In the melee regarding events being pulled across the summer calendar and beyond there were two notable hold-outs. The Cannes Film Festival and the San Diego Comic Con were resolutely waiting to make any announcements and looking for a way to go forward with their prestigious annual events. Cannes originally postponed their May event until late June but admitted this week there’s little chance of that happening either. Now, a day after President Trump announced initiatives to try and get America back to work and various states pushed back due to ongoing health concerns and uncertainties, the SDCC formally announced that they see no other choice but to cancel their event due to the extreme circumstances set by the coronavirus.
In a statement on the official site, the organisers stated they felt they had to take the decision now…
For the first time in its 50-year history San Diego Comic Convention (SDCC), the organizers behind the annual pop culture celebration, announced today with deep regret that there will be no Comic-Con in 2020. The event will instead return to the San Diego Convention Center from July 22-25, 2021.
Recognizing that countless attendees save and plan for its conventions each year, and how many exhibitors and stakeholders rely upon its events for a major portion of their livelihood, they had hoped to delay this decision in anticipation that COVID-19 concerns might lessen by summer. Continuous monitoring of health advisories and recent statements by the Governor of California have made it clear that it would not be safe to move forward with plans for this year.
Similarly, WonderCon Anaheim, which was to have been held April 10-12, 2020 will return to the Anaheim Convention Center from March 26-28, 2021.
In addition to their conventions, Comic-Con has been planning a major renovation of Balboa Park’s Federal Building to be completed for the grand opening of the Comic-Con Museum in the summer of 2021. However, the COVID-19 situation has had an effect on those efforts as well. As such, they will be rephasing the Museum’s initially planned major renovations, but will not scale back the experience to be offered to visitors upon the Museum’s grand opening. They anticipate releasing building plans illustrating the Museum’s transformation and sharing more information about those efforts in the coming months.
SDCC also announced that individuals who purchased badges for Comic-Con 2020 will have the option to request a refund or transfer their badges to Comic-Con 2021. All 2020 badge holders will receive an email within the next week with instructions on how to request a refund. Exhibitors for Comic-Con 2020 will also have the option to request a refund or transfer their payments to Comic-Con 2021 and will also receive an email within the next week with instructions on how to process their request.
In the next few days onPeak, Comic-Con’s official hotel affiliate, will be canceling all hotel reservations and refunding all deposits made through them. There is no need for anyone who booked through onPeak to take any action, including trying to cancel their reservations online or contacting the company via phone as the process will be handled automatically. Those who booked rooms through onPeak will be notified when refunds have been completed.
“Extraordinary times require extraordinary measures and while we are saddened to take this action, we know it is the right decision,” said David Glanzer, spokesperson for the organization. “We eagerly look forward to the time when we can all meet again and share in the community we all love and enjoy.”
The decision was not an easy one. However inevitable it has been, given the health concerns of having thousands of people in one building, the convention attracts a lot of wider business to the area and there will be local businesses affected. Attendees and merchants may find themselves out of pocket either way – with costs to their merchandise, their privately-sorted accommodation or travel expenses. But with the comics world on hold – most of the major publishers are unable to distribute their completed magazines and actively asking their creators to press the pause button, though hoping to get schedules sorted in the next few months – and with no films on general release (which have become a major part of the weekend event), the inability to have product or audience was a fatal collision.