SPX 2021 Faces an Unknown Future Due to COVID


At this point, the planning process for this year’s Small Press Expo would be well underway. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, that planning has led to continued uncertainty over the event.

In an update to the community, the SPX team has let it be known that the “only certainty we have for SPX 2021 is uncertainty”.

The convention is in a difficult position as large-scale in person events are booked years in advance which means there were already contractual obligations for 2020 and 2021 before everything went to shit.

Due to those contracts, SPX can’t unliaterly and preemptively cancel their 2021 event. They would experience penalties they’d have to pay the hotel and it’d jeopardize the future of the show.

So, that puts the convention in the hands of the Montgomery County, MD government. If the county says events such as SPX still cannnot happen, it makes it easier for the show to back out of their contract. So, the convention needs to wait to see what decisions the county makes before making a final determination on the status of the 2021 event. Last year, that decision was made in June.

SPX has vowed to do the following:

  • Stay in contact with MontCo’s Department of Health and other agencies to monitor them so SPX can see how they are reacting, or not, to allowing events like SPX to happen.
  • SPX will hold off the exhibitor processes of the lottery and invites until at least April. Sometime in late March, they will update the community on whether they will start the Exhibitor processes or not.
  • Room block information for reserving hotel rooms will not go out until SPX decides whether to move forward with the Exhibitor processes.
  • SPX will work with publishers on a slate of Special Guests with the understanding that they might not attend an in-person event but would be invited to participate in virtual programming.

The next update will happen in late March when we all will have a better idea as far as how vaccination programs are going and what the infection rates are.