Fans of Fandomfest now say they feel conned by convention - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Fans of Fandomfest now say they feel conned by convention

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville's Fandomfest has some angry fans after a wave of cancellations. 

Half the celebrities announced for this weekend's fan convention have backed out.

"It's in shambles," said Fandomfest panelist Gary Lockard. "People are not getting refunds for the photo ops they've requested. Yes, it's in a little trouble this year."

The Fandomfest website warns of the "no refund" policy in several different places, but Loackard said no one expected so many stars to back out at once.

The list of near 40 celebrities announced paired down to just 18 as of Wednesday, two days before the start of the convention. 

The event brings celebrities and superheros under one roof with superfans. In years past, thousands traveled to Louisville to interact with the actors of television and film. Some even dress up as their favorite characters from entertainment including comics and cartoons.

The latest cancellations include Weird Al Yankovic and 90210's Tori Spelling and Ian Ziering. 

"Delayed flights and hotel room reservations -- it just didn't look like a good situation to be in," said Tony Vela, Spelling and Ziering's booking agent.

"They did not ever confirm travel and or accommodations with two deadlines accepted to do so. It was on them," said cartoon voice actor Charlie Adler. 

Fandomfest organizer Myra Daniels refuted the claim to WDRB News over the phone. 

"Perhaps they didn't have everything they wanted the day they requested, but it was all there and done," Daniels said. "Otherwise, I wouldn't have been canceling reservations all day on Delta, United and everywhere else.

The first sign of trouble at Fandomfest cropped up a couple of weeks ago when fans learned the event had no venue. The contract fell through with the Kentucky Exposition Center and organizers wound up at the now vacant old Macy's space at Jefferson Mall. 

Daniels said the new location would be "better" due to easier access to cheaper food and free parking. 

With the flurry of stars backing out days before the event, fans worried it may be canceled. But crews could be seen inside the closed Macy's store Wednesday afternoon starting setup.

Lockard believes it's the location that's driving celebrities away.

"You're told you are going to be at an expo center, and all of sudden, it's another, Lockhard said. "I think that contributes a lot."

Online fans are irate, one calling Fandomfest, "A fantastic bait-and-switch scam." Tickets range from $30 to $300 for the three-day event and all of its VIP experiences. Some paid for personal interactions, autographs and pictures with stars who are no longer coming. They're being told they can exchange it for an experience with a celebrity in attendance. 

"We have a no-refund policy that is listed on the website," Daniels said. "It also says that any guest is subject to cancellation at any time."

It leaves fans feeling conned by the convention. 

"I really want them to get their stuff together," Lockard said. "This has always been a thing of tremendous value. They've added a lot to the community, the pop culture community and to the nerd culture around here."  

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