FAQ/T&Cs

Please read our frequently asked questions before attending the Sci-Fi Ball. And if your question isn't here, please just get in touch.

We can’t wait to welcome you to the annual Sci-Fi Ball. We wanted to send you this important information so you can make the most of our three day event. If you have never been to one of our conventions before, please don’t worry, as our mission is to make friends, enjoy our vast array of entertainment, activities and have some serious fun, whilst raising funds for the Teenage Cancer Trust

 

What is included in my registration fee?

Day Entry gives you access to the event between 9am and 6pm on Saturday or Sunday. This includes the exhibitions, daytime quizzes, trader stalls, guest star talks, autograph sessions and 'Photos With The Stars'.

With Weekend Non-Dining you also get access to the evening entertainment (Friday disco, games, opening and closing ceremonies and the Sunday Karaoke party).

With Weekend Dining you also get the Saturday night banquet and after-dinner cabaret in addition to the above.

The Gold Pass is our premier option and gives you all the standard all-inclusive has to offer plus the added features of:

  • Admittance to the star cocktail party with buffet on Friday night, which gives you the opportunity to mingle with our guests in an intimate setting.
  • Special souvenir gift bag (collected at the Friday cocktail party).
  • Priority at the autograph sessions.
  • Reserved seating just for Gold attendees close to the front at the talks.

All weekend attendees will receive a convention booklet. There may be additional gifts in your registration pack, but this depends on what we can arrange and we won't know until closer to the event.

Please note that hotel charges are NOT included and are payable direct to the hotel.

Where is the Sci-Fi Ball Held? / Hotel Information

Sci-Fi Ball 25 is held at The Grand Harbour Hotel, West Quay Road, Southampton SO15 1AG. The hotel has on-site car parking charged at £10.00 per day.

We’re a short taxi ride from Southampton City Centre, Coach Station and Southampton Central Railway Station or a twenty minute taxi ride from Southampton airport. We run from 8 – 10 February 2019.

Smoking is not permitted in any part of the hotel including the bedrooms. A smoking area is provided outside the hotel.

Room cancellation is possible up to 14 days before the event. After this date you will be charged for the nights booked. If you do need to cancel please let us know at the earliest opportunity so we can offer it to someone on the waiting list.

 

Hotel Room Check-In

If you have booked a room at the hotel, just head to the hotel reception desk where you can check-in. Check-in time is from 3pm on Friday and 9.30am on Saturday and Sunday.
 

Hotel Room Check-Out 

Payment is due for your room before you leave us. Please do not try to pay our event crew. Rooms should be vacated by 11am on the day of your departure (unless otherwise agreed with the hotel). The concierge can store luggage until you leave and book local taxis for your departure too. Please ask reception if you have any hotel queries.

Event Opening Hours

  Day Entry All-Inclusive and Full Weekend
Opens Last Entry Ends Opens Closes
Friday N/A N/A N/A 9am after midnight
Saturday 9am 4.30pm 6pm 9am after midnight
Sunday 9am 4.30pm 6pm 9am midnight
 

The bar is open throughout the day and to hotel residents throughout the night as well (subject to hotel staffing).

We open at 9am, Friday – Sunday and closes at midnight on Sunday. Day ticket holders should leave the hotel by 6.30pm. 

Admission to the event

 Our welcome & registration desk is located in the Mayflower Suite foyer where you can collect your welcome pack, badges and purchase tickets. It will be open from 9am until 4.30pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. They’re also on-hand to help with any questions or queries you may have and direct new attendees to special newbie welcome events too.

Attendees are issued with a badge and welcome bag at the event when you arrive. Please wear your badges at all times. If you lose your badge, please see the registration desk for a replacement (at a cost of £3). Convention welcome packs will be given free to all weekend and guest-talk ticket holders that contain a convention guide, schedule and a goody bag. Schedules/maps are available for all attendees. Registration desk opens at 9am every day of the weekend.

 

New Attendees

If you are a newbie to the Sci-Fi Ball, please head to our Horror Channel stage at 11.30am on Friday to meet with other new attendees and get to know about the Sci-Fi Ball and all we're offering over the weekend.
 

How can I find out when things are happening?

A full schedule will be provided in the event pack issued at the registration desk when you arrive. Sci-Fi Ball crew are available to answer any questions throughout the weekend.

As a general guide the traditional timings are as follows:

  • Our event starts on Friday with the opening ceremony at about 6pm, then at 7pm fun, games and a disco downstairs. Gold attendees are invited to attend an exclusive cocktail party at around 7pm.
  • Saturday kicks off at 9am with guest talks and photos with the stars. The autograph sessions are scheduled for 4pm. It's then time to prepare for dinner which is 6.30pm for 7.30pm. After the banquet it's cabaret time, followed by the fancy dress competition and the evening disco.
  • Sunday follows the same as Saturday during the day, with the closing ceremony late afternoon. Our final evening of fun, games and disco starts around 7pm.

SF Ball Ltd. reserves the right to change the programme as and when necessary.

Autograph Sessions

Autograph signings will take place in the afternoon at 4pm in the Marco Pierre-White Restaurant on both Saturday & Sunday. Gold ticket holders receive priority queuing. Purchased guest photographs, Photos with… & personal items are charged at the same rate per item. No cameras are to be used in the autograph room. You may bring your own items to the autograph sessions to be signed (Maximum of 5). Different guests charge different rates for their autographs.

SF Ball Ltd. reserves the right to change these prices and terms as necessary.

'Photos With The Stars'

On Saturday and Sunday mornings there will an opportunity to have your photo taken professional with our special guests. Tickets are limited and sold on a first-come-first-served basis during each session. You must sign a GDPR compliance form to allow the photographers to process your image. By attending our event you agree to the Sci-Fi Ball using and sharing any video and photos taken during the weekend for publicity and marketing purposes. All 'Photos With' are £30 per actor

Pre-Registration for next year (Earlybird Tickets)

During the weekend you will have the opportunity to pre-register Full Weekend or Gold for next years event. After the event prices will revert to full price. Payment at the the event can be made by cash, cheque or card.

Tickets are subject to availability with Gold being the most exclusive.

NOTE: By making your booking and paying your deposit you are entering into a legally–binding contract. You are expected to pay at least half within 6 months and the remainder of the balance by 24th December.

Flexible Payment Scheme
    1. The scheme is only available to those who have booked in advance at or before the previous Sci-Fi Ball.
    2. A non-refundable deposit of £40 per ticket is required to secure the booking.
    3. Refunds are not permitted, however if you let us know before 24th December you may be able to transfer the balance (minus deposit payments) to the next Sci-Fi Ball.
    4. The remaining balance will be split into 3 payments; due by the end of June, end of September, your ticket must be paid in full by 24th December.
    5. Failure to pay the full balance in time will result in the loss of your tickets and forfeit of any money paid.
    6. Post-dated cheque's are NOT acceptable forms of payment.
    7. All payments must be made in Pounds Sterling (£). Direct bank transfers, cheques, postal orders and credit/debit cards are accepted.
    8. Cheque's should be made payable to SF Ball Ltd.
    9. In the event of a cheque being returned unpaid by the bank we reserve the right to levy an administration fee to cover our costs. This levy and all outstanding money must be paid in full before admission to the event will be permitted. At present this levy is £8 to cover our bank charges.
    10. SF Ball LTD takes no responsibility in the booking of hotel rooms. You will be provided with a reference number to speak directly with the Grand Harbour Hotel to book your room. SF Ball Ltd cannot be held responsible for any hotel expenses incurred by attendee. Hotel fees will be payable direct to the hotel at the event and you will be asked to leave card details to guarantee your room(s). DO NOT SEND US ANY HOTEL FEES.
    11. IMPORTANT NOTE: By making your booking and paying your deposit you are entering into a legally-binding contract. You are expected to pay the remainder of the balance in good time, with the final date for full payment one month before the event.
    12. Any misuse of the scheme will mean your tickets are cancelled and may result in you being prevented from using the scheme for future events.

Dress Code

What you wear is entirely up to you, however we have a few ground rules:

  • You should dress up for the Gold Friday Cocktail Party. As long as you look smart that is fine. Sci-Fi costumes are also permitted, but please do not wear jeans or trainers.
  • The Saturday Evening Banquet is traditionally when many people dress up, either in fancy dress or a Ball gown / Dinner Jacket. Again, any smart wear is fine if you prefer. No trainers, sportswear or jeans (unless part of fancy dress!).

Basically, this event is for you to enjoy, so don't feel pressured… just go with what you are comfortable with. To get a better picture, why not take a look at the galleries under Past Events on the website. This has plenty of pictures to give you a better idea.

 

Saturday Banquet, Ball & Cabaret 

There is always a theme set for the Ball and you may interpret our theme as you wish. You do not have to wear a costume Black tie is perfectly acceptable. Jeans and trainers are not. 
 
You can order drinks for dinner at the hotel reception after 4pm on Saturday. Our photographers ‘On Location Events’ will be available for pre-dinner photographs to provide a momento of your costumes and black-tie apparel. Diners should make their way to the hall from 6.30pm, where you will be announced by our toastmaster and shake hands with the Sci-FI Ball directors, seated by our ushers and dinner will be served from 7.30pm. A seating plan will be on display in the foyer on Saturday. Dinner will be followed by a fancy dress parade with prizes for the best costumes awarded at the closing ceremony. 
 
Our cabaret will be followed by a disco until 2am.

Fancy Dress Competition

After the cabaret on Saturday, there is a fancy dress competition. We encourage you to dress up and prizes are awarded for the best child and best adult costume as judged by our guest stars. Remember each years event is themed, we spend ages choosing a theme that gives you plenty of scope for imaginative costumes.

To attend the fancy-dress competition you must be a full-weekend badge holder.

 

Sunday Night Party 

On Sunday night we have our on-stage gameshow, Geek-Heads - based on the BBC game show. A team of five attendees will challenge a team of Sci-Fi Ball crew super-geeks. Will our challengers defeat our super-geeks when they go head to head? After, Karaoke will run until 12am. If you would like to take part in any of our on-stage games, please let Brett Jones know by emailing him at b.jones@scifiball.com.
 

Art, Fiction & Photography Competitions

We run art, fiction and photography competitions over the weekend, so get your pens, paintbrushes and cameras out and get creating! Please hand your entries into our registration desk when you arrive. To enter our photography competition, just share your photos to Twitter or Instagram before/during the weekend and tag @SciFiBall and use #SciFiBall25. Ensure that all your entries have your name and registration number firmly attached or tagged. Entries can be emailed to b.jones@scifiball.com

Q. Who can enter the poetry/fiction competition?

A. Anyone who's registered to attend the event can enter.

Q. Can I write anything I want?

A. Yes, but the winners will be science fiction or fantasy in the form of short stories, one-act plays or poems.

Q. Does my entry have to be based on a TV show?

A. No. You're very welcome to create your own characters, or to write about characters from your favourite show. Or you can bring together characters and settings from several different shows. It's entirely up to you.

Q. So how do I win?

A. You write a good story, play or poem. In the play or story categories, the judge is looking for interesting ideas, good characterisations, preferably an interesting plot that holds together and a strong finish. In poetry, the judge is looking for good imagery, a well thought-out structure and creative use of language. Poems do not need to rhyme. There is no word-limit, but bear in mind that the judge want to attend the convention as well as reading entries, so anything over 4,000 words may not be read in full.

Q. Do I need to type my entry?

A. Yes, if you want the judge to like you. Please type it up and submit it on separate sheets of A4 paper (not perforated print-outs), preferably double-spaced for stories.

Q. Does my story have to be in English?

A. Regrettably yes. The judge speaks nothing but English and a smattering of Klingon, so if you want to be understood, stick to English.

Q. What if I don't win a prize?

A. Try again next year. Some of the best authors have been rejected many times before finally becoming best-sellers.

Guest Stars

We have been talking to many actors and actresses and other guests. Those that we have stated as confirmed have signed contracts with us saying they will be at this coming Sci-Fi Ball. Our guests attendance is subject to working commitments. No refunds are given if a guest is unable to attend, however if possible we will replace the guest with a suitable alternative.

Money Can’t Buy Raffle & Charity Auction

Each year we scour the galaxy to bring you unusual "Money Can't Buy" objects, incredible lots and Sci-Fi Ball 25 will be no exception. We’re holding a ‘Money Can't Buy’ raffle on Friday night during the opening ceremony and Saturday night during The Banquet. The Entertainment Team will be circulating with raffle tickets during these times, so, to be in with a chance of winning some truly unique prizes, make sure you have your purses ready. £1 per ticket (£5 per strip) and 100% of the ticket sales go to our nominated charity The Teenage Cancer trust, plus on Sunday afternoon at 12.45pm, we’ll be offering a charity auction with incredible lots – so bring your credit card or a bag full of latinum and let’s help raise vital funds for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

Charity Auction

Our host Brett Jones hosts our charity auction. All lots in the auction help raise vital funds for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

There is a charity auction where you can submit your own items. If you have items for the auction you must notify us in advance for them to be included. Submitted items shold be handed to a member of the Sci-Fi Ball crew by Friday night at the latest.

Please inform Vicky Bailey if you have an item you would like to donate.

SF Ball Ltd may restrict the number of items that will be auctioned

Auction Lists should contain the following information:

  • Name of person submitting list
  • Full description of each item
  • Suggested reserve price (if any) for each item

Please note that all the money raised by the Sci-Fi Ball charity auction will be donated to our chosen charity.

Filming and Photography

Filming during the guest talks, cocktail party, Saturday banquet and Saturday cabaret is strictly forbidden. This includes the use of mobile phones with camera capability.

The taking of photographs is permitted throughout the hotel, except at the cocktail party and the autograph sessions. We ask that in the interests of our guests comfort those using a flash camera do so at the beginning of each talk.

We reserve the right to ask anyone who does not abide by these rules to leave the convention.

Child Age Policies

Children under five are admitted free with their parent(s) or guardian(s). A meal is not provided unless prior arrangement is made.

Children under 14 are admitted at the child rate. If a dining ticket they are entitled to a child meal only, if they would like an adult meal a further charge may be payable.

Special Occasions / Announcements

We will be delighted to make announcements for special occasions such as birthdays, engagements etc. Please let us know in advance.

Cancellation Policies

Ticket Cancellation

Unless the event is cancelled outright we operate a strict 'no-refund' policy on booking cancellations. This is standard practice for entertainment events.

It is possible to carry over payments to next year’s event as long as the cancellation is made earlier than 24th December. The deposit is not included in the transferable amount.

Hotel Room Cancellation

Please note all hotel bookings will now be transacted directly with the hotel and not through the Sci-Fi Ball.

Room cancellation is possible up to 14 days before the event only losing the £50 deposit. After this date you will be charged in full for all the nights booked.

We would be grateful if you can let us know if you no longer need the room with as much notice as possible so that it can be offered to someone on the waiting list.

Returned Payment Policy

In the event of a cheque being returned by the bank unpaid we reserve the right to levy an administration fee to cover our costs. This levy and all outstanding money must be paid in full before admission to the event will be permitted. At present this levy is £8 to cover the bank charges.

Health, Safety and Security (incl. Costume Weapons Policy)

Health and Safety

It is the responsibility of all attendees and crew members to ensure the safety of themselves and others.

Any health and safety issue should be reported to the hotel staff in the first instance.

Security

You should keep your possessions with you at all times. Don't leave them unattended as it may cause a security issue.

We cannot take responsibility for any posessions lost or stolen during the event.

Costume Weapons Policy

As this event actively encourages fancy dress which often includes accessories of a potentially dangerous nature please note we have a policy regarding these items.

  • Any item prohibited by law is strictly forbidden on the premises.
  • People carrying any potentially dangerous items should ensure they are handled in a responsible manner to ensure they do not become a danger to themselves or others.
  • No weapon or other potentially dangerous item may be taken onto the dance floor.
  • If a member of crew or hotel staff consider an item is contravening Health and Safety rules they have the right to confiscate it. Such items will be stored away for collection on your departure.

I have specific needs, am I catered for?

We endeavour to be totally inclusive. Please see our Specific Needs page for further details

I want to help, what can I do?

If you want to help, why not volunteer to become a steward ?

As a steward, we ask you to donate a maximum of one hour of each day to help out, usually that involves checking peoples badges at certain parts of the hotel, and generally helping people (we'll give you instructions). In return for your time, you get reserved seating close to the stage in talks.

Our stewarding page can be found here

Please contact us if you would like to provide additional help or would like to volunteer to join the crew

Trader Rules

  1. SF Ball Ltd and its partners do not accept responsibility or liability if items go missing or get misplaced or are lost, stolen or damaged. Trader rooms are locked outside of opening hours. It is up to traders to carry suitable insurance for their goods.
  2. No bootleg, unauthorised web downloads, unlicenced, counterfeit or illegal materials are allowed to be displayed, bought or sold on the premises.
  3. The selling autographs or photographs of guests appearing at the event is not permitted.
  4. Trader badges must be worn in a visible position at all times whilst in an access restricted area.
  5. Your account must be fully paid-up before commencing trading.
  6. Unless a prior arrangement is made with the hotel the trader rooms open for setting up on the Thursday and the room must be cleared by midnight on the Sunday.
  7. Traders must not collect the names and addresses (e-mail or otherwise) of attendees without the written approval of SF Ball Ltd.
  8. Your area must be kept neat and clean.
  9. Traders may not 'sublet' their space to other companies or persons.
  10. The distribution of literature promoting other events without the written consent of SF Ball ltd is prohibited. Any literature placed without permission will be removed and may lead to your permission to trade being withdrawn, without refund.

Can't find your question here? Please just get in touch,