Message from the Board President

Happy Spring everyone!

Shortly after Capricon 44, we sent out a survey to current members and past members in order to find out more about what makes people want to attend Capricon, or what is stopping them from attending. We were delighted that 266 of you took the time to complete the survey! We have completed our initial analysis of the data, and wanted to share the key points with you.

You can view the PDF here.

As this is the last year of our contract at the Sheraton, we are embarking on a hotel search for future years. We asked a lot of questions about location in the survey so that we have a clearer understanding of what makes a good location for our attendees.

Based on the feedback given, we will be focusing on a suburban location with easy access to public transportation and the airports, but we are not ruling out a downtown location. We have to look everywhere and see which hotels are interested. In our last hotel search, we had very few appropriate suburban hotels respond to our request for proposal (RFP), although this search was not long after places began re-opening after pandemic lockdown and hopefully this time will be different.

We will also be looking specifically for hotels with free or discounted in/out parking, on-site and nearby dining options, and of course reasonable hotel rates.

We have a new Facilities Coordinator (Aimee Dundon) and Hotel Liaison (Matt Chavera) and we are digging in to put together our RFP and get it sent out with help from Choose Chicago (the Convention and Visitors Bureau). We will keep you posted!

Thank you for being part of our community.

Helen Montgomery
Board President
Phandemonium, Inc.

Messages from the Conchair and Board President

Capricon 44 is now complete, and we have our wrap up messages from the Convention Chair, Sam Haney Press, and Board President, Helen Montgomery.

Please take a moment to read these important updates, and then mark your calendars for Capricon 45, February 6-9, 2025 at the Sheraton Grand Chicago!

Conchair 44’s Message

Dear Phandemonium Members –

I want to thank all of you who attended Capricon 44; without you, there would be no community to serve and celebrate at our convention, and I’ve appreciated all your lovely feedback and support over the last year. I also want to thank our Guests of Honor: K Tempest Bradford, Ariela Housman, Catherine Lundoff, and Victor Raymond. They each brought their distinct voices, skills, and experiences to share with us, and I know we were all enriched by their presence. Finally, I’d like to thank the Phandemonium Board, the Capricon 44 ConCom, and all the volunteers that made Capricon 44 possible. They brought my vision for this year to life and frankly, were the essential building blocks of this convention where I merely served as mortar.

These past few years have been challenging for Capricon specifically and Phandemonium overall. If you attended the open Board meeting or Closing Ceremonies at the convention, you know we’re in a difficult spot. Attendance hasn’t bounced back from the initial years of the pandemic as well as we’d hoped, the hotel move has caused strain in multiple ways, and we’ve lost many valued volunteers due to burnout, illness, and death. As a result, our financial situation is tight and our staff has shrunk dramatically. Many of you have offered support through feedback, donations, and volunteering – and we welcome more of that support for this upcoming year – and we all thank you for your contributions.

We’d like to ask for two more things from you as we move forward: patience and hopeful, open minds. Capricon will likely undergo some dramatic changes in the upcoming years, but I have faith that we can work together to embrace the possibilities for growth even in these difficult times.

It’s been an honor to serve you all as Con Chair for Capricon 44, and I look forward to seeing – and helping, in whatever capacity I can serve – the Phandemonium community continue on, starting with Capricon 45, February 6-9, 2025 at the Sheraton Grand Chicago!

Thank you again,
Sam Haney Press

Board President’s message

The State of the Capricon (and Phandemonium)

Back in “the before times” of February 2020, Phandemonium (the parent corporation of Capricon) announced that Capricon would be moving from suburban Wheeling to the Sheraton Grand Hotel in downtown Chicago. 

When we moved, we knew that our organizational costs would be increasing. We had been growing every year, had a healthy bank account, and therefore were not concerned about the increased costs. 

We felt really positive and optimistic about the move. 

And then there was COVID.

Since that time, we have held three in-person Capricons at the Sheraton, including this year. Each year, we have grown, but at a much slower pace than we had hoped. This year we managed to get just over 600 attendees, compared with the 1000+ we routinely had pre-pandemic. 

Unfortunately, with the slow pace of growth, we are struggling to stay fiscally healthy. We do have our contract at the Sheraton for 2025, and we will be there. However, that is the last year of our contract, and we do not believe it is financially sustainable for us to stay at the Sheraton past next year, barring significant changes. Over the remainder of 2024, we will be exploring our options and seeking a hotel to fit our current needs. We will be considering location, parking, public transportation, food availability, and disability access in addition to the basics of sleeping rooms and right-sized function space. 

In the meantime we do have a contract for 2025 and will be at the Sheraton. Mark your calendars for February 6-9, 2025!

It is entirely possible that next year, Capricon 45, could well be our last. We obviously hope that we can turn things around, as we love Cap and do not want to see it end, but we also want to be honest with you.

If you also love Capricon and want to see us succeed, there are a few things that you can do.

  • Buy some Capricon 44 merchandise.
  • Buy your membership to Capricon 45 as early as possible (we aim to have online registration open sometime in April – check the website and social media for announcements).
  • Encourage your friends to come to Capricon – maybe they used to come but don’t anymore. Maybe they’ve never been. Either way, invite them!
  • Volunteer to be on the convention committee! We need both department heads and staff, and we’re happy to train you! 
  • If you have any contacts for us that could help us with getting sponsorships or grants, please let us know.
  • Follow us on social media and interact with our posts – the more interaction we get, the better the algorithm will be at showing our posts to people.
  • Join our brand new Capricon Community Discord (invitations coming via email to current and past Phandemonium members; if you do not receive an email by March 15, please email for an invitation).
  • Participate in events we hold outside of the convention, such as our Book Club.

Thank you for all of the support you’ve given to Phandemonium and Capricon over the years.

Helen Montgomery
Board President
Phandemonium, Inc.