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From left, Mike Tealby, Derek Pickles, Fred Robinson, Walter Willis, Bob Foster, Vincent Clarke and Ken Bulmer at the International Science Fantasy Con, 1951.

Eastercon 2.5, known as Festivention or Festival Convention and the International Science Fantasy Convention, was held in London over Whitsun, May 10–14, 1951, at the White Horse and Royal Hotel in London, though the formal programme was Saturday and Sunday only. The GoHs were Forrest J Ackerman, Wendayne Ackerman, and Lyell Crane. The committee were E. J. Carnell, Charles Duncombe, A. Vincent Clarke, Audrey Lovett, F. E. Arnold, Jim Ratigan, Ken Bulmer, Fred Brown, and Ted Tubb. Between 200 and 300 fans attended.

Festivention was intended as an international convention and also called the European International Convention. It was held at the normal time for Eastercon in place of it and no Eastercon was officially held that year. It was however included on the canonical list of Eastercons produced for Eastercon 22 in 1971 and only promoted out of the list in 1989 following the discovery of Cytricon III, if nothing else to spare the numerical embarrassment of having Eastercon 22 be the 23rd Eastercon.

The name was a tie-in to the Festival of Britain that year. While it clearly wasn't a Worldcon, it was more international than Worldcons to date and contemporary fanwriters did occasionally use the term, for instance Walt Willis in Quandry 8 ('If you are in London for the festival (and the World Science Fiction Convention, May 10th to 13th, 1951)...'), 9 ('Ackerman reported to be coming to the World Convention in London in May...') and 10 ('Further articles in the series "The Other SF" in this column will be delayed until after the World Convention in London in May...').

Conreport by Ted Carnell[edit]

in Bloomington News Letter (July 1951, which see for photos and International Fantasy Award details):

London, England: Over May 11th to the 14th, between 200 and 300 professional and amateur enthusiasts of science-fiction, rep­resenting eight countries, met in the ballroom of the Royal Hotel (London), to celebrate the first International Science-Fiction Convention ever held. Highlight of this largest - ever British gathering was a surprise award promulgated by the London Circle for the best fiction book and best technical book of 1950. The panel of critics chose George R. Stewart's EARTH ABIDES (Random House) for fiction, and Willy Ley & Chesley Bonestell's CONQUEST OF SPACE (Viking Press) for the technical award. Forrest Ackerman accepted the two awards on behalf of his countrymen.

The awards, conceived only two weeks prior to the convention, went on the drawing board immediately and a twelve-inch spaceship taken from the Bonestell design on the February 1951 GALAXY cover has been approved; It will be mounted on an oak base complete with ornate lighter. Actual awards will be fashioned of heavy chrome for the fiction class, and bronze for the technical. Owing to the shortage of time, exact replicas were used in place of the models — not expected to be ready for some weeks. It is intended that these awards will be made annually, and planned to embrace other fields of science-fiction, including the films. A special Fantasy Fund Award has been opened whereby any­ one may donate. At present, the Award Fund Committee are using the Nova Publications address. 

The Sunday afternoon (13th) session included a three-hour coverage of the S-F fields by all overseas guests; Crane, Canada; Ackerman and Jacobs, the States; Gallet, France; Abas, Holland; Ostlund, Sweden; Willis, Ireland; Paynter, Australia; and Arnold for Britain. (Cpl. Jacobs flew in from his station in Versailles, France.) In addition, Frank Arnold reported on the Italian and Russian fields, while Wendayne Ackerman spoke on the German. A proposal was made by Lyell Crane to set up an International S-F movement outside the United States and the United Kingdom.

The convention followed similar lines to American affairs in that two auctions proved it a moneymaker. There were debates and discussions by prominent professionals, and Milton Rothman's two soap-operas "Life Can be Horrible" and "Who Goes Where?" were re-scripted for British consumption with outstanding success. These and other major items were wire-recorded. Wendayne Acker­man gave an outline of dianetics to a packed hall.

Film shows each evening included Doyle's feature, "The Lost World", Tucker's cutting-room floor epic, "Monsters of the Moon", three short films brought over by Ackerman, and a technicolor rocket film supplied by Arthur C. Clarke. Science-fiction "art" vied with Victorian paintings adorning the walls.

This is a convention page. Please extend it by adding information about the convention, including dates, GoHs, convention chairman, locale, sponsoring organization, external links to convention pages, awards given, the program, notable events, anecdotes, pictures, scans of publications, pictures of T-shirts, con reports, etc.