RushCon is a not-for-profit, all-volunteer organization run by women.
RushCon was the brainchild of Eddy Maxwell (Texas, USA) and Phryd Wyyrd (Ontario, Canada.) During the band's hiatus in 1997, fans had a real lack of things to do and opportunities to connect. No concerts, no new albums, and the Internet was still in its relative infancy. We didn't know if Rush even had a future. Such circumstances gave these two friends the idea to create an event in Rush's hometown of Toronto. Fans could meet up and see all the Rush-related landmarks the city had to offer.
The inaugural RushCon came to pass in the summer of 2001 and it was a smashing success. Many friendships started, many of which are still going strong almost two decades later. As the internet progressed, we had access to message boards, websites, and the dawn of Facebook. The event continued to grow, becoming an (almost) yearly event. We would try to tie events to concert tours or album releases. Our audience grew, and people from around the world were now regular attendees. Our events featured people who have worked for the band in their inner circle, music biographers, authors, and many other interesting people connected to Rush. One of our frequent keystone events would be a Rush Tribute Band concert, along with days filled with traveling around the city to see & snap photos of places we only saw in music videos and album covers. We had game-show-style trivia games, karaoke contests, and raffles. Almost every tour, we were able to reward our trivia and raffle winners with Meet and Greet passes to meet Geddy and Alex, and front row tickets to concerts. Nothing made us happier than seeing the looks on their faces when we told them they got to meet the band. It was the ultimate reward.
One of our key events each year was our Charity Memorabilia Auction. We had so many generous donations of fan-made art, vintage collectibles, and more, including signed photos, posters & other items autographed by Rush themselves. The record company donated many unique and one of a kind pieces. The bidding was always a fierce competition, and there was a lot of tension and excitement in the room. Over the years, RushCon has donated over $111,000 to various charities such as The Daily Bread Food Bank (Toronto,) Care Canada, Japanese Red Cross Society, ASPCA, and the Gord Downie Fund for Brain Cancer Research. It's great to take home a cherished item while helping make the world a better place.
Though the band does not attend the event personally, the members and Anthem/SRO have been beloved partners of RushCon. They have supplied videos of the band made for us, auction items, passes and tickets for contest winners, and they’ve opened up their private office for our exclusive tours on many occasions. Their office is a museum to Rush. They dig out old props, costumes, awards, and other silly stuff that we as fans simply eat up. We couldn't do it without them.
Nights during RushcCon almost always ended up at The Orbit Room, a small music club in Toronto. Alex Lifeson formerly owned it, and we adored their staff and management. We would fill the small club to the gills, overflowing out onto the back patio. We had concerts there, dance parties, and drank our collective weight in Canadian beer.
RushCon has been featured in both Rush documentaries, Beyond the Lighted Stage, and Time Stand Still.
RushCon attended the final Rush show in Los Angeles, on August 1st, 2015. We took buses from downtown LA, arriving & leaving together. We put on a light show and thanked the band the best we could. It was a very emotional night for all of us, but being together made it a bit easier.
RushCon has been on hiatus since 2016, but we do feel like it’s time to get together again. Our hearts and minds are still craving the connection that only an in-person event can provide. Unfortunately, COVID-19 currently makes traveling and event planning impossible. However, we are waiting to see how things work out, and we promise to be back.