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PoleCon 2024 Black Girls Pole Showcase. People on stage dancing and in the audience dancing.

PoleCon 2024 Updates from the Survey

Thank you to everyone who took our survey! We read every response. <3

*this is REALLY long. Thanks in advance to everyone that reads it!*

This year (slightly less than last year) <10% of attendees took the survey.

It’s my first event like this and I felt overall the event was really well organized and there was soooo much to do!”

MOST of you still liked the venue! Hurray! Although some folks do like the idea of traveling. That is one reason PoleCon: West is coming. More options making travel easier for more folks.

PoleCon: West (to be discussed in detail in a separate post) will also allow for more people (more performers, vendors, workshop leaders, etc.) to be involved.

We are almost at capacity for this event in terms of people and are definitely at capacity in terms of space and time. Some people have asked for Sunday to go longer to accommodate more things and I just can’t justify that.

PoleCon staff, the AV folks, the vendors, everyone who is working 100% of the time is TIRED. Adding more to this event is unlikely to make it much better. Every year I look to improve the customer (you all) facing experience and also the back end so that the event is more efficient so that more can be done within the constraints of the space and time available.

There were SEVERAL repeat PoleCon attendees who saw the improvements we try to make year-over-year. We appreciate you! <3

“Please keep this going… I ALWAYS enjoy myself at Polecon. No complaints.”

“Each year I see PoleCon improve a little bit so I want to say thank you!! The additional aerial apparatus’ to try were amazing this year! Loved the paint party. Overall, I appreciate a lot of the detail and care that went into it.”

“This is my third PoleCon and the love that flows is so fabulous there!!”

“My heart is so full after attending! This is my second PoleCon and it makes me so happy to travel with friends, meet new ones, and exist in this amazing community. Thank you for creating this space for us!

With holding one event every year, we only get ONE CHANCE to improve things and previously that was additionally challenged by being in a different hotel and just in general different set ups ever year including different workshop leaders, vendors, general world situations, AND different attendees with different expectations.

This year being back at the same hotel was MUCH easier and allowed us to make some good changes from the previous year.

Still, some issues that were not issues in 2023 did come up in 2024 (music issues, showcases running late). There will always be challenges getting something this big with this many moving pieces to come together at the same time.

There are a few common themes found in the survey that we will address:

1. Expensive – Yes, the event is expensive. We’ve written about it before so that you can be prepared (please note, some costs have gone up since this blog was published).

We understand this event is expensive. It’s still cheaper than many fitness conventions or professional conventions and while some people appreciate the food and some hate it, the value of what you get for a PoleCon pass is often more than many other conventions.

Unfortunately, the world keeps getting more expensive.

The hotel/food/rental costs more. The exhibitor services (the people that make the “booths”) is more expensive. The truss vendor is more expensive. We advertised price increase for workshops which were raised for the first time since 2015. And yes, workshop leaders will also make more money from this increase not just PoleCon (because it costs more money for them to come to PoleCon too!).

We understand if this means some of you cannot attend, or that you can do less things. =(

To try and keep PoleCon affordable(ish) for all involved, prices will adjust slowly on different elements of the convention. For instance, some conventions charge vendors and sponsors a lot so they can charge attendees less. Because the pole industry is entirely comprised of small businesses, PoleCon does not do this and instead tries to spread out the cost of running the event over sponsors, exhibitors, attendees, workshop leaders, performers, etc.

Some people suggested grants or scholarships to the event.
-> That is something we may be able to do in 2025 or 2026.

Next year, workshop prices will stay the same. PoleCon: West (the new event) will have a slight increase in the day pass cost ($10), PoleCon will not increase prices on passes until 2026. There will be no increase in workshop costs.

2. Workshop leaders and workshops.

Unfortunately, some workshop leaders (paid and free) canceled last minute, and we had other people teach instead. We keep updating the schedule and notifying you about it so you can plan accordingly.

If you have specific instructors you’d like to see teach, please HAVE THEM APPLY. Applications will go out in September. We ENCOURAGE all workshop leaders to be VERY VERY CLEAR what their workshops entail so that you know what to expect. *This is a work in progress.*

There is unfortunately NO clear delineation in the pole world what is intermediate vs. what is advanced. We do our best to read workshop leader descriptions and apply a basic color-coding system on the workshops in the Cheat Sheet.

>> we get that comment ^ every year. Some folks overestimate their abilities, some underestimate. Some workshop leaders are very good about putting what moves are required to be successful in their classes, some don’t. We will continue to encourage people to put specific moves in their descriptions. We do know that while some of you can invert, you might not be doing it “cleanly” or in a way that promotes doing it multiple times in a row for 90 minutes.

For the 2025 events we will update the levels to remove “All Levels” as a level option and instead have greater granularity in levels to help people make the best decision for their ability. More detailed information will be available to potential workshop leaders when they apply.

Free workshop room >> we flipped the rooms from last year and put the free workshop room in a room that was almost twice the size of the 2023 room. Some of you noticed and were appreciative (thanks!).

Many folks though, were annoyed they still didn’t get in to all the free workshops they wanted. Unfortunately, we are just about at capacity for this event which is why PoleCon: West was created, to try and give people more options. We may have to actually cut off ticket sales to PoleCon in 2025 to make sure we don’t get overcrowded.

We will not be adding a way to sign up for the free workshops (this was another suggestion that we’ve received multiple times before).

Unfortunately, what we’ve seen from other free events is that folks sign up online months in advance, forget that they signed up, and then don’t show up (or don’t care to sign up day of because it was “free”) so then other people don’t show up.

“Although there was more space this year than last, it still was unfortunate to miss a couple due to them being full.”

“Nice mix of lectures and workshops!”

“Mucho talento en un solo lugar la oprtunidad de tomar clases con tantas personas que admiro.”

“They were suuuuper crowded but it’s worth it so the max amount of people can learn.”

3. The Food.

See #1, cost. Expect some form of grab and go lunch and breakfast option to continue that is similar to the 2024 food options at the Live! Hotel (we may be able to make small adjustments, such as a suggestion to add more calories to the salad option with potentially adding a piece of bread).

We like to provide lunch because it helps promote a sense of community.

You can hang out and meet new people and don’t have to spend time trying to find food in a location you’re not familiar with. It will be IMPOSSIBLE to cater to everyone’s preferences. If we did away with lunch unfortunately due to the cost of hotels, we would not be able to decrease the cost of the PoleCon pass. Soooo, we’d rather provide something to eat than nothing.

>> The above text ^ is (mostly) from last year, it’s still true and this year we did a better job of handling lunch options with a deconstructed lunch so that people could pick lunch (a lot of people don’t like apples! Who knew?) which “fixed” an issue we had with a non-vegan cookie being in the vegan box.

Additionally, the way contracts work with large hotels (to explain #3 in more detail) is that you either pay for the rental of the space or you pay for food and get the space “for free.” Personally, I would prefer to have food (even if you didn’t like all of it) then pay the same price and not have any food. I know this sounds weird but it’s how hotels work. We’ve tried to negotiate and see if just rental would be cheaper, or not include the service charge (ranges from 20-28% ON TOP of the rental or food cost and not including tax) but it does not. We also can’t have other food vendors come in like a food truck or coupons to local food options. The contract with the hotel (and this is consistent with all hotels we’ve worked with) specifies that no outside food can come in.

Some people liked the salad, some people hated it. That salad costs almost $50 once you include tax and service which I know is crazy! It’s how hotel pricing works. =(

“Food was much better.”

“The food was better than last year but breakfast sucked.”

“Saturday’s lunch, the chicken salad was good. “

“The options for dietary restrictions were really disappointing.

“I know food is always a challenge but I would say the salad day for lunch was WAY better than the sandwich day.”

Too much information

In general, every year, we publish a lot of information about the event, in email, in newsletter, on our website, on our social media, etc. And every year we get comments and see comments that “we didn’t know” about something and so expectations did not align with what happened at the event and that made you frustrated. The casino is purposefully confusing.

One survey respondent had some detailed and helpful thoughts about making the website and marketing information more accessible to neurodivergent folks or folks with disabilities. This is a goal of ours and is something we are working toward. It will continue to be a work in progress to make things more accessible while working within the confines of the online scheduler WellnessLiving. There was an update to their software this year that made it impossible to book workshops on their app and they changed a “widget” we have used for the past few years which also made things more confusing/less clear. =(

We have looked at other solutions to sell tickets/manage schedules and payment processing and unfortunately this is still the best option for the price that we can find. We did add more text to explain the schedule and we added an option for people to move themselves in and out of workshops which many/most people used without assistance. (hurray!)


This year, more than any previous year, several people commented on the showcases in the survey. Some folks loved the diversity, some didn’t see the diversity. Some people were frustrated that many people were repeat performers (this isn’t entirely true, here is the breakdown of new performers versus previous performers, published to our Instagram).

All showcases are curated. There seemed to be some confusion about this. Any showcase that does not have a named curator has been curated by PoleCon. The curators are instructed to look for diversity in as many ways as we have applicants, including in first time performers. If you don’t see yourself reflected in the performers, please consider applying (applications available in September) and encourage your demographic to apply.

There is no theme to showcases though, so sometimes a showcase naturally is more upbeat or less upbeat based on what individual performers decide to dance to that year. There has been a request to make a curated and themed show, but I’m concerned that it stifles creativity. Other folks say it encourages creativity.

Some people liked that not-well-known pole dancers perform while other people preferred that there be more “pole stars” performing.

Some performers had feedback about pole testing that we will look at improving that process.

“Loved how inclusive and dynamic it was.”

“I spent more time this year watching the showcases and I am really glad I did. So much inspiration.”

“All the showcases were excellent! I was blown away by each of the performers.

Report on Changes from 2023

In 2023 we committed to do the following for 2024. I’ve included updates in italics and bold of what we did.

  1. Working with hotel on more clearly labeled box lunches or separating the box lunches so that you can make better informed food choices. Lunch was deconstructed to provide more information and more options.
  2. Increasing the size of the free workshop room and the non-pole rooms (which will likely mean slightly decreasing the size of the pole rooms). We flipped the rooms and the folks that attended in 2023 appreciated and noticed the change.
  3. Eliminating the waitlist function for paid workshops. It was confusing to everyone. No waitlist. This made some people annoyed that last minute there were spaces in workshops that could be filled because people did not show up. Workshop leaders were annoyed that they missed out on revenue. I’m not sure we’ll find a solution that everyone will like with this issue.
  4. Improving sound quality on and around the stage for performers and viewers. We added speakers on stage so performers could hear the music better. Music was inconsistently loud, and we had unexpected issues with our AV team this year (they were the SAME team as last year but this year we had problems that caused us to run a consistent 15 minutes late, we are addressing this for next year).
  5. Encouraging teachers to use gender neutral terms (such as “folks” or “friends” instead of “ladies”) to more accurate represent attendees. This was a contractual requirement for workshop leaders. We have not heard of any issues but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.
  6. Encouraging teachers to put pre-requisite moves in their workshop descriptions. This will continue to be a work in progress.
  7. Mandating that all movement teachers are CPR/AED certified. This was a contractual requirement implemented this year. Additionally, we placed one crash mat per pole room as an additional safety precaution. PoleCon still maintains its own AED, its own medics (by the stage), and we added first aid kits in all workshop rooms.  
  8. Presuming a same or slight (10-15%) increase over last year’s attendance. We grew ~9% this year. We are almost at capacity for the Live! Venue which is why we have added PoleCon: West.

We are not changing:

  1. The entire event to cost more than you want it to including (but not limited to) the hotel, the flight, the food, the ticket, etc. Prices will stay the same for next year at main PoleCon, prices on passes will slightly increase for PoleCon: West. Expect main PoleCon passes prices to increase in 2026.
  2. Dress in layers for the challenges of hotel temperature control. (*this was better than in previous years!*). Some people mentioned it was too hot this year. This is a work in progress!
  3. Plastic wrist bands are here to stay. Please don’t take them off while you are at PoleCon and yes, you can perform with them on. We have tried fabric wristbands, and they frayed a lot. The reason we have wrist bands is so that people cannot share a pass and so they don’t have to check in every day.
  4. Grab and Go lunch. It’ll be about the same as last year.
  5. Gender neutral bathrooms in the PoleCon area (we’ve been doing this since 2019).
  6. Physical safety precautions. We added several additional precautions this year (see above). We are considering adding background checks for workshop leaders. This has been done in the circus and other fitness industry events to improve safety.
  7. We will continue to have a livestream for those that can’t attend in person. This year while the livestream did stream live, the playback was blocked for several parts of the livestream. We have no control over this. We will upload individual videos once we have them (which still might get blocked).

Changes for 2024

  • The AV issues were frustrating but because they were so frustrating, we were able to renegotiate some things with the hotel and will have our “regular” AV crew back! We hope this will keep things running more smoothly. I HATE when things run late (just in general) and it meant that the MCs chatted more (which some folks don’t like), it also meant that the staff running the shows (stage manager, pole cleaners, photographer, videographer, etc.) could not take any of the prescheduled breaks.
  • There will be new showcase options at PoleCon: West to continue to represent different demographic groups/styles of pole and we’re excited to tell you about them! Just not now =) There will be no change to showcases at PoleCon.
  • We will put a PoleCon information desk in the PoleCon “foyer” where the aerial playground is to help direct people.
  • We did put more signage out this year then previous years, there has been a request to add more, and we likely will be able to. We cannot put any signage in the casino though so if you get lost in the casino, that’s a purposeful design by the venue.
  • Work on improving pole testing experience for performers. We will still not be able to have a stage pole backstage though.
  • CPR certification provider. Last year we had a subpar experience so this year (2024) we tried a new provider who was even worse! We are committed to provide CPR certification and are looking for another new provider.
  • Work on creating scholarship opportunities (how to run it, vet people, administer, etc.) for 2025 or 2026 events to improve financial inclusivity at the event.
  • Work on improving accessibility (in marketing and during the event).
  • Update the levels to remove “All Levels” as a level option and instead have greater granularity in levels for workshops.


If you have other things that you’d like see or do at PoleCon, NOW is the time to talk to me about it. July through December is when the big scheduling decisions get made. January and after, it is hard to fit new things in.

Generally, if you want to see more of your community represented in performers, vendors, workshop leaders, etc. PLEASE APPLY!

“As it grows, so does the quality of execution. This is a huge accomplishment:-)” 

“It was a great experience overall and I can’t wait to attend next year!”

“I loved PoleCon this year. I had an incredible experience overall and really enjoyed the community aspect and meeting new people. I think logistically, things looked very organized and felt like they went smoothly from an attendee perspective. I’m really excited for PoleCon to be back in Maryland next year”


On a personal note, PoleCon is only ONE WAY to bring this industry together. It is not the only way. <3

Please be inspired to create your own events, businesses, groups, and other reflections of the community in the way that is meaningful for you.

The IPIA was created to help you do that and has many free resources for aspiring pole businesses or those already in business looking for additional resources.

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