What happened to Conglomeration 2009 in Louisville …?

December 28, 2008

* See 11/3/09 update below, end of entry.

I have been trying to get information for some time about 2009’s Conglomeration in Louisville.  Their site has been MIA for at least a couple of months, and I can’t find any new information on Conglomeration at all.

Apparently I’m not alone in wondering what the hell is going on.  Simplespace has been hit several times in the past several weeks by using the search term “Conglomeration, Louisville,” from a previous entry.

Does anyone have any information on the future of Conglomeration?  What happened to their website?  Is the convention on, or off?  If on, when is it, and where?

And if it’s off, how do the early attendees get refunds on their already paid memberships to the 2009?

Anyone?  Anyone?

Update 1/8/09:  the Clarion Hotel & Convention Center in Louisville has shut down, apparently leaving Conglomeration without a venue.

My own emails to Conglomeration have bounced back as undeliverable.

In one of the comments below, it’s reported that the Conglomeration’s website was taken down until they can regroup.

If that is true, my response is that I believe it would have made far more sense to simply put a blurb on the website giving that information!   I’m not the only one wondering what the hell is going on. Since the original post,  SimpleSpace is getting several hits a day from searches specifically looking for ‘Conglomeration 2009’ and ‘Conglomeration Louisville.’

Update 3/4/09: Russ comments below that the hotel has reopened under a new name, and that there is a “microscopic ray” of hope  that the convention will go on at some point, though there’s no information about the adjoining convention center where the Con  itself was held.

Perhaps “con” is a more appropriate word than previously imagined. I wanted to put my reply to Russ’s comment up here for those numerous people who continue to hit this entry for information about Conglomeration 2009:

Thanks, Russ. I’m betting the convention is totally kaput, unless they move it to later in the year.

Whatever the case, I continue to hammer on the idea that the organizers SHOULD have put some information on their site instead of taking the site down, and they SHOULD have responded to emails – but instead, those emails bounce back as undeliverable. There are numerous ways in the SF community to get the word out.

And perhaps most importantly, they ** DEFINITELY SHOULD ** refund the money they’ve already gotten from those of us who pre-registered at the 2008 convention for ‘09!!  At this point, with the total lack of information or concern from Conglomeration organizers, I consider myself a victim of theft, and of fraud.

========

Update 3/7/08: I’m copying Russ’s additional comment from below up here — additional troubles for the Conglomeration organizers, but it does explain the disappearance of the website and their lack of communication to some extent:

“Further information passed along to me from a source believed to be authoritative: The 2009 event is cancelled, and a letter with the official details will go out to all those on the con’s mailing list. That’s a *hardcopy* letter, folks. It may be a while before this gets in the mail. Meanwhile, they’re working on getting control of their own domain back, but since the webmaster’s (and thereby the domain registrant’s) email bounces, it’s likely that they’re going to have some significant administrative hassles involved in getting the site back up.”

=======

Update 3/17/09: Official word from ConGlomeration co-chairs here.  Finally.

Update 6/24/09:  Still awaiting our refund requested in mid-March.  You?

Update 8/31/09: A member of Conglomeration responds, gives additional information, and says the convention is on for April 2010.  See the comments.  Still awaiting our refund though.

** Update 11/3/09: After Marsha’s comment here 8/31, an email to the organizers, a promised ‘check in the mail’ that didn’t arrive and a second email to organizers, we finally received a refund.  They are hoping to revive Conglomeration and are sending out flyers and such.  I hope they succeed, but I’m not hopeful.  Too many people have been burned by their dropping out of sight without a word.  It’s going to take them a while to gain trust, I think.


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17 Responses to “What happened to Conglomeration 2009 in Louisville …?”

  1. Donny Rhye Says:

    Pretty sure the hotel is closed.

    • Khozyain Says:

      Thanks for the information, unfortunately previous email to that address has gone unanswered. It doesn’t look good. The Conglomeration website is down, the LiveJournal blog errors out, and nothing has happened in Yahoo Groups since April 2008 – at least the group I belong to. The Clarion Hotel & Convention location has also shut down. I would have hoped that some sort of information would have been forthcoming from the organizers – assuming there ARE organizers.


  2. I have been in contact with one of the con-chairs. The problem is that the convention site, Clarion Hotel and Convention Center, is indeed shut down. I was advised that they shut the website down until they figure out what to do. I will check again with them in late January for progress.

  3. Khozyain Says:

    Interesting. Thanks for the info, Frank.

    Might want to forward the comment that a simple informational note on the website would have made far more sense, and been more comforting to those who have already paid for their memberships to 2009. Dropping totally out of sight doesn’t build confidence. This blog has been getting hit several times a day by people searching for information for Conglomeration Louisville or Conglomeration 2009.

  4. James Flanagan Says:

    I was planning to skip Gencon this year and go to Conglomeration, so I’m really interested to know if it’s on or off. Living in Lexington, I don’t know any of the other hotels in Louisville that would be close to the specifics of the Carlion.

    James / Nezeray

    • Khozyain Says:

      James – I don’t know if you’re specifically interested in the gaming aspect since you mentioned Gencon, and I don’t know if you already attend or how it compares, but Marcon (Memorial Day weekend in Columbus) is pretty cool and has a good amount of gaming going on. Then there’s Millennicon in Cincy (3/22-3/24), with GoH John Scalzi this year. Scalzi alone will be worth attending the usually low key event.

  5. Leatha rose Says:

    I agree the information needs to be put out there. I ran into a friend right before Christmas. His parting words to me were “I will see you in April.” I wish I knew then that the con was in jeopardy.

  6. Donny Rhye Says:

    Seeems the guy who owns the website has been unavailable for it to be updated. Seems the Conglomeration committee will be meeting in march to decide the convetions future. Pretty postive there is no con in april 2009.

    • Khozyain Says:

      Thanks, Donny. Wonder what happens to the money collected from pre-reg members? The receipt was just a handwritten piece of paper. I know running a convention can be a pain, but all of this could have been handled so much better. Just seems tacky.

  7. Russ Ault Says:

    It appears that a microscopic ray of hope may be visible. The hotel appears to have changed names, and may either be open or in the process of getting ready to open; the new name appears to be Studio Lodge and Suites. No word on the adjoining convention center building, though. If that’s still not functional or available, then the hotel itself isn’t terribly relevant.

    • Khozyain Says:

      Thanks, Russ. I’m betting the convention is totally kaput, unless they move it to later in the year. Whatever the case, I continue to hammer on the idea that the organizers SHOULD have put some information on their site instead of taking the site down, and they SHOULD have responded to emails – but instead, those emails bounce back as undeliverable. There are numerous ways in the SF community to get the word out.

      And perhaps most importantly, they ** DEFINITELY SHOULD ** refund the money they’ve already gotten from those of us who pre-registered at the 2008 convention for ’09!!

      At this point, with the total lack of information or concern from Conglomeration organizers, I consider myself a victim of theft, and of fraud.

  8. Russ Ault Says:

    Further information passed along to me from a source believed to be authoritative: The 2009 event is cancelled, and a letter with the official details will go out to all those on the con’s mailing list. That’s a *hardcopy* letter, folks. It may be a while before this gets in the mail. Meanwhile, they’re working on getting control of their own domain back, but since the webmaster’s (and thereby the domain registrant’s) email bounces, it’s likely that they’re going to have some significant administrative hassles involved in getting the site back up.

  9. Marsha White Says:

    My name is Marsha White. I’m also known as Mags. I’m on the ConComm for Conglomeration, serving in the role of Director of Volunteers. I’m helping get the word out that Conglomeration is returning in April 2010. I came across your thread in a Google search, and I hope you don’t mind me posting here.

    Here’s the quick and dirty version of what prompted cancellation of the convention in 2009:

    The Clarion Hotel on Hurstbourne in Louisville, which had been the convention hotel for a few years, closed unexpectedly. Why did the hotel close? The Clarion, along with fifteen other hotels, had been sold to Kronos Hotels and Resorts in 2007. After the sale, things at the hotel rapidly went to shite, with employees going unpaid and a fire that resulted in widespread damage. Kronos management, not to put too fine a point on it, could not get their act together, so Clarion finally pulled their franchise license, presumably in disgust.

    The President and CEO of Kronos was later arrested in Georgia on fraud charges related to kiting checks. A new group, Stillwater Capital Partners, purchased all of the former Kronos hotels, formed Hyperion Hotel Investments, and hired Prism Hotels and Resorts to take over operations. Prism is well-regarded in the industry and has a good rep for rescuing what are euphemistically referred to as “troubled properties”.

    I don’t know how to post the appropriate links here, but if you Google “Kronos Hotels” and dig around in Google cache, you’ll find news report verifying the above.

    All of this drama with Kronos left Conglomeration in a tough spot. In spite of the fact that the calvary, in the form of Prism, had arrived, the problems with the old Clarion were substantial, so no one could guarantee that the property would be able to host our con by April of 2009. The Conglomeration ConComm woke up one day to find our contract has been canceled.

    We scrambled to find another spot. We looked all over town and even around the region. We had no luck. We probably held out hope too long, but we eventually had to pull the plug for 2009.

    On top of all of this, our webmaster moved out of state due to work. He had all the passwords and whatnot for the site, and was responsible for all site administration, including making sure we kept our domain (conglomeration.org). After he moved, we lost total contact with him–no emails, no phone calls, nothing. Foolishly, we did not have passwords and administrative authorties backed up. And thus, we lost the site. I have been informed by the Con Chairmen that the doman is now held by an Australian company that wants six-figures from us. We’re now working on alternatives.

    Russ is right: we had a management failure about understanding how vital a role the Internet plays in communicating with fandom. I wrote an email explaining the above to everyone I knew, and begged them to forward it to any interested parties, but it simply wasn’t enough.

    However, burned hand teaches best and all that. You can now follow us on Facebook, at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Conglomeration-Science-Fiction-Convention or by searching Conglomeration Science Fiction Convention. You can also contact us at conglomerationcon@gmail.com .

    So, it comes to this. We’re back, and ready to rock a great con in 2010. Con dates are April 9-11, 2010. The pre-registration fee is $30 until March 12th, 2010; $40 at-the-door. To pre-register, send your check to Conglomeration, P O Box 32095, Louisville, KY 40232-2095. The convention hotel is the InnPlace Hotel & Conference Center, 9700 Bluegrass Pkwy, Louisville, KY 40299, (502) 491-4830. Convention rate for a standard room is $76/night. Yes, this is the same hotel as before, but now under completely different owners and suitably-abashed management.

    I hope this answers your questions, and I hope you’ll consider joining us for 2010.

    Marsha White, Director of Volunteers, Herder of Cats, ConGlomeration

    • Khozyain Says:

      Thanks for the information, Marsha.

      The Facebook link as given doesn’t work, but this does: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Conglomeration-Science-Fiction-Convention/125329840094

      But my question remains: what happened to the refunds promised months and months ago to the pre-registered folks who requested a refund of their money? I requested mine per the letter and didn’t hear a thing.

      It’s things like that that burns the hands of the attendees, and we remember things like this.

      • Marsha White Says:

        “But my question remains: what happened to the refunds promised months and months ago to the pre-registered folks who requested a refund of their money? I requested mine per the letter and didn’t hear a thing.”

        Hello, Khozyain.

        I’m so glad you brought this up, because I forgot to address it in my original post. My apologies for typing in haste.

        If anyone out there as pre-reg’d for 2009 and want a refund, the Con needs to hear from you at once. I don’t know all of the specifics because I’m not part of the con’s Registration staff, but I do know that they’re trying to make sure they have an accurate tally of who needs a refund.

        I urge you to send an email at once to conglomerationcon@gmail.com with your name, address, preferred email, and a phone # where you can be reached so that the Registration Staff can work on getting you your refund. Please put “CONGLOMERATION 2009 REFUND” in the subject line. (For those using snail-mail, put ATTN CONGLOMERATION 2009 REFUND” on the envelope).

        Again, I can only apologize for the delays and for the frustration you’ve experienced.

        “It’s things like that that burns the hands of the attendees, and we remember things like this.”

        I’ve been in fandom for sometime now, and I concur.


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