We had written about Rewind Con a few times. The first time was because they changed their dates, they had moved it from September 23rd to November 11th. They claimed the reason for the date change was because of a forced change of venue. Things happen, it wasn’t much of a red flag.
Then our second article came about when people started complaining that they weren’t getting the promised refunds after the date change. This is when things started getting interesting. During our investigation, we found a few details that weren’t lining up.
Rewind originally claimed that they needed a larger venue and that the original hotel had misled them on capabilities. We found out that at least part of the venue and date change was because Rewind would not pay the deposit. The convention organizers were also claiming refunds had been issued that hadn’t been.
There was a lot of immaturity on the part of management with accusations, name-calling and then they started blocking people on social media.
Finally, everyone that PopCultHQ knew about, had their refunds and we just sat back and watched things unfold.
Too Many Guests
At the time of the date change, Rewind had 35 guests. After the venue change they started announcing even more guests and by the time November 11th rolled around, they had 55 guests. Their guest list was a who’s who of the 80’s and 90’s. It was filled with boy bands, movie stars, soap stars and sitcom stars.
Fifty-five is a LOT of guest stars for a two-day convention in its first year. Yes, the big ones can carry it off; NYCC had 190 entertainment guests this year, but SDCC only had 54, and Wizard World Chicago averages around 50.
Guests are expensive; not only do you have their retainer fee but you also have flights, hotels, and food. Then you also must cover their handler, agent, spouse and whoever else they chose to include in their contracts. The typical guest also has a guarantee from the convention organizers that they will make a certain amount at their table in autographs and photo ops. If they don’t make the guarantee, then the convention organizers must make up the difference.
It was because of past behaviors and the large number of guests that many of us continued to watch this convention. We wanted to see what would happen.
The days leading up to Rewind Con were surprisingly smooth. All the names I had connections with had received their retainers, plane tickets and hotel reservations. Everything was looking great! No one had complaints prior to their arrival.
Even upon the guests’ arrival, there weren’t a lot of problems. There were the usual issues and complaints. Some weren’t completely happy with the transportation provided, the hotel rooms were too far away from the convention, or they had no schedule for the convention.
These were all pretty common problems, nothing out of the ordinary.
The weekend of the convention was loaded with problems, but most of the problems were not involving the guests themselves. Several guests, promoters and agents have commented on how well-treated the guests were. A few were even raving about the food provided in the green room.
The first problem was the lack of attendance. Rewind had stated numbers in the thousands, from what I can tell they were lucky to see 500 people, many of which were media. This lack of attendance was a huge red flag for most celebrity guests as it means that there is no way they are making their guarantee. The guests then rely on the convention to make up the difference, and a quick look around would have told any of the guests that there was a lot of money the convention had to pay out at the end of the con. This put several of the celebrities on edge.
Conventions need volunteers to run. They need volunteers to handle lines, act as gofers for the celebrities, take tickets, regulate the autograph lines, general maintenance, direct the fans and a million and one other things that you never even thought of. The volunteer staff is usually the core to every convention and a well-trained, happy volunteer staff is the key to a successful convention.
From all reports, the volunteer crew was NOT happy, with many quitting and walking out. Volunteers were left with a lot of stuff to do with no guidance and no food or water. There were multiple schedules printed throughout the weekend that were worth less than the paper they were printed on.
They were talked down to and treated like general crap. When a few celebs decided to reward some volunteers by letting them have photos ops, management screamed at the volunteers stating that they weren’t allowed free photos. Management openly berated the volunteers publicly on several occasions throughout the event.
When there were real problems, management was difficult to find and gave obscure or totally nonprofessional responses. At one point, a volunteer approached the CEO and received a palm raised to their face and a response that the CEO wasn’t taking questions.
Almost every fan that came it purchased a photo op with their favorite celebrity; many of these photos ops costing hundreds of dollars. I am missing a lot of details regarding the photo opportunities.
The Rewind Con started to go wrong by continuously changing the photo op times, then apparently something went wrong with the photography company they hired. Many reports tell me it was a one-man show that was overwhelmed by the quantity of photos asked of him, other reports have it as a hardware malfunction. Either way, the photos ops were taking forever and most people were not happy with the photos they received or how long it was taking to receive them.
No matter the issues, it seems that the initial photographer more than made up for it by calling in another photography company. Tinsletown stepped right in and did a fabulous job taking and printing photos.
**PLEASE NOTE** Tinseltown Photo was not originally part of RewindCon. We were contacted Saturday, November 12th, 2016 that they were having problems with the photo ops and needed another photography company to come to assist for Sunday. We were only there Sunday and were handling the photos that were out in the open and not in the rear photo booth area area. Our photo wait time as was less than 15-minutes. The reason why we became involved was because the other photographer had problems on Saturday with missing prints and did not have a website to post any of the photos. That said, we volunteered to post all of the photos on our website. It was decided that due to the problems that people were having individuals could download the original JPEG and no charge. Again, I’m sorry about what happened and this is not standard operating procedure for Tinseltown Photo.
If you were there and didn’t receive your photo either because of errors, or because someone walked off with it, then please check out the photos that Tinsletown has generously agreed to host;
The concert was scheduled for Sunday night, which seemed a little unusual as guests and fans frequently leave early so they can go home and get back to their real lives and jobs the following morning.
I will lead off with the concert footage that was taken by Jennifer M. one of the fans present at the ‘concert.’
First reports of the concert had only a handful of people there, but looking at the videos more did show up. Unfortunately, those that showed up expecting a concert didn’t get what they paid for.
Instead they got a little bit of a capella, the mannequin challenge, and a party with a DJ and some boy band members.
According to reports, the bands didn’t know they were supposed to be performing and some of the members had even already left. Even if all the members of the bands were there, they still wouldn’t be able to perform because it would be a violation of their recording contracts. The bands were not hired for their music, only for their appearances.
If Rewind Con wanted them to perform as the boy bands, then Rewind would have had to strike a deal with whichever theatrical agent represents the bands, not the talent agent that represents individuals.
Hiring bands to perform is a lot more expensive than hiring them to make an appearance because you are then running into the area of musical copyrights, which I am sure many of you have tangled with on YouTube. Also, hiring a band for performance vs. appearance has different regulations and requirements for the agents and agencies depending on the state, which is part of the reason it is easier to hire for an appearance.
I have spoken to agents who insist that they repeatedly told Rewind Con that it could not be a concert. The agreed upon event was supposed to be a party with the boy bands in attendance, not a concert. I have been told that the posters were repeatedly modified even after corrections had been made. There were also several times that rewind referred to it as a party and a concert within the same post.
Either way, the band members appear to have known nothing about the concert, but did their best to prevent an incident. A lot of credit goes to the members who did what they could to entertain their fans without violating their contracts.
Out of the attending fans, there were a lot which were delighted. There wasn’t a lot of people so they got to be up close and personal with the celebrities. They got photos ops, signatures, conversations and even a few selfies. This was fantastic if you were paying for the low tier in ticketing.
The problem is that a lot of the fans there weren’t paying the low level (tier) price. They paid extra to have the same opportunities that everyone else seemed to be having. There were exclusive panels, such as the 90210 reunion, that people paid to sit in on. But when they left the panel, they found out that it wasn’t as exclusive as they thought because it was being aired live by Hollywood Life. The highest tier tickets included access to a concert with the bands, a concert which we have already stated did not happen. Then there was the green room…according to one fan they paid extra to have lunch with the celebrities, only they weren’t allowed to join the green room until most of the celebrities were done with their lunch. That doesn’t sound like they got what they paid for at all.
Many of these were fans were already annoyed by the fact that Rewind Con continuously had ‘sale’ prices on the tickets so many people purchased the VIP tickets for significantly less.
By the end of the convention, not one guest had made their guarantee. That translates to a lot of checks which needed to be cut by the organizer. Rewind did not have funds immediately available, which sent some guests into a spiral (after all this is their livelihood). They were contracted to be there and expected to be paid, per their contract.
Rewind requested many guests to hold off on cashing their checks until they could guarantee that funds would be in the bank. This set off a few more guests and agents demanded proof that their clients would be paid.
Despite Rewind’s request for delays, many attempted to cash their checks immediately and it appears that most bounced at that point. However, since then, it appears that Rewind has made good on many of the checks and is still in negotiations with a few of the celebrities.
Will these celebs work with Rewind again? Some say yes, others have said No! and a few remained rather neutral on the issue.
Rewind has several more conventions planned for the future, their next planned convention is in March at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, TX. Ticket prices range from $50 to $500. So far they only have 13 booked guests, with ticket prices like that I certainly hope they pick up some bigger names.
Rewind2 is the convention that has me wondering. This is being billed as the Friends reunion, with ticket prices starting at $99.99 going all the way up to $999.99. The reunion is slated to occur May 27-28 at the Garden State Exhibit Center in New Jersey. So far, they have booked less than 10 minor cast members and when anyone asks about the big names they are told ‘they are in negotiations.’
This may just be my opinion, but I don’t think this is going to happen and I feel sorry for anyone that jumps on the bandwagon this early.
For any further developments, stay with PopCultHQ to bring you all the news you’re not hearing!