when the pestilence spread, we were in over our heads
The collective faced its Worst Fears that Fateful Year
Not gone is the threat, but don't you dare fret
Read On and Discover our mission to prevent & recover
how to participate without meeting a grim fate
We know it is a lengthy read, but on behalf of the live events industry - our organizer's specialty of 11 years - we would deeply appreciate any consideration you may offer to an honest and heartfelt account drafted below. There are frequent prompts in our inbox regarding any unfinished affairs & loose ends from the past two years. We are still 100% committed to fulfilling every promise that we had to postpone due to Covid-19, and we will continue to give you our full transparency (as would any effective ghost).
Covid-19: A Timeline & 2022 Statement
the road to postponements were paved with good intentions
After a 2019 of magick, mayhem and marvelous memories, Bitchcraft Fair's spooky splendor came to an abrupt halt, as did so many small businesses and live events alike. Eager to rekindle with our Pittsburgh & Louisville communities, and to expand to Charlotte, we entered contractual commitments with three phenomenal venues. In January of 2020, most of our vendor spaces had been sold, deposits were secured & other preparations were made months prior to the global lockdown.
2 weeks was the universal goalpost, but as 2 weeks transformed into 2 months, many of us were still confident that the world would reclaim its normality by summer. This was a unique position for an event planner; imagine it: you are holding the deposits of hundreds of vendors, of presale tickets, and must continue to spend those funds to manifest an event to the caliber they entrust you with.
There is no timeline, no finality, no certainty. Together with our venues, we explored all grim options by late summer: do we require our vendors to invest in costly plastic partitians around the parameters of their booths at their own expense? Do we significantly reduce our attendee capacity, plummeting vendor sales?
Any compromise we made in the interest of public safety, our vendors - small businesses which had been utterly devastated by the pandemic - suffered. We could not deliver upon our promises, and we could not guarantee your safety during a public health fiasco. This left us with one option.
By mid-year (and even prior to the pandemic), we were too deep in the investments required to conduct a full-scale event, or to press a "reset" button, let alone to cover refunds when there is no event insurance in existence offering Covid-19 coverage. Trust that had any tarot spread predicted what sort of impending Tower moment lurked around the corner... we would have sooner eaten the ink, quill, and paper of those contracts - AND the entire squid, raven and tree if it could have absolved us. Unfortunately, the deed was done. This was the bitch's burden now.
When we announced our postponement in July of 2020, we offered our alternative 2021 dates and guaranteed all booths & tickets would transfer over. We also extended a refund option for a limited time. Each and every refund requested of us was fulfilled.
It felt essential for us to offer this relief to our community, even when we had no way to fulfill the refund requests immediately. But when there is a will as dark & devilish as ours, there's a way, and we managed it. As we saw it, anyone who had secured a booth prior to the existence of the pandemic, or into those first few months, deserved the second chance that was not extended to us.
To be candid: the worst of it was not the unanswered questions, the isolation, the virus itself or the sleepless nights, of which there were more of than not. Disappointing you has always been our worst nightmare.
in 2021, the battle was partially won
... but not completely. We entered the second year of the pandemic with enough pessimism, we developed a "back up" virtual event. We executed this by featuring shop listings, which are still live at creatrixcarnivale.com as this is written. This was designed like an inexpensive sponsorship solution, helping to drive traffic to vendors any way we possibly could.
As 2021 slowly progressed from spring to summer with no relief in sight, our makers & mystics had the option to convert their booth to virtual listings, which some felt it in their best interest to do.
We conducted a vibrant and successful event in Pittsburgh on September 22, 2021, where vendors and registrants were able to redeem their booths & tickets from our 2020 cancellation. Louisville, however, bore the brunt of unforeseen mandated limitations and regulations due to the spike in cases that shut down most live events that month.
This still left our Louisville coven at a disadvantage, as we could not deliver upon our promises as a live event during this ongoing public health crisis. A virtual event may not be a substitute, but it was the culmination of honest and sincere effort under ongoing, egregious and unprecedented circumstances we absolutely could not control for 2 years.
Pittsburgh's successful 2021 show was a blessing, but after 5 cancellations in 2 years (Pittsburgh, Louisville, Charlotte, then Louisville and Charlotte again), it cannot be understated that our triumph in Pittsburgh absolutely did not leave us in any financial position to continue to issue refunds for postponed shows, even if those postponements are ongoing. Our efforts in Pittsburgh in 2021 were designed to fulfill our promises to you, NOT to turn a profit.
While we continue to rebuild Bitchcraft Fair, it has required 2 years of bondage, and not the fun kinky kind.
HAUNTLESS IN KENTUCKY
What we can afford is limited, and sadly venues are, too. Being without a haunt in Louisville is not by choice, but a consequence of over-booked venues catching up from 2 years of cancellations, with prices we can't yet afford. So we ask for your patience as we explore more alternatives. We have every intention of returning in/close to your region, Louisville. Whether it is in 2022 or 2023, we look forward to sharing this announcement with you. Though not ideal, we have explored many alternatives along the way, and no tombstone has been unturned.
However, the time has come when we must learn our boundaries. We cannot continue to rebuild and to bring you the experience you deserve if we cannot focus on the tasks that pave our way towards reparations, which includes redeeming any outstanding booth or ticket.
This has always been our intention. Please understand that while Covid-19 may have passed for the majority, there are industries that remain in the trenches. Bitchcraft Fair is a small business, not unlike those we serve. Bitchcraft Fair was utterly decimated and navigated the chaos purely to deliver upon our promises to you, not because it was advantageous in any way, shape or form - in fact, it was a disciplined practice in mental & emotional masochism there for a while. Our "new normal" is not so easily won. We are still recovering.
But if the climate remains such that we are permitted to/it is safe to operate our events without further interruption, we will return to the Louisville region. When, and not if, is the last of so many unanswered questions.