Small cons are not a bust.
I returned to ConBust this past weekend and it was everything my heart needed. Smaller conventions, especially like ConBust, which is only as large as the tiny college building it occupies, may not be the financial powerhouses of their larger counterparts but there is no substitute for the heart and soul of intimate shows. ConBust is the smallest convention I attend every year, but there are few cons that can match the spirit this little show provides. It’s why I keep going back and will likely continue to do so, even in the face of larger conventions.
There was something magical about this year. I cannot put my finger on it. There was excitement about Star Power. There was an attentiveness and enthusiasm about the panels I participated in (seven over the course of the weekend!), where the audience asked thought-provoking questions and we panelists were challenged to provide equally thoughtful answers. Connections were forged in those classroom panels. Opinions and feelings were shared and respected. A Beowulf scholar encouraged me to “speculate irresponsibly” during one of our panels. These disjointed phrases may seem like nonsense to you, but they are a list of precious memories for me.
If you want an intimacy and connection that would otherwise be lost in the human traffic of a five-figure-attendance crowd, I encourage you to give a smaller convention a try. I would suggest a gem like ConBust.