The UK BiCon (more formally known as the UK National Bisexual Convention or UK National Bisexual Conference), is the largest and most consistent annual gathering of the United Kingdom's bisexual community. It is also the world's longest running bisexual community event.
While the format does vary, the common format is a long weekend over 4 days consisting of workshops, discussions, meetings and social events. Although being billed as a "bisexual" event, it is open to partners of bisexuals, supporters, non-bisexuals, non-definers, and anyone else interested in the issues around bisexuality. To that extent it can often be characterised as a nexus of the sexual freedom and queer movements. Each BiCon event usually attracts between 200 and 400 people.
In December 1984 the London Bisexual Group (in association with the now defunct zineBi-Monthly) ran a conference called "The Politics of Bisexuality" at The Factory Community Project in Highbury. Around 40 people braved the icy weather to attend and judged the event to be a huge success. A second event was then attended by over fifty people in April 1985. Unfortunately the venue used, the London Lesbian and Gay Centre, had just decided to ban bisexuals (and some other groups) from their premises. This did not stop the conferences which soon gained popularity in a Britain devoid of bisexual-focused events.
That following October the Edinburgh Bisexual Group took up the torch and ran an event called "Bisexuality and the Politics of Sex". This established the idea of conferences moving around the nation. The next was run by a bisexual women's group in London. By this point the community was starting to know what they wanted from BiCon - a chance to meet other bisexuals (and their allies) from across the country, discuss sexuality issues, relax in the company of likeminded folk and network.
Armed with an agreed purpose, for the next few years the conference alternated between venues in London and Edinburgh. Then in 1989 it branched out to Coventry. As well as being the first one outside the two capitals, it was also the first to be residential (previously, people from outside the host city had either booked accommodation privately or stayed with local attendees: 'crash space') and to use the name 'BiCon', in part because of the organisers' and venue's experience with SF Cons (Science Fiction conventions).
A range of cities and towns have hosted it since. Over time BiCon has evolved to fit with the needs of the community. The word 'conference' has been largely replaced by 'convention', but there is still a political and campaigning side to the event. In recent years the momentum behind the event has spawned a number of off-shoots, such as 'BabyBiCon', BiFest and the 'Bi Academic Conference' BiReCon, which have concentrated themselves on particular aspects covered by BiCon.
In 2002 BiCon hosted the first Cake Awards recognising the breadth of contributions made to the bisexual community in the UK. Further Cake Awards have been presented at BiCon every few years since.
A spin-off event BabyBiCon, aimed at bisexual youth (under-26's) was held in Manchester on 5–7 June 1998. It was organised at the Ardwick Youth Club by the group 'BiYouth' (folded in 2000) with support from a couple of local lesbian & gay youth projects. While attracting around 25 people, discussions of holding successor events in 1999 and 2000 led to nothing.