AdventureX 2018 costs £40 to attend

or, at least, £20 for KS supporters.

Sounds like a lot of money for a ticket. If this is non-profit, someone’s making a lot in costs.

What gives?

I haven’t looked at their budget, of course, but this does not sound at all unreasonable to me, for a multi-day conference held in central London. Speaker and venue costs could very easily account for that,** especially if they expect many of the people attending to have a cheaper kickstarter or concession ticket. And, as they say, last year they ran an event without ticketing and it was not ideal: lots of people got turned away at the door after having traveled to be there.

**I’ve been organizing events in this general vicinity for a couple of years now. I’ve taken several approaches to this, with donated or paid-for venues, volunteer or paid speakers, etc., but unless I’ve lucked into completely donated space and labor, about 5 pounds a head has typically been the cheapest I can make it run, and that’s for an event of a couple of hours without any printed goods and a minimum of supplied food/drink.

People were turned away last year because there was no in advance booking system. They could run 2018 at the same venue and either have people register in advance or charge a much more moderate entry fee than they’re now asking.

Sunday last year wasn’t nearly as busy, so a booking system would mean that more people would be allocated a Sunday slot and people wouldn’t be travelling there just to be turned away on the Saturday.

I’m not against a reasonable ticket fee as I understand there are necessary costs, but this year’s price seems a bit rich.

So how much are they paying speakers?

People were turned away because the venue had a limited capacity. The lack of a booking system meant people were turned away at the door, which sucked – but no pre-booking would have made the venue larger. I am sure that the new larger venue costs money, and I expect that they’ve set the price appropriately.

I’d say £20 (US$27) is reasonable for a smallish player-focused convention of this sort. I expect to pay $40-50 (advance price) for a small SF convention, really.

I should clarify what I mean by this. I’m not talking about a Comic-Con with celebrity actor guests.

I mean an event of 500-1500 people; guests are writers and fans; run by a non-profit; using hotel function space, with an attendance guarantee to the hotel; speakers are not paid (except that the guests of honor probably get comped hotel rooms).

This is not an exact analogy to AdvX, but it seems close.

(Smaller events – 250-ish – can be cheaper, but are not necessarily. Those events can scrounge space for cheap, but may have other fixed costs which bite harder due to the smaller size.)

(I am keenly interested in all of this stuff because we’re still looking at running a Boston IF event in 2019. More news when we have it…)

Yes, I agree. I think it should be £20 maximum.

Hi, I’m one of the organisers I’ll try and address your concerns as best I can here though I understand if you’re not happy about the change. We agonized about this. Sorry this is so long, but I want to try and be as open as possible. I feel we owe it.

- No one is making any money, in the early years I actually put a lot of my own money into the event. We have a non profit bank account and we run it as such.

  • I suspect the no-show rate for free tickets would be very high, we had people pay and not turn up previously. We’ve also had exhibitors ( who get two passes free) and speakers also no-show. We worked out roughly the price per head, then a bit extra. We’d like to try and run the event with seed money for next year. This is something we’ve been advised to do by other event organisers.
    -We’ll put out a chart with our costing when we launch the KS I hope that’ll explain our reasoning in more detail.
  • We were moving toward the end of our time with Goldsmiths we got the venue at a discounted rate due to one of the organiser studying there. After the capacity issues and the technical fault. Our lecture theatre shorted out during the first talk, and they refused to send anyone to fix it. The only reason we could run at all was because they left another theatre unlocked which we then invaded. We decided to look elsewhere. The British library offered us space with almost twice the capacity.
  • The only reason it had free entry previously was because many people paid over the cost per head during the Kickstarter effectively funding others. Many of these folks didn’t even attend themselves.
  • We suspect most people will pay £20-£30 via the Kickstarter. We need to make some tickets available via the British Library so we decided those would act as ‘slacker backers’ which as traditional with Kickstarters are more. We have of course made sure concessions aren’t hit by this. I believe if we took all the tickets we have reserved for the KS backer, speakers and exhibitors we pretty much hit the number of people who attended last year. So if everyone who came last year wanted to come again and backed the KS they’d pay at most £30 or less if they are a concession or get the £20 early bird.
  • Last year speaker costs went up as we paid for travel ( if people asked), food and yes for some speakers hotel rooms. Ideally we’d like to provide more and continue working on improving diversity of speakers. I should note that all the speakers from overseas funded their own travel and we’d again like more funds so we can invite overseas speakers who may not have the resources to travel. We also were able to pay for food for the volunteers which led to a significant rise in volunteers. ( some years it’s literally been 3 of us running the entire event with no breaks).
  • If you add volunteers, speakers, and exhibitors together that’s around 80 people not paying ( as they are contributing to the event). On top of this we’ve also reserved some tickets which we are looking to give away free to marginalized creators ( we have some groups in mind if you know of any groups you think would like tickets please DM me or email us on the website). In addition as has been mentioned we have concession tickets which are £6 for a day pass or £10 for a weekend.
  • Everything costs more than you’d expect some costs we incurred which aren’t obvious. i’m sure I’m forgetting things. e.g
    • Artist commission fee for art Kickstarter rewards and branding.
    • Backer rewards
    • Kickstarter fee.
    • Wristbands
    • Deposit for the pub afterwards for both nights. If you think this seems like an extravagance ask people what the Friday night which we tend not to organise is like!
    • Printing banners/signs.
    • Any AV equipment rental or purchase.
    • Promo costs ( flyers,
    • Entertainment
  • We also have to budget assuming we don’t fill the venue, because every survey or free prebooking system we’ve used is unreliable.
  • Capacity is about 400.

As for Sci-fi cons, I suspect publishers sponsor guests? Our price is comparable to UK anime cons which only tend to have a max 3 special guests and are run outside of London All the rest of the events at those cons are run by attendees. I ran panels at those cons for many years and the most I get is £5-£10 off my ticket! I’d genuinely like to see how they manage to run at those costs!

I am fully prepared to admit we may have gotten this wrong, and totally understand if this is off-putting for you. I’m still looking into streaming/filming talks again this year, so I hope if you decide we’re no longer an event you’d like to support you can still see the speaker’s talks.

Again I’d like to repeat we are not for profit, would you consider at least removing the quotes from the post title? I totally get you have questions but you could have e-mailed or talked to us directly to ask them rather than post here, with the implication we’re misleading people. It’s fine to say if you think we’re overcharging but we’re not pocketing any money here.

I hope this explains our stance somewhat, any further questions I’d be glad to respond. I’ll post up the pie chart when we have that ready.

Hi @Azure, thanks for your detailed information.

I changed the title as requested; I don’t wish to cast aspersions on the organisers nor to appear negative about the Expo because i think it’s a really good event.

Please do follow up with more info and breakdown when you can. Also, if possible, consider rethinking the price structure; £20 seems fair to me. For example, if i had to pay £40, i would not attend, i can’t justify that cost. I realise there is a discount for KS backers but as yet we don’t know the minimum KS pledge.

Best of luck with the event.

The £20 KS pledge would be for a weekend pass. Thank you so much for editing the post. I’ll be back with more details when we can share them.

FWIW i think you’re running your expo business the wrong way round;

You should be charging the exhibitors, who are there to showcase and promote their commercial products rather than have the attendees bear all costs.

The opportunity for organisations to advertise their products has value that you’re not extracting (except possibly through KS pledges).

Generally, trade shows are free after registering and allow access to the expo floor, but also have a paid ticket tier which grants access to talks and events. I assume the model is that exhibitors cover venue costs and paid tier tickets cover speaker costs, or something similar.

My assumption would be that as AventureX scales up, it would eventually have to adopt a similar model.

We wouldn’t consider ourselves a trade show. We are open to both professional and non-profit/freeware creators. I’d consider it a curated exhibition. I wouldn’t even know how much to charge a freeware twine author to exhibit for example? Generally the few times a narrative game from a bigger dev or publisher has exhibited they offered to sponsor.

We don’t have a formal mission statement but our motivation is to bring people from all backgrounds together to share their love and knowledge of storytelling in games. A person making games in their spare time has as much right to attend as a full time pro dev whose company paid them to attend. Generally those most in need don’t always ask, and those in more secure position don’t always realise that’s where they are. We’d like both kinds of people there, not only because it makes a more interesting event…but because those secure full time devs can often open up paths for the ‘spare time’ folks looking to move into games full time. It does however make pricing difficult.
We would still have to ticket the expo hall as numbers are limited by fire safety. I would also not like to divide ticket types, as I said the point of the event is to get people talking to each other from different areas from fans, to devs ( both pro and hobby). I totally get what you’re saying though it’s something we considered, we’re keeping tabs on everything folks are saying to us and I’ve made sure to raise this thread with the other organisers.

You’re also right that this is a scaling up issue. TBH I think we’re hitting the limits of what we can run. I would like to see more events run of different scales in different countries. So again sorry if anything we do seems weird or offputting to you. What we’re trying to do is scale up without loosing ourselves. We’ll always listen and we’re happy to share what we’ve learnt with the community.

I’m pleased at the venue change and not overly put out by the ticketing.

I would think that most of the interested people who come year on year would be organised enough to buy the cheaper early ticket and consider it a fair trade off for avoiding the risk of being turned away at the door. If I wasn’t assisting an exhibitor, I wouldn’t have been able to get in on the Saturday last year (and indeed I felt rude for taking that opportunity when others couldn’t get in).

Not for the cons I attend. These are fannish endeavors.

I think there’s general business sponsorship, of the “put an ad the program book” variety. Publishers and local SF stores buy those. But it’s not the kind of industry show where the price is set by what companies are willing to budget. Most people go on their own nickel.

I too appreciate the detailed breakdown. Thanks!

Thanks, Azure.
£20 early on will work for me (I have to get to London anyway so it’s a drop in the… five drops or so) and I’m glad there are concessions. Also the British Library will be a lot handier for the Tube/Boris bikes.

The Kickstarter will launch midday GMT tomorrow. We’ll tweet when we go live … convention now live.

Well, whad’ya know, all the “early bird” £20 tickets are sold out already. within just one day.

I made sure to post here first both in advance and when I went live. It’s worth noting that the tier above is only £10 more and comes with a Steam code, journal and pin badge. Please also remember that we’ll be selling some tickets through the British library which will be available at the following prices:

British Library Box Office (available from August)
Adult Weekend Pass: £40
Adult Day Pass: £25
Concession Weekend Pass: £10
Concession Day Pass: £6

I will once again emphasise no one is profiting off this event.

You’ve covered all your costs with KS in under 24 hours. after that it’s profit, no?