FISM is the Olympics of the Magic world, I went to my first one in 2006 and thoroughly enjoyed it. The next one is scheduled for Beijing, China, and I’m keen to attend again. Each country hoping to host the FISM convention has to create a case, and bid for the honor of hosting the event, in 2006 it was down to three, one of which was China.
I think one of the major points for the Beijing bid was the use of the newly constructed National Center for the Performing Arts, a mammoth $400 million titanium and glass half dome. Housing a concert hall, opera house and theatre under one space, the venue looked amazing, and really seemed like a great home for FISM 2009.
However reading an email on the Electronic Grymoire last night, and checking the FISM 2009 site, it seems there has been a quiet change of venue..
New Venue for the FISM World Championships of Magic 2009 in Beijing
After multiple discussions about the best venue to host the 2009 event in Beijing, Mr Lin Jian, President of the organising committee has proposed to drop the National Grand Theatre in favour of the China National Convention Centre, in the heart of the Olympic Green in the North of Beijing.
Reserves and concerns expressed over the initial venue on Tianenmen square were the difficulty to organise a compact event with great distances between the different rooms (dealer fair, competitions, lectures, etc.) and the lack of hotels nearby.
The China National Convention Centre, which is to be home of the modern Pentathlon as well as the broadcast centre for the 2008 Beijing Olympic games, will allow a much more intimate event. Further details about the new venue will be released later on www.fism2009.org
This news is actually not on the main FISM front page, and is almost shown to be an after thought, raising for me some questions. Firstly did the venue have problems to start off with (lack of nearby hotels, venue too large?), and if it did, then why was it selected ? and secondly, each country bidding for FISM had to make a case for it’s selection. Delegates from around the world were shown the National Grand Theatre as part of the site inspection, and based on inspections and ability to give FISM a good home, Beijing got the vote.
Changing the venue with less than 18 months to go sounds very worrying, the majority of Beijing’s bid was around the ultra modern and sophisticated new performance venue.
We know very little about the replacement The China National Convention Centre and it’s my guess that no site inspection has taken place of this venue. I hope the FISM main committee will be updating us on the changes..
UPDATE: Magic Unlimited (Tim Ellis and Sue-Anne Webber) are also now reporting on this, and shed a little more light on the subject:
Though no official word has come out yet, it appears that the FISM 2009 convention in Beijing has moved to a newer and possibly more practical venue (with a hotel right next door!). You can take a look at the Chinese National Convention Centre and take a ‘virtual tour’ of it right here.
Having a hotel right next door sounds good, but with no official word, except the snippet on the FISM main media site, it makes arrange hotels a little more complex. It’s good news if the venue is more practical, but the Chinese National Convention Center site is all in Chinese, so it’s not that enlightening!!