TanaCon: Disastrous YouTube Meet-and-Greet Full 'of Empty Promises,' Teen Fan Says
"There were some people who looked like they were about to pass out," said 19-year-old Krista Wahlgren, who waited in line outside for four hours.
Tanacon, a large scale influencer meet-and-greet held by YouTuber Tana Mongeau, is dubbed this year’s Fyre Festival as thousands of fans were left agitated, dehydrated and demanding refunds.
“It was really hot," 19-year-old attendee Krista Wahlgren told InsideEdition.com. "There were some people who looked like they were about to pass out and everyone was pretty upset."
The idea to hold an independent event started over a feud between Mongeau and VidCon, a popular convention for fans to meet their favorite internet idols that's hosted by YouTube brothers Hank and John Green. The event is hosted annually in Southern California.
In a vlog that well exceeded an hour long, Mongeau lamented about not being named a featured creator at VidCon despite having more than 3.5 million followers on YouTube.
That’s when she decided to host her own convention, which she named after herself.
The event, boasting YouTube’s biggest stars including Bella Thorne, Casey Neistat and Shane Dawson, was hailed to be free. Free tickets were sold out within two minutes. Guests who paid for a $65 VIP ticket, which came to just under $80 with taxes and fees, were promised swag bags valued at four times the cost of the ticket.
Instead, Wahlgren said she got a condom, a plastic bracelet, stickers and a phone grip.
"Everyone was really confused about that because, that was definitely, probably not even like a quarter of the price that we paid for the tickets," Wahlgren said.
Worse yet, it appeared organizers gravely underestimated how many people would attend the event.
In a video shot by Tanacon creative director Phil Shaw, swarms of teens could be seen in line of the parking lot at the Anaheim Marriott Suites, where the convention took place.
Many posted on social media that they stood outside for at least four hours in the scorching heat, and were exposed to sunburns. In addition, there was also no easy way to purchase water while in line.
“I know at VidCon they just have water out for us because they know it’s hot," Wahlgren said. "The closer you got to registration, the line kind of got submerged into a clump of people, and you had to fight your way to the end of the line."
The ones who made it into the event said they were confused and disappointed.
Wahlgren said none of the influencers advertised were present, and it was unclear who was eligible for a meet-and-greet.
Once Mongreau took the stage, the crowd was encouraged to begin chanting “f*** VidCon.”
Instead, some fans chanted, "refund."
“It was just a lot of empty promises," she said. "I was already kind of upset because I was just sitting on the ground, like what are we doing here? Everything that she said, I was just very annoyed by it."
At one point, Mongreau brought a couple to the stage and married them. The pair had apparently reached out to her via Twitter asking to be wed, and Mongreau became ordained ahead of the moment.
Rumors of management looking for a bigger venue for the following day died out as the event was shut down and canceled, six hours after it began.
“Some people said that they were [visiting] from Australia,” Wahlgren said. “I know people were really upset that they wasted thousands of dollars to go to this event."
In a statement, organizer Good Times apologized to fans, saying more than 15,000 unregistered guests arrived to the venue Friday morning and cited fire hazards for the abrupt cancellation.
“We do express complete apology for cancellation which was not at all anticipated and we understand the frustration that has arisen from the unexpected amount of response for the event," the statement read.
Good Times also ensured they will be issuing refunds.
"I’m more upset that like I wasted my time there instead of VidCon," Wahlgren said.
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