Feral’s Registration Fees – A Quick Explanation

This article numbers reflect when it was written in 2010, and information may be out of date.

One of the most frequently asked questions every year is “What is the reason for Camp Feral’s registration cost?”  It looks pretty crazy at first glance: hotel cons can run $30 to $50, where Feral! has a regular camper fee of $350.  Now…most campers would tell you that it’s worth the cost (we’ve not dropped below a 97% approval rating since 2004!) but, that may not be enough.

If you are curious about the cost, we hope this write up is helpful!  Please keep in mind: most conventions aren’t as forthcoming as Feral! in telling you where the money goes.  Why are we going into it?  Because we acknowledge that our registration fee ‘appears’ high, and would rather you be informed than left in the dark!
First…before we get into things…I want to show you a chart:

(At the time this chart was created statistics on the 2010 and 2011 inflation rates were not available)
You’ll notice a couple of interesting things with this chart:
  1. Feral! hasn’t raised it’s registration fee in nearly a decade!
  2. Inflation and overall costs (including site fees, gas fees, and general costs for operations, workshop supplies, bus rental etc.) have been increasing each year.
  3. Thirdly…we’re still well under what inflation ‘says’ we should be charging you! Neat!

We are regularly trying to find ways to keep costs low while trying to maintain the same event standards as the previous years…hopefully even improving! Feral is run by volunteers, is a non-profit organization, tries to snug the line as much as possible. Now, the main question, why that much to begin with??!

The first answer is simple: we’re all-inclusive.  For the base registration fee you get five days and four nights of lodging, three square meals a day plus snacks, activities, non-material workshops, events, games, and scores of other entertainment.  You can theoretically pay registration and so long as you get to camp you don’t need a penny in your pocket!

Secondly, we have several big-ticket costs associated with an event like this.  We have to pay the site to use it, after all!

Plus, insurance for Feral is MUCH higher than even a hotel con that draws thousands of people.  This was the reason for our change to a 19+ event in 2008…current insurance costs tower over a hotel con…and it ‘used’ to be three times higher!!

Operations (radios, workshop supplies, first aid kits, cube van rental, off-season storage…), the conbook (really just a couple of bucks, but still a cost!), conbadge creation (same boat as conbook!)…everything costs something, and the smallest sliver of the ‘pie’ is used for these purposes.

We rely on donated service, Sponsor and Patron registrations, t-shirt sales and the raffle to keep Feral above water…all voluntary options for helping us out (which we greatly appreciate…like, hugely) but also bank on to try to keep overall costs low.

Now…to the big deal…how it’s a big deal in the end!
Let’s make some general assumptions…now, we understand prices could vary a lot in either direction…but if we compare Feral! to a general hotel con, you might see that Feral is a great entertainment value for it’s buck!
HOTEL:  Let’s assume you’re splitting a room with two friends, and the room is a great rate of $100.  The three of you each $33 each.

FOOD: We’ll going to assume that most of you would prefer decent meals at a con, and maybe some snacks and drinks as well.  Is it fair to say $25 for meals and snacks, and a lowballed $10 for drinks (including booze)?  That’s $35

Just here we’re at $68 per day! Feral! has only a per-day cost of $20 more!

Multiply that by four (the number of full days at Feral!) and that’s already $272.  I’m going to estimate $45 as for the hotel convention fee making it $317.

Now…does the hotel offer archery, wall climbing, a lake to swim on, or canoe on, or windsurf on, with writing and art workshops, a dance in a cabin in the woods, the opportunity to sit on a porch at 2 am and watch a moose walk down a trail, or the mist come off the lake in the morning, a diving tower, multiple site-wide games, a basketball court, two tennis courts, the freshest air you’ve ever breathed…

…and free fresh-brewed organic fair-trade coffee in the morning?

You’re not just paying for a room and for food…you’re having an experience that can’t be described in words or in dollar signs.  Most people who attend Feral! come back, and even if they can’t they still contact us, or talk about Feral! for years to come.

Hotel cons are great, we aren’t knocking them.  We’re simply saying that there’s nothing like Feral! on Earth and we don’t want a misunderstanding of our registration fee to get in the way.

If you have ANY questions or concerns about this write-up, we encourage you to contact us at campferal@gmail.com and tell us!  Nothing is set in stone, we’re just trying to simplify and inform!