2nd - 4th February, 2018

The Grand Harbour Hotel

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Frequently Asked Questions

SF Ball Limited reserves the right to amend these FAQs as required. These FAQs form our Terms and Conditions.
Sci-Fi Ball is a trading name of SF Ball Limited.

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

The event is held at the Grand Harbour Hotel, West Quay Road, Southampton, Hampshire, SO15 1AG, England.

There is hotel car park charged at £5 per day.

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.

Event Opening Hours

  Day Entry All-Inclusive and Full Weekend
Opens Last Entry Ends Opens Closes
Friday N/A N/A N/A 1pm 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).

To mark the start of the Ball there is an opening ceremony on Friday afternoon at around 6pm, and we finish with a closing ceremony on the Sunday afternoon. This is open to all full-weekend and all-inclusive badge holders.

Admission to the event

Upon arrival you should report to the registration desk in the hotel foyer.

If you are a full-weekend or all-inclusive badge holder convention packs will be available to collect which will provide details of the event including the guest talks running order. If you have not paid in full you will be asked to do so before admission will be granted, if you are fully paid-up your badge may already have been sent to you.

All attendees must wear their badge or wristband in a visible position at all times so that the crew and stewards can admit you to the event rooms. Failure to do so may result you being asked to leave the premises.

If you forget to bring your badge, or lose it during the event, you will be charged £3 for a replacement at the registration desk.

How do I book a room in the event hotel?

Rooms in the event hotel are normally booked at the same time as ordering your ticket(s). Please DO NOT contact the hotel direct as they will not be able to help you. If you need to change your hotel booking please contact the event booking office.

When you book to attend the Sci-Fi Ball you can reserve a room in the event hotel. Rooms in the hotel are limited and issued on a first come first served basis. If we are unable to accommodate you we will let you know at the earliest opportunity to enable you to find alternative accommodation.

We fully book all rooms in the event hotel for the Friday and Saturday nights of the event. It will not be possible to successfully book a room by going direct to the hotel or by using an internet hotel booking agent.

Payment for the room is made direct to the hotel at the event.

Room cancellation is possible up to 14 days before the event. After this date you will be charged for the nights booked.

Booking, Payment and Confirmation

Booking on-line is the recommended method to order tickets and request a room in the event hotel.

If booking by post you should clearly and legibly give your contact information, which ticket types are required and names, and if a hotel room is requested, the desired room type and number of nights. Your registration fee should be paid in full at time of booking. If registering by mail we accept payments by cheque or postal order, additionally if registering in person at the event we are happy to accept cash and if registering via the internet we can also accept payment by bank transfer or card.

Shortly after your payment has cleared we will send you your booking confirmation. Your badge(s) will be sent in around one month before the event if you live in the UK, otherwise collect at the registration desk at the event. Confirmations and updates are sent via e-mail where possible. If you don't have an e-mail address we do ask that you send us two standard letter stamps if you require a postal confirmation.

All payments must be made in Pounds (£) Sterling (GBP).
Cheques should be made payable to SF Ball Ltd.

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.

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 the arount 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

All ticket holders will be given the opportunity to take part in the autograph sessions.

Standard Policy (applies unless otherwise stated):

  • The event guide will be signed for free if accompanying a paid-for item for the specific guest. If you only want the event guide signed, it will be counted as a personal item and will be chargeable.
  • All items to be autographed require a voucher which can be purchased during the autograph session. These vouchers must then be exchanged for the autograph at the desired signing table(s).

A maximum limit of 5 items per guest may be imposed if time is limited. Bags and other non-essential personal items are discouraged. No cameras, including mobile phone cameras, are to be used in the autograph room.

You may bring your own pictures to the autograph sessions, but please keep in mind that copied or fake pictures are not licensed and the actors are not allowed to sign them for legal reasons. Photos taken of you and the actor at another convention may be signed as the photographer (you or a friend) hold the copyright.

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

'Photos With The Stars'

On both days there will an opportunity to have your photo taken with the stars. Sessions take place at various times and full details will be provided on notices at the event. Tickets are strictly limited and sold during the session on a first come first served basis. The guest autograph is included in the price of the photograph which is obtained in person at the autograph session.

Please note that it may take some time for our photographers to print the photos, so ensure you allow plenty of time.

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. You must have at least half the amount paid by August, and full payment MUST be received by 24th December at the latest.
  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. If rooms are available at the event hotel SF Ball Ltd can reserve a room on your behalf. Should there be no rooms available you will be notified. It will then be your responsibility to arrange your own accommodation. 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, but 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.

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.

Poetry and Fiction Competition

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.

Come for the EVENT, not just the guests.

Charity Auction

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 must be handed to a member of crew by Friday night at the latest.

Auction lists should be sent to

SF Ball Ltd may restrict the number of items that will be auctioned. Submitting an item for the auction does not mean that item has been accepted as we usually have far more items than we are able to include.

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 supported 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. however we must be notified in advance otherwise we may not be able to assist you.

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 years event as long as the cancellation is made earlier than 24th December. The deposit is not included in the transferable amount.

Hotel Room Cancellation

Room cancellation is possible up to 14 days before the event. 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.


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 hope so, we endeavour to be totally inclusive. Please see our 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

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

Privacy Policy

Privacy Policy by SEQ Legal

We are committed to safeguarding the privacy of our website visitors; this policy sets out how we will treat your personal information.

(1) Credit

This privacy policy is based on an SEQ Legal privacy policy document available at www.website-law.co.uk. Commercial legal templates, including template terms of business for cleaning services, are supplied by SEQ Legal to customers around the globe.

(2) What information do we collect?

We may collect, store and use the following kinds of personal information:

  1. information that you provide to us for the purpose of subscribing to our website services, email notifications and/or newsletters;
  2. any other information that you choose to send to us.
(3) Cookies

A cookie consists of information sent by a web server to a web browser, and stored by the browser. The information is then sent back to the server each time the browser requests a page from the server. This enables the web server to identify and track the web browser.

We do not use "session" cookies or "persistent" cookies on the website.

We use Google Analytics to analyse the use of this website. Google Analytics generates statistical and other information about website use by means of cookies, which are stored on users' computers. The information generated relating to our website is used to create reports about the use of the website. Google will store this information. Google's privacy policy is available at: http://www.google.com/privacypolicy.html.

Our advertisers/payment services providers may also send you cookies.

Most browsers allow you to reject all cookies, whilst some browsers allow you to reject just third party cookies. For example, in Internet Explorer you can refuse all cookies by clicking "Tools", "Internet Options", "Privacy", and selecting "Block all cookies" using the sliding selector. Blocking all cookies will, however, have a negative impact upon the usability of many websites.

(4) Using your personal information

Personal information submitted to us via this website will be used for the purposes specified in this privacy policy or in relevant parts of the website.

We may use your personal information to:

  1. administer the website;
  2. send to you goods purchased via the website, and supply to you services purchased via the website;
  3. send statements and invoices to you, and collect payments from you;
  4. send you general (non-marketing) commercial communications;
  5. send you email notifications which you have specifically requested;]
  6. send to you our newsletter and other marketing communications relating to our business which we think may be of interest to you by post or, where you have specifically agreed to this, by email or similar technology (you can inform us at any time if you no longer require marketing communications);
  7. deal with enquiries and complaints made by or about you relating to the website;

Where you submit personal information for publication on our website, we will publish and otherwise use that information in accordance with the license you grant to us.

We will not provide your personal information to any third parties for the purpose of direct marketing.

All our website financial transactions are handled through our card payment processors PayPal and Stripe. You can review the PayPal privacy policy at https://www.paypal.com/uk/webapps/mpp/ua/privacy-full, and the Stripe privacy policy at https://stripe.com/gb/privacy. We will share information with card payment processors only to the extent necessary for the purposes of processing payments you make via our website and dealing with complaints and queries relating to such payments.

(5) Disclosures

We may disclose information about you to any of our employees, officers, agents, suppliers insofar as reasonably necessary for the purposes as set out in this privacy policy.

In addition, we may disclose your personal information:

  1. to the extent that we are required to do so by law;
  2. in connection with any legal proceedings or prospective legal proceedings;
  3. in order to establish, exercise or defend our legal rights (including providing information to others for the purposes of fraud prevention and reducing credit risk);

Except as provided in this privacy policy, we will not provide your information to third parties.

(6) Security of your personal information

We will take reasonable technical and organisational precautions to prevent the loss, misuse or alteration of your personal information.

We will store all the personal information you provide on our secure (password and firewall protected) servers. All electronic transactions you make to or receive from us will be encrypted using SSL technology.

Of course, data transmission over the internet is inherently insecure, and we cannot guarantee the security of data sent over the internet.

You are responsible for keeping your password and user details confidential. We will not ask you for your password (except when you log in to the website).

(7) Policy amendments

We may update this privacy policy from time-to-time by posting a new version on our website. You should check this page occasionally to ensure you are happy with any changes.

(8) Your rights

You may instruct us to provide you with any personal information we hold about you. Provision of such information will be subject to:

  1. the payment of a fee (currently fixed at £10.00); and
  2. the supply of appropriate evidence of your identity (for this purpose, we will usually accept a photocopy of your passport certified by a solicitor or bank plus an original copy of a utility bill showing your current address).

We may withhold such personal information to the extent permitted by law.

You may instruct us not to process your personal information for marketing purposes by email at any time. In practice, you will usually either expressly agree in advance to our use of your personal information for marketing purposes, or we will provide you with an opportunity to opt-out of the use of your personal information for marketing purposes.

(9) Third party websites

The website contains links to other websites. We are not responsible for the privacy policies or practices of third party websites.

(10) Updating information

Please let us know if the personal information which we hold about you needs to be corrected or updated.

(11) Contact

If you have any questions about this privacy policy or our treatment of your personal information, please write to us by email to admin@sfball.com

(12) Data controller

The data controller responsible in respect of the information collected on this website is SF Ball Ltd.

Trader Rules

  1. Traders agree to hold harmless SF Ball Ltd and any of its production partners from loss or damage of merchandise or injury sustained during attendance at its events. Trader rooms are locked outside of opening hours. SF Ball Ltd takes no responsibility for items lost or stolen during the event; 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 at 9am on the Friday 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.

Contacting Us

Full details on how to contact the event organisers can be found on our page.