Thursday, 31 March 2011

Convergence - the annual net.Goth party

Convergence is an annual Gothy get-together run by and for net.Goths, namely members of the alt.gothic and newsgroups (and other related Usenet groups). The event has been held since 1995, and was originally intended as a chance for Goths who usually only met on the Internet to spend some time catching up in real life.

Source: Google Images
The event was originally devised by two Chicago members of the alt.gothic newsgroup; attendance has previously ranged from under 400 to just over 1,500. There has been much debate about whether Convergence attendance should be opened up to members of other on-line Goth communities and/or members of non-Internet-based Goth communities. Planning committees have at times made effort to broaden the scope of the event, but there have also been those who have attempted to restrict advertising to the founding net.Goth communities.

Convergence is a 'floating' event - this means that the location is not fixed; instead, the event is held at a different venue each year. The location is decided by a vote by the net.Goth communities, in response to proposals from volunteer committees. All Convergences have so far been held in North America, although 2011's event looks set to take place in Mexico.

There is no formal Convergence organisation - instead the planning, scheduling, voting and events are taken care of by a reasonably consistent group of volunteers nicknamed 'the Cabal' (an inside joke about what Gothic Charm School refers to as the Goth Cabal, one wonders?). The Cabal are some of the longest-standing members of aforementioned newsgroups and are also responsible for maintaining the Convergence webpage and providing assistance to host committees.

These host committees are ad hoc groups living in that year's host city, who take responsibility for 'looking after' Convergence whilst it is in their area and ensuring that things run smoothly. A large percentage of these volunteers are expected to be members of the alt.gothic newsgroups.

In 2007 a panel made the decision to begin shrinking the size of the event after record numbers attended that year's Convergence. Before 2007, Convergence was rapidly becoming a full-scale Goth fest, including live bands, fashion and art shows, bazaars, club nights, panels and tours of Goth-themed locales in the host city. Since then, the event has been stripped-down to simply a get-together for said net.Goths, losing most of the additional trappings. Numbers have waned to under 200 attendees each year.


MissGracie said...

Whaaat? I did not know this about Convergence. I thought it was just a regular event for whoever wanted to go. I am disappointed. Why don't they want to be a big event? We don't have any of those over here.

Shiken said...

The first time I heard of this convergence I smirked. It seems to be a scheme to kill off the Net.Goths,(The ones that are only Goth while logged into there dark-user name).

And I may not be far off the truth as the 90's experienced the largest growth in LARPers and Net.Goths.
Though why would they now want to lower the numbers of the attendees?

Anonymous said...

Wow. That is very strange, indeed. And disappointing. What about those of us who are lowly net.goths not by choice? I dress up everyday (though my clothes aren't spectacular), and listen to music. But I (and I'm sure many others reading this blog) have no feasible way to attend clubs or events. I wonder if this is an attempt to kill off those people, too? Sorry to say it, bu that attempt may only kill the even titself.


Where can I find this Convergence Chicago? Is there any web-address for this place?

Shiken said...

@In The M and S

If you lived at the center of the earth (providing you could survive it) and all contact, except
through the internet, was impossible, you could still be very much a Goth. It's hard for one to say what makes another a Goth these days but by my books if you listen to some Haunting music while owning a set of black clothing (at least)
and most importantly you understand Goth Ethics and aesthetics, you're a creature of the night!

Net.Goth has two meanings, one is a rank on the Goth Test when you score high (the Goth test is a joke by the way, don't panic).

The other is when you meet a "Goth" online and when you go to meet them in reality they fall short of expectations. Though while in there display image they appear to be a handsome darkling, the truth us that in reality they wear large rimmed glasses with uncomparable acne, smells of pungent body odour and will refuse to break character from his Vampire the masquerade lvl.8 vampire.

I don't know you but hopefully you don't feel victimised by the term net.Goth.

ultimategothguide said...

@ Shiken & In the M and S - net.Goth also refers to a Goth whose main contact with the community is online; and simply Goths who are members of a Usenet newsgroup relating to the subculture. I have heard it used as a derogatory term but it isn't meant that way here. My local scene is small so I am a bit of a net.Goth myself.

@ Death of a Raven - the Chicago Convergence took place several years ago. To find out about COnvergence events check

@ Miss Gracie - I felt the same, I first read about Convergence in Gothic Beauty and alt.gothic was not mentioned at all. This is just what I learned after research. But the official website (see the address above) even refers to it as the 'net.Goth festival'.

I suppose there's no reason why they shouldn't have their own event; other clubs and societies have private parties too. I'm only disappointed because I quite wanted to go... ;-) could always join alt.gothic I suppose. Well, technically I am a member of but I've forgotten how to access it o.O

Perhaps the costs were too high for it to remain a large festival?

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