannot believe I'm about to throw more kindling into the fire. If you're in the first group, it's you I'm looking to address. If you're in the second, then guys, you really ought to know me better by now.

My reason is simple and rather justified at that; I'm not a Sherlock fan. I mean, I occasionally watch it and it's enjoyable enough, but I'm just not all that passionate about it, hence my decision not to attend a convention for it. It's absolutely not because of the price tag, which I actually find very reasonable. I've attended a myriad of other Starfury conventions for shows that I am passionate about, like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Doctor Who and so forth bearing that exact same price tag.

It peeves me somewhat how the poorly researched article linked above sensationalize the price tag. Firstly they use the price for the Gold Pass for the article title and tag line, giving fans the erroneous impression that this is the amount they have to pay in order to enjoy the event or meet the guests. It's not. Getting the Gold Pass is a choice, not a necessity. Yes, they do mention within the article how much the regular weekend pass is, and vaguely sum up what they've read off the convention website. I say vaguely, because nowhere do they mention that both the regular and gold pass include autographs from each of the guests. It is merely implied.

Because the £90 price tag of the regular weekend pass actually covers the entire three day experience, includes autographs from every headline guests (read: other guests as well as Benedict himself), entry to all guest talks, opening/closing ceremonies, a fancy dress competition judged by the guests, not to mention a party - complete with a DJ - each of those three nights lasting from the early evening until well into the night. You usually pay that and more a night to merely be allowed a bed to sleep in (room quality not guaranteed).

The quoted Gold pass £160 price tag covers all that, and also guarantees an included autograph also from any bonus guests, a meet'n greet session taking place Friday night where the fans with gold passes get to spend some time talking with each of the guests (or at least the guests present on Friday night), and the first four rows for the guest panels are reserved for gold pass holders, so you are guaranteed a better seat, which again gives you a better view of the guests as well as the opportunity to take pictures at a closer range. And I stress that going gold is a choice. If you don't think it's worth it, then don't buy it.

If you still are outraged at the price, let me just point out that had Benedict appeared at a signing event, akin to Collectormania or LFCC (and let it be known that I have nothing against Collectormania, LFCC or any other signing events, and attend them myself, when I have the opportunity), not only would his autograph likely to be twice the price (or more), his photo ops would be as well, there would also be a charge to attend his panel. But more important than the money factor, not only would you have to show up extra early to be guaranteed a spot in his queue, you would also barely get any face time with him, as he'd be swamped with the long line of people wanting to meet him and be completely pressed for time. So even if he was all you wanted to see, you'd end up shelling out nearly the same amount of money (day entry £5-10, autograph £35-40, panel entry £15-20, photo ops £35-40) for merely a fraction of the experience.

And if you are completely new to the convention scene in general and have no means of knowing what is and what isn't realistic in terms of price and what you get for it, then ask yourself how much you're willing to pay for a concert, or catching a play, or attending a football match or some other sports game - all of which last a couple of hours tops - and ask yourself how much it would cost you if you were to get three full days worth of it.

So yeah, I may not be attending this particular event, but it has nothing to do with the price. I'm paying the exact same price to attend a Doctor Who-themed event later this year, and I honestly cannot wait. I've been a regular Starfury attendee for 10 years, and have been to 20 of their events and will continue to attend in the future. They've proven to be a reliable company, capable of finding replacement guests in the event of cancellation, even managing to pull some spectacular last minute strings due to stellar relationship with former guests. I always know I'm going to have a great time, regardless what happens to the line-up.


  1. You have said this so much better than I could. Starfury events are great value.

    1. Thanks, hon :) I was just so annoyed with all the controversy lately (despite not counting myself part of the Sherlock fandom) and needed to say my piece.