Being the chairman/leader/main field trash collector for 22 of the 25 years of Twin Lakes Star Party (1990-2014), I can tell you, I've seen a lot of things......only a very few bad things......we were very lucky and had no issues that warranted an insurance claim. Although, the first year at our new party site in 2003, a gentleman caught his foot on a root in the middle of the observing field and fractured his ankle. Funny thing? He was a lawyer...ain't no lie. He was cool about the whole matter and said he should have been more careful and mindful. That time was luck on our side.
Anyway, when, and if, things "return to normal, my thoughts are some of the smaller parties will have vanished. The bigger and biggest parties will have a reduction in attendance.
When the recession of 2008 hit, gas was flirting with $4/gallon, and in some places, more than that, a lot of parties took an attendance hit. Some even disappeared a year or two after that due to the lack of attendance vs. the cost of operations. We had an average of 85, and even over 100 during the big dob years of 1999 to around 2005. After 2008, our attendance was just a little over half from pre-recession, and gradually decreased after that. Some people lost interest, some got too old, some passed away, some moved to another area of the country.
But I think the pandemic has scared a lot of people. And with good reason. It's not something that is to be taken lightly.
Another thing that is going to play into the future of star parties are the astronomy clubs that sponsor them. Most, like ours, haven't been able to meet in over a year. I worry about the ultimate fate of our now small club and all the other smaller clubs out there. Again, interest is lost, people learn to observe and image on their own....and other scenarios that could bring folks to becoming disinterested in attending club meetings.
I certainly hope I am wrong, and hope some day someone can post "Ross, you sure were wrong with that prediction..."
Edited by The Planetman, 26 March 2021 - 10:48 PM.