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People Are Calling TanaCon The Fyre Festival Of YouTube Conventions

"TanaCon was the scariest and the worst experience of my life," one attendee told BuzzFeed News.

Posted on June 25, 2018, at 5:59 p.m. ET

YouTuber Tana Mongeau's alternative to VidCon, "TanaCon," was shut down this weekend after she said 20,000 fans showed up. Those who attempted to attend the event said it was a total disaster.

once this first drop of free tickets are gone, we'll have a few more because i want lots of ppl to have a chance to snag them. the paid ticket offers line skipping, a gift bag worth more than quadruple the price of the whole ticket, private meet and greets & a few more surprises

Over the weekend, Mongeau tweeted that fire marshals had to shut her convention down in Garden Grove, California, after the large crowds became a safety concern.

The police told BuzzFeed News on Tuesday that the fire department did not shut the event down and that around 4,000 to 5,000 people were at the convention.

Authorities responded to the event Friday afternoon after the teenage crowd became unruly.

VIP tickets were sold for $65.

Neither Good Times Live, the company that helped to organize the event, nor Mongeau immediately returned BuzzFeed News' requests for comment.

In April, the YouTuber posted an hourlong video about why she would not be attending VidCon.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

For the last two years, Mongeau wasn’t made a “featured creator” at VidCon. (Featured creators have access to a backstage area so that fans don’t mob them roaming the halls.)

But Mongeau showed up to VidCon both years, drawing mobs of fans, and causing a safety issue. Both times, security kicked her out, and this year they told her she was banned for life.

In response to the ban, Mongeau decided to organize her own event, TanaCon.

People posted photos of long lines in the sun, disappointing goodie bags, and a venue with "no activities." Some said they were forced to wait hours just to get into the building of the event.

I wasted 150 dollars on #tanacon , it’s one hallway, one big concert room, and no activities. No creators are walking around like promised. We stood outside for 4 hours, just to be treated like animals. https://t.co/WlgiSvHqFs

Krista Wahlgren, 18, from Washington, told BuzzFeed News she spent $154 for tickets and that her friend left the event in tears.

"The worst part is that I paid for my friend and I to have a VIP experience for her graduation present," Wahlgren said. "Yet, she left crying."

Wahlgren described a disorganized scene the moment she arrived.

"We got to the event very early, and the line was already very long," she said. "We waited in line for four hours in the heat, with no water. No one expected to wait that long. Once we got to check in, a lady gave us badges. Then they gave us a TanaCon bag and we grabbed a bracelet, condom, and stickers off a table."

She said she and her friend then had to wait in another long line just to enter the building.

"Once we finally got in, it was just one hallway and a ballroom. However, we all got yelled at every time we stood in the hallway, so we were forced to stay in the ballroom or leave," she added.

Another teen, 17-year-old Dawn Morante from LA, also said she waited in line for hours, but never even got inside the venue.

"I had to stand in the sun for six-plus hours with no food or water," Morante said, while describing the queue as "insane."

Dawn Morante

Others online described a similar experience.

it’s been 6 hours waiting in line & im not even in yet 🤣🤣🤣🤣 #tanacon im just trynna see shane

These attendees even posted a YouTube video showing off sunburns that they claimed were the impact of waiting in line for hours.

Around noon, security supposedly started kicking people out.

this is a joke, waited in line since 8:30 got in at like 12 and now we’re getting kicked out #tanacon #FLOP

There was only one long line for both people entering for free and people who had paid for a VIP badge, which wrapped around a giant parking lot.

#TanaCon looking like a Justin Bieber concert

"The whole convention was a mess, and Good Times did not plan it properly," Morante said. "TanaCon was the scariest and the worst experience of my life."

Dawn Morante

Amber Conino Pellegrin, 21, tweeted her frustrations out over the failed convention. "It was kind of a mess inside and there wasn’t really much we could do because there was so many people," she told BuzzFeed News.

i’m livid. i’ve spent $1000 on this trip just to almost get kicked out, not be able to go the bathroom or get water because if i do i’ll get kicked out?? after being here since 7am??? like wtf. not mad at tana, but this is shittty & i’m so upset. #tanacon

"The event was made to sound really big and exciting, yet once you got inside it was one hall [and] a booth that was selling T-shirts for $200 to teens," another attendee, 17-year-old Shelby Ferrier, described to BuzzFeed News.

Ferrier said that she left the event before it was prematurely shut down.

People were particularly disappointed by the gift bags they received. "There was supposed to be a goodie bag for VIP with lots of stuff when in reality it was just stickers and a condom," Ferrier told BuzzFeed News.

“A gift bag worth more than quadruple the price of the whole ticket” “line skipping” “private meet & greets” righhht. @tanamongeau #tanacon https://t.co/OlQUrrSspG

"The people inside and security were both getting angry and frustrated and I felt like it was going to go bad and people would get hurt so I left," she said.

"Once we got inside we got pushed around by security and ultimately couldn’t see or meet anyone," Ashley Foster, 19, told BuzzFeed News.

"We ended up leaving prior to the event getting shut down. But I believe the entire thing was a huge scam."

i literally paid $70 for a condom #tanacon

The CEO of Good Times posted a statement Friday following the sudden shut-down of TanaCon, stating they will make "adjustments" for those who could not attend.

Mongeau was also captured shouting "I love you" to fans as security escorted her out.

Instagram: @dramashook

After the first day was shut down, Tana made an Instagram live where she apologized to people who didn't get in and said, "TanaCon inside was everything I said it was going to be."

Instagram: @mynameischipotle

People chanted, "REFUND! REFUND! REFUND!"

Mongeau said Friday that the event was going to be moved to a different venue to accommodate more people.

moving the show to a new venue within minutes away from this one that holds an extra 5,000 people and doing a free show with some very special guests!! tomorrow everything resumes normally & shane and i are working on some awesome cool stuff we luv u❤️

She said that "NO ONE EXPECTED" what she said were 15,000 unregistered people who showed up at TanaCon. "i love u!!!!!" she concluded.

100% it's my first convention and obviously we aren't ran by a giant corporation and NO ONE EXPECTED 15,000 unticketed guests to show up and rush!!! however meeting u guys all day & the wedding and stuff was so fucking incredible. i love u!!!!!

And early Saturday, the YouTuber said she was "in a security meeting" and that "everything will be made right no matter what."

guys. 4 am. in a security meeting. trying to make sure everything can be safe for tomorrow. keeping u posted as i know what we can do to hold near 20,000 of u and be safe. everything will be made right no matter what. never giving up. creators deserve a voice. for free.

But later Saturday, Good Times said it could not host the event safely and canceled TanaCon's second day.

Public Announcement from the Good Times team:

YouTuber Shane Dawson, who was supposed to attend, said he was "heart broken" over photos of peoples' sunburns.

Just found out Tanacon has been cancelled. I’m so sorry to anyone that came out here to see me. It wasn’t my event and if it was it would have been run differently. i’m heart broken looking at the videos of people waiting all day in the sun getting burnt.

Dawson posted an Instagram live video saying how upset he was, and that he plans on hosting free meet-ups for fans who tried to attend; however, "it doesn't take away the fact that they were literally scammed."

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

Apparently, creators like Anna Campbell were also being marketed on the website, without confirmation by the group itself.

Sooo I have been officially announced for attending Tanacon on the website..UNFORTUNATELY, this is a mistake & I cant make it because of previous travel plans. HOWEVER I am more than proud of Tana for pulling this shit off & you guys going are going to have the time of your life

A thread on the Tanacon tea/ what’s happening!! They are rotating people out because of the capacity issues #tanacon

A sponsor also fired back, complaining that its promotional goods were left in the trash.

@oh_hailey_ We were told all of our stickers, flyers and goodies would be in everyones bags beforehand. Not left in the boxes or on the ground and wasted. As a sponsor we paid for our goodies to go into your bags. #disorganized

The parking lot area was also left covered in trash.

anyone that thought it was okay to leave this much trash at #tanacon is trash themselves. me and alex cleaned though (: https://t.co/xqnMQEKMic

Some people seemed to be less than impressed with how the YouTuber handled what happened.

"You have to take responsibility for #Tanacon" Tana:

i’m livid. i’ve spent $1000 on this trip just to almost get kicked out, not be able to go the bathroom or get water because if i do i’ll get kicked out?? after being here since 7am??? like wtf. not mad at tana, but this is shittty & i’m so upset. #tanacon

After the weekend, people made a bunch of jokes about the event, like this person who posted a photo of aloe vera apparently in reference to the many people who reported being sunburned waiting in line to enter the event.

And lots of people compared the event to the Fyre Festival, the disaster of an event that promised luxury villas on a Bahamian island in 2017 but that instead stranded ticketholders with tents and prepackaged food.

Yikes... looks like #TanaCon was the Fyre Festival of YouTube conventions. 😳🔥

Good Times also recently addressed the concern about refunds, saying that they would be issued: “Our team and hotel staff were fully prepared for a five thousand capped event, however, we were unable to accommodate for the estimated fifteen thousand who showed up to support Tana’s vision."

Hi all - we apologize for the delay due to our team finding the best way to accommodate our TanaCon guests. Please read below for information regarding refunds. https://t.co/h3k1S31WAC

The page for the event has since been removed from its website.

Mongeau herself more fully addressed what went wrong in a Tweet thread Sunday, reiterating that they were not expecting that many people to come. "I didn't expect that many people to show up outside," she wrote.

if i let that security mess continue. thank you to everyone who supported me & my movement of the creators having a voice & meeting your favs for free. but i truly apologize for not executing it better. planning a convention for the first time in a few months was the most

"hi guys. i'm so sorry that it's taken so long for me to tweet these tweets. i've been thinking. working. i didn't wanna say dumb shit. i'm fucking nervous. but hi. i love you. and i'm an idiot, and i'm sorry," the YouTuber wrote on Twitter on Sunday.

"my intentions with Tanacon were incredibly pure & i truly thought that i had everything on lock. i was told a lot that didn't end up happening," she continued. "i was truly under the impression that we were selling to capacity & took it as far as speaking with several ppl very high up at marriott."

"but to be real- i didn't expect that many people to show up outside. which in hindsight was dumb as fuck," she said. "it was the same days as vidcon and i should've prepared better. regardless of if people were telling me different, tanacon is attached to ME. and i take full responsibility."

She added that refunds will be issued, and told those who traveled for the event to reach out to her personally for further compensation.

"REFUNDS will be issued, even if i write the check out of my own pocket," she tweeted Sunday. "merch will be sent to ticket buyers, if anyone travelled far feel free to email tanamongeauyt@gmail.com to discuss compensation, from me personally."

But fans like Walghren aren't entirely convinced they will see a refund.

"Tana herself keeps tweeting about a refund, but I haven't received anything," the 18-year-old told BuzzFeed News. "I personally don’t know if i believe her after the whole convention disaster."

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