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Tuesday, June 20, 2023

The ConQuest Problematic Experience

06/16/2023 04:10:25 PM

It is no secret that ConQuest is one of the biggest annual conventions recently. The weekend-long event, however, was also plagued by criticism attributed to its mishaps from a logistical point of view.

It did not help that a tweet from its founder pledged its manifestation for ConQuest 2023 – all while throwing some shades on other conventions beforehand. “Premium event,” you say, sir?

Fast forward to that to that one weekend in June 2023. While the Friday ConQuest appeared to be well (according to my friend who hired me to take photos for Day 2), Saturday morning in SMX was like a budding disaster waiting to unfold. The time was 10:30 in the morning, and people started piling up on the sidewalks and lanes surrounding the Convention Center in the Mall of Asia complex in Pasay City like a bunch of snakes who wanted to get in through the main entrance.

As noontime approaches, the crowd has ballooned in a somewhat uncomfortable manner. Snake lines were evident at the escalators as if it was a crowd control situation in any of the MRT-3 stations. Queues of con-goers entering the halls on both floors were present. The entire place seemed to have little room to breathe as flocks of people endured heavy foot traffic traversing from one place to another. Indeed it is hard for me to observe and enjoy whatever I can.

And we're not yet in the most 'exciting' part as by the late afternoon, endless dashes of people were swelling in practically every entrance ways of the convention, be it at the main doors or through connected buildings like S Maison, IKEA, NU MOA, and even the SM Mall of Asia itself. It didn't help that event and venue security dissuaded people from using the alternate escalators and even elevators.

Yup, logistics-wise, one can say it was a catastrophe of sorts. Some of my friends claimed it took them hours to get into SMX, regardless if they were visitors, members of the press, or even performers. That's quite sickening. Like shall we fall in line for hours to see our favorite cosplayers, meet and greet our idols, join the fun and games, and even watch a concert featuring The Rose, James Reid, Oh Flamingo!, Autotelic, and Carousel Casualties? Not all of us have patience for that, buddy.

And I don't even want to know whatever happened on Day 3, but I already sensed it's even more atrocious. 

So where did they go wrong from here? Initial speculations are the overselling of tickets. While the organizers aimed to sell 70,000 tickets in a 3-day festivity, it seems they have disregarded SMX's actual capacity for the convention, especially with all the spaces occupied by its exhibitors and guest personalities. Some would probably say otherwise, but wasn't everything I've witnessed for 5 hours inside the convention center enough to be convincing to say they fucked up big time? 

I feel bad for my friends who strut their stuff there because I can't visit them due to overcrowding. The rest area isn't enticing since it can only accommodate a mere fraction of people.

It's hard to weigh in here and hope that everything good that transpired during that Saturday would outweigh the negative counterparts. But alas, the roaring wildfire of ranting can never neutralize in favor of ConQuest. I wish this extravaganza would be in larger venues like the World Trade Center.

Sure, they posted an apology later and vowed to implement their refund processes. Nah, I wouldn't be hopeful for that 800-peso regular pass to land back in my friend's purse. Let's be frank: They were screwed up from the beginning, and more so with their 'redemption' arc currently in the works.

"Premium event," my ass. Just do your best the next time around, please.

P.S. These organizers also need to do better on treating my colleagues from the media. A press room that was practically like 1 or 2 blocks away? Man, that's quite unheard of.

Author: slickmaster | © 2023 The SlickMaster's Files

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