Good evening, everyone. We’d like to take a moment to officially address concerns that have been expressed on Facebook, email, and other places.
The comments regarding this year’s activities from the feedback panel and facebook page have all been very consistent. Allow us to address those issues in the following statement from our staff:
1.) There is a rumor that the water station in the UV Lite Party had been tampered with by an attendee. We would like to assure everyone that the water stations are secured after being filled, and there was a member of security staff in the room at all times. We checked our security logs and received no official reports of this happening during the convention.
2.) Regarding the enforced badge policies: Despite our goal being fun, our primary concern is the safety and well-being of our attendees. Given security risk incidents which occurred at other conventions we felt it was necessary to step up our monitoring of the convention space and limit access to attendees only. The entire space inside the convention center was rented for NatsuCon this year, and as others have pointed out when you entered the Gateway Center you entered the Artist’s Alley, which is usually a secure or “badge checked” location at most conventions. It was our intention to ensure that this area remained a space for attendees only.
3.) Regarding door policies: Given our new stance on badges it was decided to rearrange the convention to allow for maximum usage of space, and also to allow panel rooms to be easier to monitor. Since our Security staff was unable to monitor all available doors due to manpower issues, the decision was made to badge check attendees at the front and allow all others to proceed to the North doors for registration. This allowed us to have two entrances rather than simply the North entrance.
4.) Regarding peace ties on props: This is a standard security procedure at many conventions on more than just live steel weapons. Large props and replica weapons are peace tied not only to ensure they cannot fire but also as a shorthand for Security to know that the prop has already been checked and approved. It saves the cosplayers and Security staff time.
5.) Regarding program books and event schedules: The complete truth is that the file for the program books was not ready in time for printing in enough quantities for NatsuCon 2013. Since we were planning on having the Guidebook app available for those who wanted it, we decided instead to use it as our primary program book. Similarly, the schedules were printed late, but they were made available as soon as they were received. We are changing our methods to ensure that this does not happen again, and apologize for any inconvenience this caused.
6.) Regarding registration pick-up information and on-site times: We know that the information emailed to pre-registered attendees incorrectly stated that badge pick up would take place at the Hilton DoubleTree. It has also come to our attention that convention center doors were not open at the same time registration officially opened on Saturday. In the future, we will ensure that information regarding all times and locations will be properly posted and actively advertised through all official means of our communications in addition to coordinating with convention center staff.
7.) Regarding registration location: Again, our goal was to maximize the space available to the convention. As we are not allowed access to the Gateway Center ticket booth, we have always utilized the North side of the building. We chose this year to have a wide table set up in the rotunda because it allowed registration to be out of the way of vendors, artists, panelists, and the other more enjoyable con aspects. It also allowed for easy access for volunteer sign-up. We understand that registration is one of the least enjoyable parts of any convention and we will continue to work on improving and quickening our registration system and policies.
NatsuCon is made possible by volunteers, staff (who are unpaid volunteers as well), panelists, and the wonderful people at the Gateway Center and Hilton DoubleTree Hotel. NatsuCon exists solely to serve the Greater Saint Louis area by offering a safe, friendly, and exciting environment to let nerd culture continue to thrive. We understand that implementing new policies does not always go over as expected and while all changes were made with the safety and convenience of guests in mind, we understand that they did not all work out as we had desired. We would like to thank our attendees for coming, and encourage attendees to continue give us constructive feedback, recommendations, and comments in order to continuously improve our convention year after year. We are listening and hope to make NatsuCon a more enjoyable experience for all our attendees.