Written by: Victoria Lopatka, Peak Associate
TanaCon – This Year’s Frye Fest
VidCon is an annual YouTube convention in California started by the Green Brothers, Hank and John. TanaCon was inspired by Tana Mongeau’s (a YouTuber with over 3 million views, most famous for her storytimes) bad experiences at VidCon, which she outlines in an hour-long video, citing that she was not made a featured creator – a special distinction at VidCon for the most famous creators – and was then kicked out for inciting “riots” of her fans.
TanaCon, named after Mongeau, promised to be better and “free-er” than Vidcon. Fans could purchase either the free “featured creator” tickets or the $65 “featured fucking creator” tickets, which promised access to a faster VIP line-up and a goodie bag worth “quadruple the price of the ticket”. (spoiler alert: the goodie bags ended up being stickers, a rubber bracelet, and condoms.)
Many fans stood in line for upwards of four hours, getting horrendous sunburns and becoming dehydrated and hungry. Then, a representative of Good Times(an event production company that promises to bring creators and fans together) announced to the crowd that the event had been cancelled. According to an article by NYMag, crowds began chanting for refunds, stealing items, throwing merch and trash around, and crying.
Many fans’ only experience of TanaCon was standing in a long, hot line. Those lucky few that made it inside found themselves wandering through meeting rooms and hallways in the hotel, mobbing confused YouTubers, and disturbing hotel guests. By noon, hotel security began kicking fans out by order of the fire department, who deemed the convention a safety hazard. When Day 1 of the convention was shut down, Mongeau said that the team was going to re-group, find an additional location, and make Day 2 great, but this did not happen. The entire convention was cancelled, with little information being shared with attendees. Some fans never even saw the inside of TanaCon.
Shane Dawson & His Video Series
Before the dust of the disaster of TanaCon could even settle, Shane Dawson (a YouTuber who has been making videos since 2006) was filming and releasing a three-part docu-series on his channel.
In part one, Dawson interviewed two young fans who attended TanaCon who were extremely disappointed with the entire convention and expressed frustration with Mongeau and GoodTimes. Part two of the series is Dawson’s interview with Michael Weist – the 21-year-old CEO of GoodTimes. Weist claims that the Mariott lied to him about the size of the hotel, and now he will lose “everything”.In the finale, Mongeau and Weist faced-off over Skype, hurling accusations. Dawson then shares some private information he gained access to, including a video where Weist and Mongeau both admit the Marriott’s capacity of a little over 1,200, shrugging the number off. Dawson reveals a contract that Weist signed, acknowledging a capacity of 1000 people. 5,108 tickets were sold, only 200-300 of which were free tickets, totalling to $325,000. Weist claimed there were 91 security guards, but Dawson reveals there was only ever 25 at a time. Weist signed a second regretful contract with a recently-started ticket company, Veeps, saying that GoodTimes was responsible to refund money for the event if anything went wrong.
My take on this disaster
TanaCon is the perfect example of what happens when two spoiled, immature kids try to throw themselves a “screw you Vidcon” party at the expensive of fans. Mongeau created the concept out of spite, not because she cares about her fans. It was never about the fans. If Mongeau cared about her fans, she wouldn’t have restricted herself to such a tight deadline and would’ve given TanaCon the time and attention it would need to be a really fantastic experience. She intentionally planned the convention on the same days that VidCon was being held, forcing fans to choose between her and other YouTubers that they enjoy watching. Not only is it incredible petty, but it also shows how selfish and narcissistic she is.
She claims her intentions were pure and fan-oriented, but while fans were outside, dehydrated and burning, she was goofing off inside the air-conditioned hotel with her girlfriend Bella Thorne and friends. If she truly cared, she would have went outside and talked to as many fans as humanly possible. But instead, she popped up on stage for only a few minutes and outside for a fraction of that time. Later, she attended her birthday party while fans cried in hotel rooms.
I don’t believe Mongeau meant or predicted for things to go so badly, but considering that she can’t even be on time for collabs with other celebrities, we all knew this was going to end in disaster. She’s not mature, organized, or dedicated enough to pull off something this big and shouldn’t have even attempted to create her own convention.
In fact, Mongeau has a horrible reputation for being late and disorganized. For example, in a video made by Channon Rose, she outlines how she waited multiple hours to collab with Mongeau, their meetup being delayed again and again, with radio silence from Mongeau. Did I mention Rose literally travelled to Las Vegas to meet Mongeau? Yeah.
And for Weist, where do I begin? He comes off condescending, fake, and manipulative, and that’s before you even hear about his horrible reputation. Mongeau should’ve done better research before putting her convention in the hands of this guy.
All Weist did was sign a bunch of unfortunate contracts and ignore room capacities, and now he’s crying that he’s going to “lose everything.” Either he intended for this to fail so he could make a Netflix documentary on it, or he’s just bad at his job. He, unsurprisingly, doesn’t seem to care about the fans of the creators he’s trying so hard to gain clout from.
How can anyone trust a guy who promised to take care of the food, water, goodie bags, and security then failed to deliver on all fronts? The least he could have done was to provide enough water so fans weren’t forced to drink water by the bottle cap. He comes off as pretentious and even more narcissistic than Mongeau.
What do you get when you mix a 20-year-old dramatic story-time YouTuber who couldn’t be on time for her own appointments if her life literally depended on it and a shady 21-year-old CEO with a Gucci scarf and a Segway? TanaCon.