The organisers of the planned ICE Birmingham 2022 comic event have officially confirmed the event has been cancelled. Sadly, the team behind the long-running project, headed up by comic creator and publisher Shane Chebsey, have also announced they will no longer be running large conventions in the future… But the spirit of the event will live on.
ICE 2022 would have taken place next month, its line up including Claudia Christian, Reilly Brown, Michael Golden, Glenn Fabry, Geoff Senior, Simon Furman and David Roach as guests – but the economic downturn has been the cause of a significant ticket sales drop, making the show unviable.
The ICE Team will now refocus on virtual events, while Shane is working on a number of publishing projects, such as the recently fully funded Scratch Comics project, Claudia Christian’s Dark Legacies, and ICE CAST Live.
In a statement on the event’s Facebook page posted earlier this week, Shane Chebsey explained the reasons for this are as described in detail in emails “sent out to those who have pre booked, exhibited or are involved in some way”.
Refunds will be issued to everyone who has pre-booked.
“This decision was not made lightly and was taken over a long period considering every possible option,” the ICE Team statement reads. “Of course we are sorry to everyone who was coming to the show.
“To the 89 exhibitors and the hundreds who pre booked and supported us and to the guests who put the time aside to be with us
“To those who didn’t book… We do understand.
“We are facing tough times here in the UK and it was obvious that the sudden decline in ticket sales after months of great ticket sales was due to the economy.”
ICE has been running since 2014, usually taking place annually in Birmingham, often with a complementary Comics Launchpad event focusing on seminars and portfolio reviews. Over the past few years, as well as co-ordinating ICE, Shane has also run the British International Comics Show (BICS), and the biannual Comics Salopia in Shrewsbury.
In the widely reported email sent to exhibitors, Shane outlined how, sadly, in a two week period, ticket sales based on the average of previous years had dropped by over 200 per cent, exposing him to huge potential losses, instead of breaking even, perhaps by as much as £5000 – or higher.
“I was willing to absorb that loss for the sake of the show and for the sake of you guys, and exhibitors,” he wrote. “However, over the last two weeks ticket sales have ground to a halt and the projected loss has increased to over £9000.
“Unfortunately this means I have to cancel as I cannot cover that loss. Also, the stress of attempting to go ahead with no operating capital would likely kill me, as my health is not what it once was.”
We’re very sad that ICE has suffered in this way, a casualty in difficult times for all of us, but we would like to thank Shane and his team for their huge commitment running comic events over the past decade, and wish him and the team the very best of luck in all their endeavours.
ICE – Moving Forward…
Despite the cancellation announcement, Shane and the ICE team have stated publicly their thanks to the many people “who have made ICE one of the best comic conventions in the country over the last eight years.
“All of the guests, all of the extra volunteers and staff all of the exhibitors, all of the press who helped us promote, all of the Cosplayers who brightened up the venues and made the events fun for everyone and of course all of the fans.
“Friendships and legends were made … We can’t possibly list you all here but you know who you are.
“We lost a few dear friends along the way too… And we all felt those losses together.
“The comic industry is full of amazing people and we have been lucky enough to host many of you at ICE over the years and we’ve had lots of fun together. ICE may be gone, but our spirit will remain.
“We will continue to promote new books, celebrate talent and talk about the issues within the industry on the weekly ICE CAST LIVE shows.”
The ICE social media presence on sites such as Facebook will, over time, be transformed to become the ICE CAST LIVE Page – and you can expect some great online virtual events from the ICE team in the future.
“So this is not goodbye, but it is the end of an era,” said Shane and the ICE Team. “Love to you all.”