Fans from around the globe flew to California in hopes of seeing their favorite YouTube content creators and celebrities such as Shane Dawson, Colleen Ballinger (otherwise known as Miranda Sings), actor Bella Thorne and of course, Tana Mongeau herself for the debut of TanaCon. On June 22 and 23, a conference held and hosted by YouTube personality Tana Mongeau took place at the Anaheim Marriott Suites in Garden Grove, Calif. intended to feature performances and meet and greets from some of the United State’s most popular content creators. However, fans were left disappointed after the conference turned into complete chaos and a major safety hazard.
The idea for this convention manifested from Mongeau’s hour-long video posted on April 2, 2018, titled “Why I Won’t Be Attending Vidcon 2018: A Rant” addressing VidCon, an online video industry convention. She announced she would not be making an appearance because VidCon had repeatedly refused to recognize her as a Featured Creator in previous years.
Being a Featured Creator allows an online influencer to lead workshops, speak on panels and perform all types of content such as singing, dancing, or whatever they may feel is entertaining to the audience. At the end of the video she suggested organizing her own fan meetup in Anaheim during the same weekend as VidCon 2018. One month later, she officially announced TanaCon to the public via Twitter.
The conference was to be held right across the street from this year’s VidCon. Standard admissions tickets were free and VIP tickets were to be sold at $65. Mongeau also tweeted that if fans did not have tickets prior to the event, they were still welcome to “roll in.” She announced that about 80 YouTube content creators would be present at the conference for meet-and-greets and performances.
Good Times, the management company that supported TanaCon, announced that registration for TanaCon would open at 6 a.m. the day of the convention, and advised potential attendees to arrive early. However, on the actual day of the conference, the ticket stand for registration was set up at 8 a.m. and the conference did not open until 10 a.m. There was one line for both VIP and standard entrance tickets. This created problems, as it allowed fans who did not have tickets to get in before ones who bought VIP tickets.
For the first half of the day, TanaCon seemed to be progressing without issue, but by noon the line-up outside the Anaheim Marriott convention center was massive, alleged by Good Times to have held about 20,000 people. According to the Garden Grove police department, however, on-scene police estimated about 5,000 people on sight, not 20,000. Fans said the convention center had a capacity of 1,000 people, yet Good Times Company had sold about 5,000 tickets prior to the conference and released a statement saying that they were prepared for 5,000 fans.
Nearing the end of the first day, fans both inside and outside of the convention were told that the event was cancelled. Panic ensued from attendees unaware of the cause of the cancellation. Speculation circulated that there might have been a shooter inside the Marriott. However, rumors were debunked after Good Times released a statement saying they were not able to progress with the event due to an alleged 15,000 unexpected people showing up to the venue, making the convention unsafe.
After the cancellation was announced, fans who were at the event started demanding refunds. Some complained they had paid for the VIP tickets, airfare and hotel accommodations just to attend TanaCon only for it to be cancelled.
Those who did manage to make it into the event also mentioned that there was no food or water provided to alleviate the California heat. Fans took to social media to express their frustration with the convention, occasionally accompanied by photos of the sunburns they received while waiting in line for TanaCon.
The promotional flyer that Mongeau posted to her Twitter account prior to her event.
User Krissy @Lovely_asf tweeted, “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.”
Another user, Lydia Bartlett, expressed her frustration by mentioning the effect that the conference had on her daughter by tweeting, “My 14 year old daughter had to push past her fear of flying, depression and anxiety just to come see you, we flew from Canada. I’m not blaming Tana we love her! But it’s very disappointing, my daughter is sobbing in bed and refuses to leave the room.”
Both Mongeau and Good Times acknowledged the complaints from fans about refunding their tickets. Mongeau tweeted “Refunds will be issued, even if I write the check out of my own pocket. Merch will be sent to ticket buyers, if anyone travelled far feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss compensation, from me personally.”
About a week after TanaCon, Youtuber Shane Dawson released a three-part video series exposing what happened at the convention, investigating footage of TanaCon as well as talking to both Mongeau and Good Time founder Michael Weist, allowing both to share their perspectives on what happened prior to and during the convention. Later, Good Times released a statement saying that they would be holding another event on Jan. 5 and 6, 2019 in Chicago and that fans could choose to get refunded or to keep their ticket and have it transferred for the upcoming event.