Fan Fest In Hot Water With Fans

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Source: Shannon for The Game of Nerds

Heroes and Villains Fan Fest and Walker Stalker Con have become quite the household names over the pass few years as having some of the most exciting and fan friendly conventions. But starting in December 2018, fans started to notice things were going awry when conventions were being cancelled and return appearances to certain cities weren’t announced. The company has adamantly declined statements saying they are going bankrupt but fans are starting to think otherwise.

Over the past few months we have learned that Heroes and Villains Fan Fest and Walker Stalker Con are combining into one large event called Fan Fest. Still being owned and operated by Founder and CEO, James Fraizer. While the first  clue, may have been all the massive cancellations to most it was the email that went out stating they would no longer be doing “sales” in January. They were urging fans to buy their passes now for the 2019 year promising an epic time. Within weeks, fans were calling them out when they started offering BOGO and sales on premium passes again. It wasn’t until Portland date was moved and then cancelled that fans started to get really upset. We soon learned that a lot of fans weren’t reimbursed and emails were going unanswered. London was the next to be cancelled due to a rival convention being held near by the same days. They cancelled it just under a week before the event was going to be held, and told fans who paid over 500 pounds they “could use their ticket for next year if they wished.”  Most fans couldn’t be reimbursed travel and lodging fees and came unglued. Since London, Fan Fest’s Facebook page has been nothing but complaints and angry comments. Fan Fest continues to state they are trying to be transparent but it’s been far from that. It wasn’t until this week that Walking Dead stars started publicly stating on social media that they wouldn’t be attending Fan Fest conventions anymore. Some stars stated it was due to fans not getting reimbursed, and others saying Stars themselves weren’t getting paid either.  CEO and Founder went ahead and had a live Q&A over the last week to try and quell some worries but the damage had already been done. Fans are still wondering where their money is and prizes that they’ve won. Some even went so far as to compare the situation to Fyre Festival. To make matters even worse for them, they were selling all unsigned and signed “old celebrity display signs” on ebay with some going for a much as $500 a piece. No wonder fans think the convention system is going down.

The Game of Nerds has always supported Fan Fest, in fact its been one of our favorite conventions but we can personally say what they are doing isn’t right. We attended in December 2018 to San Jose’s leg of the festival. We won the cosplay contest with our Poppin Hopper and still haven’t received any of our prizes. It took us until March to finally get a hold of someone about our winnings.  At first we were told the ticket would be for San Jose 2019, but that show wasn’t going to happen to do “no space available.” Weird because after making some calls to our local city planners, they say the space is available!?! So we planned for Portland and that was cancelled shortly after as well. Now we are being told we need to pick from the existing line up which would cost us more in travel fees then the cost of the tickets we won or wait until 2020. How does that make any sense? I think the nail in the coffin for us, was when they proceeded to use our cosplay image without permission to promote a competition to win tickets. Normally, we wouldn’t cause such a stink about it, but we knew at this point that the convention was having massive issues. People weren’t being paid, refunds weren’t made, emails weren’t answered, and no matter what no one was going to “win that contest”.  We really do hope Fan Fest gets it’s act together in the future, but for now, please be careful when you purchase tickets through them.

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Author: Shannon Parola

When I'm not running The Game of Nerds or The VIParolaz, I'm snuggling with my two dogs while binge-watching everything on my DVR. I can also be found in the kitchen cooking up some gluten-free deliciousness with my Funko obsessed husband. Check out our Instagram: @TheVIParolaz

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