Even after two full years of promoting and trying to create an identity for this convention, we've learned that there are STILL people who think Oceanside Magic Invitational is the same thing as Hank Lee's Cape Cod Conclave. IT IS NOT! It is a completely different event!
Hank Lee has NOTHING to do with our convention, and never did. OMI is NOT the Conclave. It never has been and never will be affiliated with it in any way, shape, or form.
Any similarity to the former Conclave is purely coincidental.
The fact that it is on Cape Cod in April is that we have ties to the resort in South Yarmouth that hosts it, and that is the time of year that works best for them. Markus and I have been the "house magicians" for the Red Jacket Resorts for many years, and they just happen to be located in South Yarmouth. Which is near Hyannis, the town where Hank Lee hosted his last few Conclaves.
Yes, he held his event in April. So, when he stopped having it for reasons we all know darn well, but we've been avoiding bringing into the equation for the past three years, many folks bemoaned the loss of one of their favorite conventions. With the burgeoning success of the (then-new) Cape Cod Festival of Magic--which Markus and I founded in conjunction with local sponsors in the Yarmouth area, and brought many stars of magic to the Cape for a series of public shows in August--folks kept asking us why we didn't host a convention for magicians as well. You know, seeing how there no longer was a magic convention on Cape Cod. (This is mentioned on the About page.)
Hank Lee did a marvelous job putting together some of the best talent in the world, in a fun, enriching weekend convention that hundreds of people looked forward to, took time off from work for, and flocked to every year for over 20 years. The formula obviously worked! Having attended his final Conclave, and Markus had attended several in the past too, we drew largely upon that format when creating our NEW convention, OMI.
Most conventions are very similar in format anyhow, so we were just taking what worked at the Conclave, as well as at our "sister" conventions NEMCON and the ICBM New England Gathering of the Magi, tweaking it to suit our unique venue (Red Jacket Resort is TRULY "oceanside", and a perfect intimate location for this small convention) and busting our behinds and our budget to bring some of the very finest performers and lecturers in the world here for people to enjoy. All at a reasonable price, with nice "perks", and with a friendly, family-like feel.
We take no kickbacks from the hotel for rooms that are sold. We do not take one penny in kickbacks from the meals that we include as part of everyone's registration fee. We pay all our performers in full, and don't force them to double-up on rooms when they attend so we can "save a few bucks". On the rare occasions registrants have had to cancel, we've refunded their registration fees in full immediately. We offer complimentary food and drinks to everyone in our nightly hospitality suite. We greet everyone who attends personally, and are grateful for their presence.
Oceanside Magic Invitational is not a profit-generating machine, or avenue through which Markus and I promote merchandise or services. We don't have a magic shop backing us, nor do we have an IBM Ring or SAM Assembly footing the bill--every cent we take in in registrations and show ticket sales (and then some, out of our own pocket) goes to pay the performers and crew, the resort, the high school for the evening show, and printing/advertising costs.
We've kept registration fees as low as we possibly can. As you know, good talent doesn't come cheap; and this is also one of the nicest places to hold a convention, which also isn't cheap. Our thinking was that since a Cape Cod convention was so desirable, enough people would attend to make this financially viable, if not the first time then perhaps the second time.
Unfortunately, the support and longevity in the business, and huge mailing list of past and prospective attendees that Hank Lee had for the Conclave, and the solid cultural identity of an established convention, don't exist with OMI (at least not yet).
Over the past two conventions we've made many wonderful friends, and keep making more as new folks sign up to be part of "the OMI Family"! Most of those already registered for 2016 have attended both previous editions, which means this little convention is definitely attracting a "following".
It's been challenging to continue this venture, but we're proceeding with the Third Annual next April. We're not alone in thinking this just has to continue--it's too wonderful of an event to simply let die! Word of mouth from those who've actually attended has been fantastic, and OMI has some incredibly loyal supporters and "cheerleaders"! We give our sincerest thanks to all of those who are and have been in our corner.
However, continuing to produce this convention hinges on whether or not enough people register to attend. So far attendance has hovered around 100 people, and it has occurred to us that the remaining confusion over this whole Hank Lee situation might just be keeping people away.
Despite our efforts to differentiate OMI from the Conclave, we still hear our convention referred to as the Conclave. Please be assured that this is NOT an offshoot of the former event, nor is Hank Lee in any way involved. For whatever that's worth.
And one more thing!
Another misconception that seems not to go away is that you need an "invitation" to attend. You don't! People have said, "Well, I would have liked to come, but I wasn't invited." The name we gave this convention was our (what we thought would be, anyway) clever way of titling it so that it lends itself to the "OMI" abbreviation, ideally pronounced "Oh My". Yes, technically the performers/lecturers are "invited", just as in a golf or tennis "invitational"; but the registrants/spectators do not need to be "invited". Just register and pay, and you're on your way. So, by all means, consider yourself invited!
Perhaps we'll change the name to "Oceanside Magic International"...after all, we've had performers AND registrants attend from outside the US. Maybe a simple name-change would remove some of the confusion and hesitancy to register. What do you think?
If you've read this far, thank you! And please, help us continue to spread the word about OMI, which is actually becoming, as Jay Scott Berry mentioned after his appearance at the 1st OMI, "quite simply one of the finest boutique conventions in the world!" (Thank you, JSB!) And tell your friends that they don't need to keep away from OMI because they fear it has something to do with Hank Lee. It has absolutely nothing to do with him. Period.
And you need no formal invitation to attend.
The line-up is full, and it's another diverse, stellar cast of performers and lecturers! Do consider attending this THIRD Annual Oceanside Magic Invitational International Phenomenal & Friendly Boutique Cape Cod Convention (OMIIP&FBCCCC)--April 14-17, 2016!
Thanks so much for taking the time to read all of this! Hope to see you on Cape Cod in April.
--Angelique Steelgrave, OMI Co-Producer