February 23-25, 2018

The History of TribalCon

TribalCon started because of a mishap. Ziah and her husband were attending a science fiction convention and a panel they went to never happened. They sat there chatting for a while but no one came into the room to tell them if it had been canceled or moved. Ziah didn’t want to go running around looking because she was pregnant and had been performing at the Georgia Renaissance Festival all day. As they sat there chatting they joked that they could run a con better than this after all the years producing small events and running class tracks at large SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) events. They would call it BellyCon…no wait….TRIBALCON! Ha ha, very funny. They laughed as they went home to prepare for the next day at Faire.

Then a coincidence happened, Ziah’s friends, Jill Parker and Heather Stants, contacted her with the news that they we doing a tour together called Spark and asked if she wanted to host them. OF COURSE! Hey, could that be the first “TribalCon”? dates were worked out, flyers were made in Word with little cut out registration forms and mailed to friends around the Southeast. Checks came flying in and the event actually sold out! The day of the event arrived. Ziah had it all planned out! Her friends arrived to help out, she rented a van to drive all four teachers around. She took them site seeing at Little 5 Points before dinner and the live music party on the opening Friday night. The day was sunny and warm, everyone was in short sleeve shirts. As they got back to the van to drive to dinner the first sleet hit the windshield…..WHAT? This must be a joke? We were just sweating walking around outside. The sleet kept coming while they ate dinner. They drove over to the Horizon School for Jas’ drum class and the following hafla still incredulous that this was happening. People were already arriving at the venue and ready to drum, shop at the vendors, and party! Not sure what was up with the weather because the reports were also just as surprised at the freak ice storm Ziah tells everyone to get home safely and check Tribe and the website in the morning for updates.

As dawn broke Atlanta was covered in a think sheet of ice, power was going out all over the city. The venue’s power was already out and word was to stay off the roads, so Ziah quickly posted that the event was canceled for the day, she would keep everyone updated about tomorrow. Then her power went out….with four teachers, her hubby and a 10 week old Ava all in the house together. Luckily there was plenty of food and the stove top was gas. Everyone stayed calm and they even worked on the piece that heather, Jill, Rose and Sara were doing together. Heather broke out her Mac laptop that still had a charge on it and they watched DVDs until the battery wore down. Eventually Ziah’s husband drove the teachers to a hotel that still had power, while Ziah hunkered down to keep Ava warm. Power flickered on and off all night as the ice began to melt and they all woke up to a melting city on Sunday! Let’s have a workshop and show! They decided to cram as much in as possible and hold the show that night. As foreshadowing to future TribalCon successes only one person was not able to make it to the workshops and show, everyone else was so excited they were not letting anything stop them. The sound of melting ice falling onto the gymnasium roof will forever be the soundtrack of TribalCon 1 (IceCon 2015). The show was beautiful and everyone kept asking as they left who was teaching next year? NEXT YEAR? Oh goodness, well let Ziah write all the refunds for half the workshops and then maybe she can think about that.

Things learned about running a festival from IceCon:

  • Hold the festival in a hotel so that if a natural disaster happens then everyone is already there and events can hopefully happen even if things are crappy outside. Kudos to Mel and Karin of Kassar for putting on an impromptu workshop for the attendees that were staying at the nearby Holiday Inn (the future home of TribalCon) and to Denys, and many other musicians, who jammed at the Highland Inn, entertaining TribalCon attendees and many other guests.
  • Don’t have festival teachers stay at your home during the festival, it is too stressful for them to watch a producer tend to any problems. Not their monkeys, not their circus.
  • Live Music for parties is an agenda worth pushing, not matter the cost.