Disclaimer: this is what I know from my first hand experiences both at Vidcon and TanaCon- I took pictures and videoes throughout the entire event and researched and screen capped many tweets and posts that were posted throughout the events
pictures and videos from Tanacon supporting everything written here is in on Twitter @alexirob And instagram @cosplaymom99
Background for people who live under a rock and don’t know about Vidcon of Tana.
Tana Mongeau is a 20 year old social media star. She has 3.5 million subscribers on YouTube. She has tons of friends who are also influencers and creators.
Vidcon is an annual convention created by the Green brothers (Hank and John) and is a convention where fans can meet and interact with huge social media stars and creators. It started in 2010 and happens during summer at the Anaheim Convention Center,
Vidcon determines who they consider to be a “featured creator” . These creators are invited (not paid) to Vidcon. Meet and greets, panels and Q and A’s are scheduled. As Vidcon grew, the organizers adapted their procedures to accommodate the increased numbers of fans throughout endure that fans were satisfied with their experience. Many creators have millions of fans and of course there is no way for Vidcon to guarantee each fan will meet a particular creator. They set up a lottery system to avoid scenarios where fans stood in lines for hours missing all the other activities and still didn’t meet their idol. In the past few years, this system insured that fans would know who they were guaranteed to meet and allowed them to wait for a finite amount of time to meet that creator and then partipate in other activities provided by tons of other vendors and sponsors
Tana was not granted of the coveted Featured Creator title and still arrived at Vidcon in the past few years. She had a lot of fans and as soon as fans recognized her and she stopped for pictures, fans swarmed her. With social media and texting, her appearances caused mobs and unsafe conditions. I believe there were times when Security asked her to leave and escorted her off the premises.
Tana really does love her fans and always has had a huge heart and wanted to be able to meet her fans. Being excluded and asked to leave was devastating for her.
In May 2018, as Vidcon was approaching Tana decided to have her own convention TanaCon. It would be a “f*ck Vidcon / Anti Vidcon / Anti Establishment Con !
She wanted it to be inclusive and even insisted on s certain number of free tickets for fans. Vidcon ticket prices have been going up each year and are about $200 pricing out many teens and young adults.
As I mentioned, she knows and is friends with some of the most popular YouTubers and social media stars out there and to show their support, they, one by one, agreed to be part of TanaCon. Colleen Ballinger / Miranda Sings wanted to come. So did so many others who were Tana’s friends and who also were attracted by the idea of inclusion for smaller creators as well as fans who couldn’t afford Vidcon.
Shane Dawson who has 14 MILLION subscribers on You Tube signed on to attend TanaCon. Tana often confessed that she was young and inexperienced in planning events. She teamed up with Good Times Live / Good Times Show whose CEO is a 21 year old named Michael Weist to organize the event the same weekend as Vidcon (June 22-23 2018) in Anaheim. She only had a month to plan and execute the event.
Through Tana’s , Shane’s, Good Times Show’s and other popular social media personalities’ accounts fans learned that they would be able to meet their idols for free with a Featured Creator (the title Vidcon denied her) or pay $65 for a Featured F*cking Creator which promised private meet ups, photo ops, front of the line, messages from creators and gift bags worth quadruple the cost of the ticket.” 6 X $65 = $260,
Tana’s message and dream was that this event would allow anyone to meet their idols without worrying about cost or status.
Free tickets were offered and quickly “sold out”. Good Times then set up Meet Up reservations on their website which quickly “sold out”. All through this, Tana tweeted that fans shouldn’t worry and that additional meet ups would be arranged that creators would be “walking around”. Shane even tweeted that if fans saw him walking around they could ask him for a picture.
At one point a fan tweeted something like “I have tickets for Vidcon” Tana replied, “My event is free so just roll though.”
Fast forward to the Thursday before TanaCon. We arrived at the hosting hotel (Anaheim Marriott Suites). We noticed that the entire event was being set up in one hallway of the small hotel. For perspective, Vidcon takes place at the Anaheim convention center. Many activities happen in the area outside as well.
A quick google search shows that this venue can accommodate about 1,000 guests for events. The ballroom holds about 500 and the little rooms hold 50-60 people.
We spoke to the hotel representative who expressed surprise that the event was targeted to fans of creators who had millions of followers. We were told that TanaCon hire a security company and the hotel hired their own. As we drove around we saw tents and barricades set up. The hotel rep said they expected 5,000-6,000 and that fans would be lining up between 2-6 am.
We arrived at 6 am and about 500 fans were already lined up in the queue. The first fans went through getting badges at 8:30. It appeared about 90 % of people had the $65 tickets and were given an orange pass.
At 8:30 fans passed through pat downs and bag checks (no metal detectors). They then waited in another queue outside the doors. More fans arrived and soon the gift bags ran out. The gift bags contained a “Tanacondom, a pop phone holder and stickers.
At at one point Tana came out to take pictures with some fans but it was far away from the tents and where most fans were waiting,
At 10 am fans were allowed in to the venue. I watched from the lobby as fans walked by the 3-5 booths and ballroom, meet up rooms and expected to experience the promised amazing TanaCon up ahead. Security guards said “This is the exit.” to confused guests. They thought the guards were mistaken and showed their badges. “We’re here for TanaCon” Security pointed behind them and said, “That’s TanaCon”.
Tana came to the mainstage and welcomed the crowd and led a “F*ck Vidcon” chant in the Crystal ballroom which was the biggest space and held about 450 people. At about 12 there was a panel and about 1 Tana officiated a wedding.
Tana’s girlsfriend Bella Thorne had a booth called Filthy Fangs which featured $200 t-shirts.
The space was so small and hundreds of fans were outside. Security wanted fans who had come in at 10 to leave and go back around to the parking lot. Fans weren’t having that and went as far as the lobby them stayed. Tana’s Creator friends including Shane Dawson had mentioned they’d be walking around and they’d stop for pictures. After waiting 5-7 hours to get in, fans weren’t willing to take the risk of leaving.
Fans were getting frustrated seeing how small the event actually was anc many weren’t getting in. Some favs were getting frustrated and jumping barriers, pushing against the door, pushing, etc. The hotel and security called the Garden Grove police to clear the lobby. It wasn’t ever a Fire Marshall issue. There was no permit required since the event was supposed To be contained within the Marriott,
Fans were told to leave unless they were hotel guests and to go take their rooms if they were guests,
At some point in here Tana tweeted that she was so surprised that “20,000” fans showed up to “MY event to support ME”
About an hour later a representative firm TanaCon spoke to the crowd in the parking lot assuring us that a bigger venue that could accommodate “thousands and thousands of people” was secured for the next day and all meet and greets would be rescheduled and helmets the Saturday. People started shouted “Refunds”.
Fans dispersed. Some smaller creators cans out to meet fans. Tana and Goodtimes blamed the “15,000” people without tickets as the reason the event was shut down.
Fans dispersed and came back the next morning at 4-5 am. Security said the entire event was cancelled. There was never any info about the 2nd venue. At 4 a.m. Tana tweeted she was in a meeting working to keep everyone safe. At 5:30 GoodTimes tweeted that the event was officially cancelled due to the unexpected crowds and security concerns for the creators.
Fans lingered in shock and stranded many had paid for hotel reservations and flights and had no where to go.
So many of the teens and young adults believed in this event and thought wholeheartedly that they’d be meeting all or at least several of their favorite creators. So many had such heart wrenching stories about how their favorite creators helped them with anxiety of depression. Many thought they would be meeting the person that saved or changed their life. Some fans flew from Canada, New Jersey, Texas because they believed in the tweets and messages they received from Tana and GoodTimesShow.
At about 2 on Saturday Michael Weist cans out and told whoever was left that he was sorry and that they would be issuing refunds for the price of the tickets.
Tana, who celebrated her 20th birthday during the weekend of the event, teeeted that she felt awful and that she planned to make it up to fans and reimburse them fir their travel expenses abc send them merchandise. Shane and James Charles who are her friends have tweeted in support of her but also suggesting they saw this coming and that Tana wasn’t listening. Tana expressed her appreciation.
Good Times and Tana continue to blame the failure of the event on the unexpected “15,000” extra, unticketed people but pictures and the police report suggest only 4,000-5,000 people showed up. The venue and event could not accommodate the number of ticketed fans. That’s the true issue. When Tana and Goodtimes acknowledge this fact they can work towards solutions and work towards possibly working on a future event.