Invited talents lament shortchanged crowd
Organizers vow refunds
MANILA (UPDATED) - CONQuest 2023 festival attendees arrived the SMX Convention Center to long lines, with event-goers waiting in queues formed inside and outside the venue for as long as five hours, as netizens and invited content creators themselves decried an alleged oversight in ticket selling.
While little to no complaints were heard concerning queues in Day 1 starting June, event-goers started complaining of lines which even went as far as queueing up for the escalator, and having to queue again for hours after re-entering.
Organizers later apologized for the inconvenient queues, vowing to compensate through refunds, as other people even failed to make it inside due to the long queuing hours they have to endure upon arriving to SMX.
Lines swelled up in the convention center, the major hub of the festival's events, with the end of the queue spilling over to Ocean Drive in Pasay City on Sunday.
Several con-goers told ABS-CBN News that the lines were so long that they had to give up their spaces and return when the queue freed up a bit.
Several netizens also decided to head home after trying their luck to enter the venue, as they arrived to the sight of long lines at the center.
“Kanina eleven or 10 napakahaba ng pila and hindi gumagalaw ‘yong pila like 12 or 1 PM. So lumibot na po muna kami,” cosplayer Mian, all dolled up as Lisa of Genshin impact, told ABS-CBN News.
“Sa time talaga and sched, sobrang hassle.”
A cosplayer who preferred to be identified as “Takashi” called the event “sh*tty.”
Christina, a Klee cosplayer described the line as the worst in her six years of cosplaying.
“Never po nangyari sa akin ‘to [before.]” she lamented.
Content creator Tuonto, on his alt Twitter account expressed dismay over the lines, exclaiming that fans "did not get what they paid for"
"It was 100% overcrowded and tickets were 100% oversold," Tuonto, a second time CONQuest guest, added. "I just truly wanted my community to have a good experience that they paid for and I know not everyone got that. I am not very happy," he said.
Fil-Am content creator Lily Ki of Offline TV on her alt account also echoed Tuonto's sentiments.
"I felt bad most of the time. I know there were a lot of people who wanted to see me and I didn’t wanna get in trouble with security. Getting so many messages of people wanting to meet, I couldn’t really fulfill all of it! I always appreciate the love here," she said.
Organizers started selling tickets as early as May 6, based on their Facebook account, with Saturday passes selling out by May 24, moments after the full lineup was revealed.
Day 3's tickets sold out 2 days later, on May 26, and refilled tickets in limited quantities on May 28.
The same day, they ticket selling on the day of the convention kick-off, starting midnight of June 2.
Sunday afternoon, AcadArena co-founder and CONQuest head organizer Justin Banusing apologized for the event gaffes, noting that the team "overpromised," as it listed an all-star lineup of gaming talents, content creators and events.
“I know you’ve been looking forward to this event all-year and it sucked that not everyone who wanted to experience CQ was able to do so. Worse is that I hyped it up a LOT – and hype means nothing when you cannot enjoy it,” Banusing said.
Banusing added that the team will try and compensate by issuing refunds for those who failed to enter the venue due to overcrowding.
“For those that decided to not show up today (and yesterday) or have not claimed their wristband, we will automatically send refund instructions to you within the week via HelixPay,” Banusing said.
Staff also distributed food to make up for the event's incidents.
Most of the events were held in the SMX Convention Center, with the panels held at Conrad Hotel, MOA Atrium and National University - MOA campus.