Festival Policies

Our policies exist to keep Otafest a fun, fair, and safe space for everybody. Please see our official policies below, which are subject to change at Otafest’s discretion.

1. Definitions

  1. In these policies,
    1. “Artist Alley” refers to the designated location for the sale of personal artwork;
    2. “Cosplay” refers to the special event known as Cosplay;
    3. “O.P.E” refers to the Otafest Policy Enforcement department;
    4. “Otafest” refers to the Otafest Festival, it’s staff, volunteers, and representatives;
    5. “Patron” refers to any person attending the Otafest Festival with valid proof of admission;
    6. “Exhibitor Hall” refers to the designated location for the sale of merchandise. Some events call this room the Merchant Hall, the Vendors’ Hall, or the Dealers’ room;
    7. “Viewing room” refers the designated viewing areas for video programming;
    8. “Wristband” refers to the proof of admission used by Otafest.

2. General Policies

  1. The following activities are not permitted:
    1. Engaging in any activity prohibited by law;
    2. Any act which could result in substantial risk or harm to people or property;
    3. Engaging in disruptive and unsafe behavior that disturbs other patrons, staff, or the public;
    4. Sexual misconduct, such as indecent exposure, offensive touching, or sexual harassment;
    5. Physical or verbal harassment of the public or staff;
    6. Unauthorized vending, solicitation (including memes such as “will step on you for $_” signs), handbills, flyers, stickers, sampling, giveaways, etc.;
    7. Loitering.
  2. All patrons must abide by all venue procedures, policies, and bylaws, as well as all local, provincial, and federal laws and bylaws.
  3. Patrons should be aware that some programming at Otafest, including but not limited to programming in the main events room, panels, performances, etc. may contain bright, flashing lights and/or imagery that may cause discomfort or seizures for those with photosensitive epilepsy. Such patrons are recommended to consult with their physician before attending.
  4. Seating for events or in viewing rooms is first-come, first-served. Due to fire regulations, sitting in aisles and seating beyond the room’s capacity are not allowed, and Otafest must strictly enforce this.
  5. Alcohol is only permitted in designated areas within the event space. No outside alcohol is permitted.
  6. Disruptive behaviours caused by intoxicating substances may lead to removal from the event areas and/or revocation of admission. Patrons displaying outward signs of intoxication may be asked to leave event areas until such time that they are no longer intoxicated.
  7. Food and drinks are normally permitted, but please clean up after yourself. Please use available garbage bins to dispose of waste. Patrons will be informed if food or drinks are prohibited in a particular space.
  8. Talking out of turn during programming sessions or in viewing rooms is disruptive to other patrons. Please save your comments for outside the session or viewing room.
  9. In the event that Earth faces imminent peril by an attacker, Saiyan or otherwise, all patrons must willingly lend their energy to any life-force powered attack (e.g. a Spirit Bomb) used by an appointed defender of the planet for the purposes of protecting the Earth.
  10. Otafest has the right to modify, add, remove, supplement, amend, update, or revise any of its policies, without advance notification to patrons by posting such revisions on the website, otafest.com. Revisions shall become effective immediately and apply to all patrons regardless of the date their admission was purchased.
  11. With respect to some Otafest programming (such as cosplay contests) these policies may be temporarily overridden for participants of that particular session. The only persons that may authorize this override are:
    1. Otafest Chair,
    2. Otafest Vice Chair – Engagement,
    3. O.P.E Manager, and/or
    4. Cosplay & Contests Manager or delegate.

3. COVID-19 Safety Protocols

  1. Proof of vaccination is not required to attend Otafest.
  2. Otafest participants are encouraged to wear a mask covering their nose, mouth, and chin.
  3. COVID-19 safety protocols may be revised without notice pending government policy or at Otafest’s discretion.

4. Wristbands and Admission

  1. Admission to Otafest is a revocable license; it may be withdrawn, refused, or the holder expelled from the premises at any time for any reason at the discretion of Otafest.
  2. Proof of admission (wristbands) must be worn and be visible at all times. Individuals without wristbands will not be granted access to the event.
  3. Any patron who has their admission revoked will not receive reimbursement or refund of any part of their admission.
  4. A fee will be charged for replacing a lost wristband. Replacement wristbands must be authorized by the Admissions Manager, a Vice Chair, or the Chair.
  5. Please return any found wristbands to Otafest staff immediately.
  6. Admission is non-transferable.
  7. Refunds to admission may be requested up to 1 week before the event starts. Admission is nonrefundable after this date.
    1. The ticket processor’s fees are non-refundable in all cases.
  8. By purchasing admission, the patron accepts and agrees to follow all policies herein.

5. Attire and Costumes

  1. All patrons are required to dress in accordance with public decency laws while at the event.
  2. All patrons are required to wear footwear. Socks or bare feet are not acceptable.
  3. Otafest reserves the right to deem any attire or costume unacceptable and request the wearer to either change or make modifications as necessary. Refusal of such a request may result in the patron’s admission to the event being revoked.
    1. This includes but is not limited to “ahegao” attire as well as hate symbols.
  4. Otafest may request that patrons remove all or part of any costume that is bulky, difficult to maneuver, or otherwise presents possible safety issues for the wearer or other patrons.

6. Harassment

  1. Harassment is defined as any intentional behavior that alarms or threatens another person. This includes but is not limited to, unwanted physical contact, threatening harm, bathroom policing, sexual misconduct, intimidation or confrontation regarding mask use, or physical assault or battery towards staff, volunteers, patrons, and/or the public at large.
  2. Otafest will take action against anyone found to be displaying harassing behavior in line with the “Violations of Otafest Policies” section of these policies.
  3. To make a report, patrons can speak with any Otafest staff member or volunteer, who will contact the Chair (or a designate) to begin an investigation.

7. Liability

  1. Although Otafest strives to create a safe environment, Otafest, its staff, volunteers, and affiliated parties are not responsible for any loss, damage, theft, or injury while attending the event.
  2. Patrons are responsible for their individual actions and any repercussions that may result.
  3. Civil or medical emergencies are to be handled directly by the relevant authorities.

8. Merchandise and Theft

  1. All merchandise from Otafest itself, the Exhibitor Hall, or Artist Alley, must be paid for.
  2. Any patron caught shoplifting will be handed over to law enforcement, have their admission revoked, and refused admission to all future Otafest events.

9. Photography and Video Recording

  1. Photography/Video Recording is restricted in the viewing rooms and may also be restricted in other specific sessions. Patrons will be informed via signage or verbal instruction if photography or video recording is prohibited.
  2. No photographer, videographer, or journalist shall make use of any implement that rests wholly or partially upon a supporting device that is anchored to, tethered to, or in any other way deriving strength or stability from any source other than their person (e.g. a tripod).
  3. No photographer, videographer, or journalist shall make use of any implement that exceeds 24 inches in its largest dimension (e.g. large reflectors or light boxes). Body mounted stabilizers and harnesses are exempt from this clause.
  4. For safety purposes, photography, videography, and verbal interviewing is prohibited on or from any staircase, stairwell, landing within a staircase or stairwell, or within 1 meter of any venue entrance or emergency exit, elevator door, escalator entrance/exit, or bathroom entrance/exit.
  5. Additional areas may be designated as “no photography” zones without prior notice by posting visible material including but not limited to floor markings and/or signage.
  6. Photography of artwork in Artist Alley is not allowed without express permission of the artist.
  7. Photography, videography, and verbal interviewing is prohibited within the Exhibitor Hall except in designated areas.
  8. Usage of the venue’s power outlets is prohibited, and the offender will be solely responsible for any resulting charges or fines.
  9. Permission must be obtained from the subject(s) before taking pictures of guests, other patrons, or the general public.
  10. By purchasing admission to Otafest, patrons consent to being photographed and/or video recorded by Otafest staff and/or volunteers, and having those images used for Otafest’s promotional and commercial purposes.

10. Weapons & Props

  1. Otafest has the following definitions:
    1. A “weapon” is defined to be any item that: is designed to cause injury or death, or anything a person actually uses or intends to use to cause injury or death. Also includes any item which is designed, used, or intended for use to threaten or intimidate.
    2. A “prop” is defined as any item used by a patron to enhance their costume.
    3. A “prop resembling a realistic weapon” is defined as any prop that can be mistaken for a weapon by a casual observer at any distance.
    4. A “prop resembling a non-realistic weapon” is defined as a prop resembling or intended to resemble a weapon, but that would not be mistaken for a dangerous item by a casual observer at any distance. This would include props that resemble fantasy weapons, futuristic weapons, or stylized weapons.
    5. A “general prop” is defined as any other prop not resembling or intended to resemble a weapon.
  2. All props brought to Otafest must be inspected by O.P.E staff immediately upon arrival at the festival. Failure to adhere to this regulation may result in the prop being confiscated or revocation of admission without refund.
    1. O.P.E staff have the final say on whether a prop will be allowed at the venue.
    2. Inspected props will be marked in a highly visible way such that staff and patrons can tell from a distance that the prop is allowed for general use at the festival.
    3. Props that resemble a realistic weapon or that is otherwise deemed inappropriate must be removed from the venue immediately.
    4. All props are subject to continued assessment throughout the event by the O.P.E or event staff.
  3. Patrons may not throw any kind of prop at any time.
  4. Prohibited items
    1. Any prop designed to be visually or functionally indistinguishable from items classified as “illegal” or “restricted” under City, Provincial, or Federal mandate, is categorically barred from any Otafest event.
    2. Any props that may be mistaken to be a public danger by a reasonable observer at any distance are categorically barred from any Otafest event.
    3. Projectile Weaponry: No props, toys, weaponry, or props that are able to fire a projectile will be allowed at any Otafest event at any time regardless of the projectile. This includes but is not limited to: Airsoft, BB, paintball, Nerf, or any similar guns, as well as thrown weaponry such as shuriken or throwing darts.
      1. All other firearms/projectile weapons, props, or toys must have orange safety tips at all times on the venue grounds.
    4. Bladed Weaponry: Absolutely no metal bladed weaponry or props are allowed at Otafest regardless of sharpness or hardness of the blade. This includes but is not limited to swords, knives, axes, pole arms, or any other weapon or prop composed of metal.
      1. Practice swords (e.g. bokken, kendo, and other wooden practice swords) are deemed bladed weapons under this policy and similarly barred from Otafest.
  5. Generally Acceptable Materials. The following is a list of generally acceptable materials for the construction of homemade props. All items must still be assessed on a case by case basis by O.P.E staff.
    1. Cardboard
    2. Foam
    3. Wood
    4. PVC and Plastic High Density Foam
  6. Forbidden Materials. The following is a non-exhaustive list of forbidden materials for the construction of homemade props. There are certain exceptions that may be made on a case by case basis.
    1. Metal
    2. Glass or ceramics
    3. Plastics or composite materials that have been fashioned to, or that can hold an edge or sharp point.
  7. Patrons who wish to ask any prop-related questions prior to attending Otafest may do so by sending an email to props@otafest.com.

11. Autographs

  1. Otafest does not guarantee autographs from a particular guest.
  2. Otafest reserves the right to limit or otherwise cut any autograph line at any time.
  3. Unless otherwise stated, up to two (2) acceptable items per person may be autographed per line.
  4. Autographs on unlicensed or inappropriate materials may be declined.
  5. Patrons shall not exhibit rude and/or inappropriate behaviour.
  6. Guests reserve the right to accept gifts.
  7. Guest-specific changes may apply and will be communicated through official means such as: website, program guide, social media, and/or signage at the event.

12. Violation of Otafest Policies

  1. Otafest reserves the right to enforce punishment at its discretion against any patron who violates these policies. Such punishment can include, but is not limited to:
    1. A warning issued to the patron,
    2. Requiring a patron to leave a particular event, viewing room, or the venue,
    3. Revoking a patron’s admission without refund, and/or
    4. Barring a patron from future Otafest events.
  2. If deemed necessary, local law enforcement will be involved.