Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Let's Talk: Hello World Live

Hello World Live 2017

So, I'm in two minds about writing this post. It's sometimes really tough being a blogger as well as being a YouTube "viewer". It's like as a normal individual, you have the free will to voice whatever opinions you wish to but as a blogger, it seems like there is an unwritten rule that you should worship certain YouTubers and you should keep all negative opinions to yourself...but I think that's incredibly fake and one of the reasons I had a two year blogging hiatus and when I returned I promised I'd be completely myself. I did write a couple of tweets a few days ago about Hello World  and was then contacted by a journalist for comment, as I didn't personally attend the event, I felt like it wasn't really my place to say anything, it should be left to the actual attendees to vent their frustrations and make their voices heard. Sometimes on Twitter, there is so much you want to say on certain topics but the 140 character limit kind of silences you or entices you to create a large thread that clogs up everyone's feed. So instead, I thought I'd write a post on it and that way, you can read if you're interested or give it a miss if you couldn't care less.

What is Hello World?
Hello World Live was marketed as an event like nothing else on earth. An immersive four-hour live show, bringing the world's biggest YouTube "talent" and you together under one roof for an "unforgettable" experience. As well as this, there is 'Main Street' which is laid out like its own little town with shops, funfair rides, a zen garden, cinema, spa and a whole lot more. The YouTube lineup included Zoella, Joe Sugg, Tyler Oakley, KSI, Rose and Rosie, Jim Chapman, Marcus Butler, Alfie Deyes, Casper Lee, Louise Pentland, Oli White, Saffron Barker, Mark Ferris, Lucy and Lydia, Jake Mitchell, Jack Maynard, Josh Pieters, Tom Daley, Janavlogs, Bethan Leadley, Connie Glynn etc... (Full list on their website)

Enter HelloWorld and take a stroll down Main Street, listen to live music, learn a fresh new dance routine, watch an epic comedy show and meet your neighbours, just make sure you get to the giant Emoji House as the sun sets, night falls and our world enters its second act."

The main creators announced Hello World and tickets went on sale at the end of June and there were three different options to choose from:

Seating: which were priced at £31.98 each but didn't allow entry to 'Main Street.' and you couldn't arrive before 3pm.

Standing: which were priced at £56.27 each and gave you access to 'Main Street' and the stage show.

and then there was VIP Standing: which were priced at £112.77 each and this gave you an exclusive onstage greeting from the YouTubers, a guided tour from one of the main stars, who you'll be able to get a selfie and autograph from, as well as a VIP goodie bag which includes a t-shirt and signed poster or newspaper.

Hello World Live 2017

As soon as this event was announced, I saw that there was a slight backlash and this was primarily due to the fact that the main stars of this event are people that have completely boycotted Summer in the City, which is another YouTube convention but is very well organised and has been running for eight years. I always asked certain people why the likes of Zoella stopped attending SitC and I was always met with the reply of "because they don't get paid a fee" but as they're always under scrutiny and the subject of hate comments, I kind of brushed it off and gave them the benefit of the doubt and when I saw the trailer/announcement video for Hello World Live, I didn't think it looked that bad. I personally wouldn't want to go but for those that did, I thought it looked like fun. Over the coming months, if you watched any of their videos or followed them on social media, it's all you heard about, it was constantly plugged and hyped so this kind of tricked me into thinking it would be something special.

Hello World Live 2017

I think the idea behind it was amazing but very ambitious for a first-time event. The things they were promising were like no other YouTube convention around, they even said: "something like this has never been done before" and it really did sound like the dream if you're a fan of these Youtubers or events such as these. One of the most off-putting aspects of conventions, in my opinion, is the queuing up, it's just a lot to queue up for hours and hours for a 20-second meet and greet and that's what was going to be so great about Hello World because they said "it's definitely not an event where you'll be spending hours and hours queuing up and being bored out of your brains, you'll be having fun" and although this isn't a meet and greet event, you'll be sure to see your favourite YouTube creators strolling around 'Main Street' throughout the day and have the opportunity to take part in activities with them, such as baking or various challenges.

Another aspect that I personally would find hard with attending a huge YouTube convention would be how my anxiety would cope and again, Hello World had thought of this too. As Zoella suffers from anxiety herself and is aware that a lot of her viewers do too, she wanted to create a little chill-out area that attendees could go to and get a bit of quiet time, when it all gets a bit too much. 
As well as all of this, there will be so much more to do that "you won't want to stay in one place for too long" such as exciting merch stalls, carnival rides, arcade games and different stages to keep you on your toes... Sounds amazing right, so how did it go so wrong?

The carnival rides were a no-show, the VIP tickets that retailed for over £100 per person didn't even fulfil their promised features, some not even receiving their VIP goodie bag because they had run out and the tour guide groups were big numbers of around 50 people so those at the back, couldn't even hear what their guide was saying, due to the fact that no mics were being used. The Zoella chill out area/zen garden was much more of a popup shop showcasing her 'Zoella Beauty' line than a place for attendees to go to soothe their anxiety, the queues for this were insane because so many wanted nothing more than to meet their idol and a lot of the time, access to the 'Winter Wonderland' was restricted for press and various other reasons it seems.

Those that did have panic attacks while they were there were told by the oh, so lovely security guards to either go to the toilet or smoking area but if they wanted to leave the building, they can't grant re-admission. The promise of the creators walking around freely sometimes occurred but they were completely swamped with security so fans didn't feel like they could even approach them. It's rumoured that the stars that attended were heavily controlled in what to say and how to act, I thought this was probably fabrication but then I saw a video of someone trying to grab a selfie with Alfie Deyes and all he replied was "
Sorry, I'm not allowed", which is sort of bizarre.

The queues for everything were crazy, even just the stalls. A lot of people have complained that that queued for ages and ages to purchase some merch and when they finally got to the front, only the large sizes were left, which is pretty poor when a huge portion of their audience are children.

Hello World Live 2017

But I think what made this event so bad, has to fall down to poor organisational skills and the lack of scheduling. There were so many huge, great ideas but very little time to organise it, which meant that so many aspects of the event that were promised just failed to materialise. One of the biggest problems was the fact that they marketed this as an event without the usual huge queues but if you speak to any of the guests, most of them will tell you that they spent most of their time queuing and this falls down to most of the attendees not being supplied with a schedule and the ones that did have one, still ran into problems because it wasn't stuck to and this lead people to queue for hours and hours, thinking they were in line to meet Zoella, only to be told that Zoe left the area ages ago and they needed to move. This could have been easily avoided with better security and more managed and organised queues.

It was said many times that this is not a meet and greet event and there will be so many things to take part in and do instead but this just wasn't the case. From the pictures that I've seen, the event looked pretty sparse and just bare compared to other conventions. And all those activities they promised? Didn't happen. There were many activities for the creators to do and you can watch but on the whole, there wasn't a lot for the guests to do and I've watched many videos, seen many tweets and Facebook posts all saying that they felt incredibly bored most of the time. The ratio of things to do vs people attending was insane and the things that were on offer to take part in were often cut off to a lot of people unless you had a certain wristband.

Hello World Live 2017

Another major issue which led to a lot of confusion was how disabled friendly this event was. I think this factor should have been high on their list to think about because it's so important. For the live event in the evening, there was a disabled access platform but it didn't have many spaces and when it was full, it was full and the security team who have been branded as rude and unhelpful by a lot of individuals wouldn't do anything to help.

Hello World Live 2017

It's safe to say this event was a complete shambles. The tickets were overpriced and for the VIP ticket system to run smoothly, less should have been sold or more creators should have been in the lineup. If the creators were so set on the idea of no meet and greets, there should have been more things for the guests to do throughout the day so they didn't just end up completely bored. It feels like the whole event preparation was rushed and the end product doesn't look anything like the initial drawings of the event. In terms of the evening performance, disability seating should have been more of a priority and more thought should have been put into the show, as a lot of people felt like it was more of a concert than seeing their favourite creators on stage, with Zoella leaving after 30 seconds. 

Hello World Live 2017
Jana Damanhouri (Janavlogs) who was one of the creators in the lineup has since tweeted an open letter to Hello World, where she explains how she was treated while at the event and was made to feel like she was only invited "purely on the basis that she was one of exactly TWO non-white people on the guest-list." Jana also brought it to our attention that it appears that the main creators actually have shares in this event and that's why it was plugged so heavily because they were relying on it to do well... Louise Pentland even said at the event “Hi everyone, thanks for coming. I’ve recently moved, so thank you very much for buying my new house." And honestly, this just makes it so much worse because when people were complaining, more should have been said from these individuals. Less of the "it wasn't a meet and greet" and more accepting of how wrong it went and issuing apologies, these condescending replies just aren't okay when their guests have lost hundreds of pounds on a terrible day. These are people that are happy to quickly take your money but don't care enough to ensure the experience is the best it can be and that speaks volumes, in my opinion. 

However, it also should be mentioned that there are some individuals who did really enjoy themselves and the Hello World Live Facebook page has an overall rating of 2.4 out of 5. I think with this event, it comes down to being in the right place at the right time. If you're not, it doesn't seem like you'll have the best time and again, that's just wrong that it works that way. I do believe that Hello World does have the potential to become something pretty good if they focused heavily on the preparation and organisation of it. It's only the first one, I hope they take away everyone's comments and try and improve it if it's ever going to occur again in the future.

Take Summer in the City, for example, it started out really small and has been built to what it is now, over a number of years and that wouldn't be what it is without the amazing organisation. You can't promise something at the point of purchase and a few days before the event occurs, send out an email backtracking on everything you said. The scheduling at SitC is great, even if you don't have a physical copy, they put everything in a neat little timetable online so you can decide what you want to make time to go and see or do. Meet and greets are done by ballot or you can catch your favourite creators at their merch stalls. If you ask me, this is much more of a fairer way to do things.

Hello World Live 2017

And obviously, this probably isn't the fault of the creators involved at all but I feel like if people had spent £££ to come and see me and they were unhappy on how the event went, I would feel awful and would want to do something about it, not send 12-year-olds passive aggressive comments on Twitter. If this ordeal has taught me anything, it's how lucky we are to have creators such as Dodie Clark. At SitC she spends time on her merch stall, does hours upon hours of meet and greets and also does an evening performance, all while suffering from mental health issues too. What a woman! We need more people like her in the community.

Hello World have since issued a statement

"We at HelloWorld want to let you know that we are really disappointed and very sorry to hear that some fans feel they did not get the experience they were hoping for. It is the fans that help make these shows so great and we always want to ensure that everyone has an amazing time. We really appreciate everyone’s feedback and we are taking everything on board. 
The Hello World event is designed as a new way for fans to see their favourite content creators on stage and a change from the old ‘meet and greet’ style events. The atmosphere at the event was very positive overall and we had venue and event staff on hand to deal in real time with any teething issues on a case-by-case basis. Anyone who has been in touch with our official email address is being responded to on an individual basis and we appreciate fans patience during this process."

A lot of guests are still very unhappy and I've even seen that people are reporting the event to the likes of Watch Dog and Trading Standards. If you attended the event and would like to complain, you can do so by emailing: 

UPDATE: People are now being issued refunds. However, those with standard tickets seem to be having trouble getting one...

Post a Comment