TBF 2020: Thought Bubble Festival officially cancelled – online con announced

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And that’s 2020, everybody. We were hoping beyond hope that maybe convention fans here in the UK could get their big room fix, especially in the comics community – however, this morning, the organisers of Thought Bubble Festival have announced that the biggest and arguably most regarded comics-centric convention in the country has had to be pulled from the calendar.

Originally scheduled to be held at the Harrogate Convention Centre (a building still currently in use as a Nightingale facility while the country is still in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic) over the 14th-15th November weekend, the event will now shift to a digital presence, no doubt calling on the immense talent roster that was previously touted, including the likes of Sean Phillips, Cecil Castellucci, Andy Belanger, Babs Tarr, James Tynion IV and literally hundreds more.

While this is a disappointing announcement, it’s truly understandable – with the number of international guests that the Festival pulls to his halls each year, it would have been incredibly difficult to entice that talent on to a plane to come to a country that has still yet to reconcile with the numbers represented in the pandemic. Also, the reality of Thought Bubble at its current scale is, it would have been tough to organise the crowds and vendors to keep the kind of social distancing and precautions that would be required, even by November.

In the announcement, the organisers say, ” Interaction between audiences, guests and exhibitors is a cornerstone of the festival and it doesn’t feel right to try and present a diluted version of this. We’re so sad we won’t see you all in November, but the team will be working hard throughout this year and next to make sure we can host an even bigger and better Thought Bubble next year, which will be held 13-14 November 2021 at Harrogate Convention Centre.”

It goes on to present initial details of the new online comic con which does sound like it’s going to consist of a lot of video and streaming content, based around the disciplines that TBF focusses on: “…we are planning to present something very special this year which will help us to connect with the community we dearly love. On 14-15 November 2020 we will be holding a Digital Comic Con. There will be a huge focus on our amazing exhibitors, we’ll have guest interviews, panels, masterclasses and loads of cool stuff. We are excited about what good can come from this new challenge, and we hope you will be too!”

Safe to say, anyway that The Convention Collective can support Thought Bubble in their efforts, we’ll gladly step up and try to help. And as always, we’ll keep you up to date on and further announcements as they become available – follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for more.


From the Thought Bubble official website, here’s the full statement, released this morning:

Dear Thought Bubble friends

We hope you are all keeping safe and well in these tough times. Our hearts are with you.

We’ve been holding out hope that things would be ok by November and Thought Bubble could go ahead as planned but right now it seems impossible that we’ll be able to guarantee everyone’s safety, which means we have had to take the extremely hard decision to postpone this year’s show until 2021.

Everyone’s safety is of the utmost importance to us. Alongside this we have also had to consider that international travel may still be restricted and any form of social distancing will mean we simply can’t present the convention and festival activity in the same way. Interaction between audiences, guests and exhibitors is a cornerstone of the festival and it doesn’t feel right to try and present a diluted version of this. We’re so sad we won’t see you all in November, but the team will be working hard throughout this year and next to make sure we can host an even bigger and better Thought Bubble next year, which will be held 13-14 November 2021 at Harrogate Convention Centre.

This has been and continues to be an incredibly challenging time for us especially as a not-for-profit company, our priority is to do everything we can to keep going until next year. 

There are ways you can help us; If you are an exhibitor, you can choose to move your table money over to the 2021 show without any price increase. If you’ve purchased a ticket, you can keep hold of it for next year’s event, or you can donate the value of your ticket to us. You can also become a Friend of Thought Bubble or make a donation via our website.

We know this may not be possible for everyone and we are offering refunds on tickets and table fees to those who would like them. Exhibitors and tickets holders, you will have an email with all the details on this.

On a positive note, we are planning to present something very special this year which will help us to connect with the community we dearly love. On 14-15 November 2020 we will be holding a Digital Comic Con. There will be a huge focus on our amazing exhibitors, we’ll have guest interviews, panels, masterclasses and loads of cool stuff. We are excited about what good can come from this new challenge, and we hope you will be too! More info will be available later today.

We have put together a FAQwhich will hopefully cover anything you might want to ask, but we’re here if you need anything else.

Stay safe, look after each other, support local business and keep reading comics!

All our love, from Team Thought Bubble


WAYS TO SUPPORT THOUGHT BUBBLE

Here are some ways you can help support Thought Bubble through this tough time:

Become a Friend of Thought Bubble – Memberships help fund our outreach work, and this year particularly, the every day running of Thought Bubble. As a thanks you’ll get super special Thought Bubble stuff posted to you this year; including an exclusive tote bag and t-shirt, limited edition prints (including one by Tula Lotay) plus loads more, as well as a full weekend ticket for the 2021 con. Find out all the details below.

Donate– Hit the donate button below and give any amount you’d like to via paypal, you’ll receive our eternal thanks for supporting us.

Spread the Word – Not all support has to be financial; give us a retweet, tell your comic-loving pals about us, spread those awesome Thought Bubble memories and photos far and wide. Our community is what makes us so special, and everything you do, all the positivity you bring, is appreciated so much by Team Thought Bubble.


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