In the 48 hours or so since this post was published, fans have inundated Dragon Con staff with messages, pleading for the reinstatement of the Tolkien Track, or at least a reprieve so that the track may have a chance to closure.
After more than a full day of public silence, Dragon Con began responding on Twitter, pointing out that Tolkien content was not being eliminated from the con, and the reorganization is being characterized as “sharing the love” on the new “High Fantasy Track.”
@MiddleEarthNews Not gone, just sharing the love on our new High Fantasy Track. Middle Earth, GoT, Shannara to be the focus of this track.
— Dragon Con (@DragonCon) January 11, 2017
Many Tolkien Track fans remain dissatisfied with this explanation, since the reorganization implies a loss of control of content, scheduling, and high profile guests.
Keep up the pressure! Please continue to (politely, please) tell Dragon Con why the Tolkien Track is an important part of the con!
Contact Dragon Con:
On the evening of Sunday January 8, 2016, we received the devastating news that the management of Dragon Con announced their intention to eliminate the Tolkien Track as as separate entity, beginning with the 2017 con.
In a message posted on the Tolkien’s Middle-earth Programming Track at Dragon Con Facebook page, former track director Larry Curtis shared the bad news. Dragon Con also announced that the track would be absorbed into other tracks, including a new “High Fantasy” track and the Fantasy Literature Track.
Thanks to the diligent, hard work of those involved with the Tolkien Track through the years, Dragon Con has, historically, been known as the best con for Tolkien-related content, without exception. The Tolkien Track offered a unique mix of content, embracing both the widely popular films and more scholarly and artistic content. Nowhere else is there a con that embraces actor panels and panels that explore Tolkien literature, or serves up signature events like “An Evening at Bree” or “Hobbit Drinking Songs.” While some of that content may survive the planned dissolution of the track, much of it will not.
The reason behind Dragon Con’s decision is not clear at this time. In his Facebook message, Tolkien Track director Larry Curtis stated the he was told that the decision was not due to “a failure of numbers attending, bad feedback, the track director or the track staff,” but rather was part of a “streamlining effort.” Other tracks are suffering a similar fate, including the highly popular Whedon Universe Track.
Many Dragon Con attendees and presenters are writing to Dragon Con to ask that the Tolkien Track be reinstated. At the very least, perhaps there could be a reprieve so that the track has a chance for a proper good-bye, in this year when we celebrate the 125th anniversary of Tolkien’s birth.
If you are interested in writing to Dragon Con to support the reinstatement of the track, you can contact the con here. In the dropdown list, if you choose “Dragon Con Office,” your message will reach the senior staff of the con. If you choose to write to Dragon Con, please be polite and respectful.
On a personal note, I have loved every moment of my experience with the Tolkien Track at Dragon Con. I have been attending only since 2014, but from the first I found a warm, open, welcoming community in the Tolkien Track. From the bottom of my Tolkien-loving heart, thank you to Dragon Con and especially all the Tolkien Track organizers, presenters, and attendees who have made Dragon Con such a special place for the Tolkien fandom.
Dragon Con, please do not take our track from us! The journey must not end here.