Annual science fiction convention to take place this week

Olivia Mohr

Kentucky’s longest-running science fiction convention will hold its 38th annual convention this Thursday and will run until Sunday. 

The convention, Concave, is a non-profit convention that donates the money exceeding its operating cost to various charities. All the workers are members and work as volunteers.

Members buy membership annually by pre-registering or registering to attend the convention. Concave does not provide one-day passes. Members pay for the whole weekend. Workers also pay the annual membership fee.

Concave takes place in The Greenwood Inn and The Jameson Inn and Suites located at 166 Cumberland Trace Pkwy in Bowling Green. The convention allows members full access to the hotel, which provides food and beverages and allows members 24/7 access to the pool over the weekend.

Concave has donated books to libraries and has donated money to several gifted-and-talented programs, the Horse Cave Repertory Theatre when it existed, the American Cave Museum, the American Cancer Society, the Alzheimer’s Association and other programs and organizations.

The convention does not feature celebrity guests, but it features a chili cook-off, an art show and auction, meals, a bonfire, a costume contest, impromptu activities, role-playing and themed parties.

Concave also features LARP, also known as live action role-playing, child-appropriate games and its house band Five Year Mission, which will perform songs inspired by each of the original Star Trek episodes.

Concave president and chairman Claude Miles from Bowling Green took over the convention in 2009, and it became a non-profit organization. The convention first took place in Bowling Green in 2010.

Miles said he believes it is important for Concave members to enjoy the convention for its own sake and money should not be the focus.

“I think that too many industries and too many aspects of our lives are profit-driven,” Miles said.

Miles’ parents introduced him to Concave at its second convention.

“I was brought as a young child at the age of six to the second Concave, and it got in my blood, and I attended again and again and again,” Miles said.

Miles enjoys bonding with fellow members of Concave and the atmosphere of the convention.

“I enjoy seeing people that I see once a year for that amount of time,” Miles said. “You build bonds and friendships and kinships, and there’s nothing else quite like it. I joke that we build a perfect science fiction utopia for about 72 hours.”

Concave vice president and chairman Brad Hall is originally from Greenville, Kentucky. He is in charge of hotel facilities management and helps run the convention.

Hall sees the convention as a way for like-minded people to get together and talk about the things they love.

“We’re just a community of like-minded people who get together once a year, relaxing and having fun in a stress-free environment,” Hall said.

Hall first attended Concave 21 years ago when it was in the Park Mammoth Resort in Park City, Kentucky. A group of friends with whom he played cards at the time told him about the convention and said he would love it and fit right in.

“That first year, I was hooked, and ever since, I haven’t missed a year,” Hall said.

Hall has made many friends at Concave, and he met his fiancée at Concave six years ago.

Gary Robe is currently Concave’s Treasurer. He is Concave’s former President and Chairman. He keeps track of Concave’s financial dealings and is in charge of Concave’s publications.

WKU’s Science Fiction Club, which no longer exists, helped form Concave in 1979. Another group at the time had intended to form the convention, but they ran into financial and personal issues and had to abandon their efforts. They turned to WKU’s Science Fiction Club for help, and the club formed a committee that put Concave together in three months.

“A lot of our people who come to this really look at it as almost a second family, so it’s almost like a family reunion,” Robe said.

Robe said he loves to watch people interact at the convention. 

“My absolute favorite thing is being there during the evening when everybody’s just out, and you can just drift from one conversation to another,” Robe said. “All weekend long, it’s just one gigantic chat room after another, so just standing and watching all these people from all over the place interacting with each other is the big thrill for me.”

Reporter Olivia Mohr can be reached at 270-745-6288 and [email protected]