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FanExpo: Fail

August 28, 2010

Instead of being inside a convention which I paid $60 for a 3-day pass, I’m sitting next door in my office writing this note.

By this time, the people I paid the $60 for are finished signing, and are gone for good.

The line is stretched from the CN Tower entrance, all the way around the corner, past the ACC.


The Metro Convention security staff had to call the cops for crowd control.

From what I can see, they are locking people out until a sufficient number of people inside have left, then letting less people than have left.

On top of this, there’s a protest across the street, born-again Christians are going up and down the line telling people that 2011 is Judgement Day, and they’ve barricaded Front Street (the only way across the street is at the lights).

All I’ve done for the last 3 hours is starve and take pictures. If I had lined up then, I still wouldn’t be inside.


They’ve oversold the event by a mile, and you’d be lucky to get in tomorrow if you lined up today.

Once you’re in, you have to stay in or never return.

Fanexpo, you knew this event would attract numbers in the six digits. You knew you had at least a half-dozen A-list guests.

I’m livid, offended, tired, hungry, and I can honestly say: I may never be back.

You’ve failed your fans. You’ve failed the community.

You’ve just failed.


I’ll admit this was written in anger, and I did eventually get in, but I doubt I’m willing to retract anything. I’m still angry.

To Fanexpo’s credit, they’ve extended hours till 8:00 tonight, but that won’t help anyone who was locked out for hours while all the top guests were signing. This was still the worst con experience I’ve ever had.

Even using the entire floor space of the North wing of the convention center, they were over-capacity most of the day, and still selling tickets for most of the day.

Guys, you really blew it this year. If you’re going to hype the hell out of this, you need to fix these problems.

Further Update

Fanexpo issued an apology today on their website. You can find the pdf here.

Fanexpo, I’m glad that you took this step.

However, you did it two days after the event finished. This should have been done on Saturday. You also should have updated your website with news and directions that day. Many of your attendees have mobile internet access, and you could have distributed information quickly, and defrayed some of the chaos.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. August 29, 2010 1:11 am

    Preach it, brother. I and my wife got burned the exact same way. And a quick Google search reveals that they pulled the exact same shit last year. I guess it was really profitable.

    • ramblebramble permalink
      August 29, 2010 5:43 pm

      Right next to the ticket booth, they are letting in pass holders, who can skip the line. They aren’t advertising this. I’m still really steamed. I was in today briefly to grab some autographs from Gary Frank, and then I’m done. I may go back near the end of the day, but this one was really bad. I won’t be surprised if there’s a lawsuit.

  2. Joey Jo Jo permalink
    August 30, 2010 6:59 pm

    The way Fan Expo is organized gets worse and worse every year. The organizers are really greedy mofos, how else does that explain overselling when it’s clearly evident that the venue is overcapacity? Do a google search on Hobbystar and you’ll find other examples of bad business practices these guys pull.

    I guess I’m lucky I got in on Saturday, even though I didn’t pay in advance. I stood in the wrong line twice, and waited maybe 2 hours to get in. Once inside I overheard about the people who couldn’t get in.

    I will still keep going to Fan Expo because it’s not the fault of the guests, artists, vendors, etc. that the event is badly run.

  3. Oryx permalink
    August 31, 2010 4:09 am

    I’ve been a patron of this con for 5 years now and never has it been this bad. Ever. I mean, it wasn’t perfect but seriously -there were cops -we never have cops!

    Also, on the day we arrived (Friday) we couldn’t get our passes until 4:00 when the con opens…which means that, surprise surprise, the line was hideous and no one really got in until 5. At previous cons one can get the pass a few hours early, nothing is open, but that means that you can go back to the hotel, get something to eat, check the guest schedule (which was hideously shoddy if not non-existent so one had to stalk the artist tables every few hours to find that the artist/writer was actually supposed to arrive tomorrow (or was cancelled))

    Also, the line up on Sat. was so long that they started putting people in the bike lane on the road while advising people not to walk out in front of cars…sort of ironic really seeing as they put them in the road in the first place.

    On Sat. my friends and I were warned not to leave the building because odds are we were never going to get back in. Lucky we got that advice because there was a Q&A panel we were going to that day and would have been pissed to have missed it. Sorry to those who missed it -it’s infuriating to say the least.

    This was the worst convention in terms of organization that I have ever been to in my eight years of con-going.

    Whoever was in charge of this con, should no longer be in charge of this con. Period. It made organized chaos look good.


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