YouTube Stars, Influencers and Fans Flock to Anaheim for VidCon 2019
by Deborah Wagner
Celebrating its tenth anniversary, VidCon drew more than 75,000 YouTubers, internet personalities, influencers, industry executives and – most importantly fans – to the Anaheim Convention Center in sunny California last week. The über-popular online video conference has grown tremendously since its conception a decade ago, started by John and Hank Green, authors and stars of the Vlogbrothers YouTube channel. Purchased by Viacom in 2018, VidCon’s expansion includes international events in Australia and London. However, to date, the annual Anaheim convention remains their largest.
For the fourth year, we headed to southern Cal to share the excitement of VidCon 2019, their largest three-day event to date. This year’s show floor included splashy booths from mega brands including returning exhibitors – NERF, Nickelodeon, MTV, Herbert’s Lemonade and Instagram. Smaller booths peddled everything from camera and vlogging equipment to computer software and influencers own merch.
You could bedazzle your hair, win a NERF battle, play in a ball pit, find out if you are smarter than a fifth grader, or play your favorite video games against popular gamers and other fans. If that’s not enough, there were dozens of other fun experiences including singing karaoke, making a boomerang in front of a green screen while swinging in the forest with Dora the Explorer, who has a new Nickelodeon Movie due out next month, playing games, making art and enjoying endless photo opportunities. You simply cannot be bored at VidCon.
In our opinion, one of the most exciting new editions to this year’s show floor was the Nike Sports Court. In a truly a brilliant idea, Nike offered a different sport each day – skateboarding, soccer and basketball. They gave fans interactive experiences and training opportunities with favs from the soccer world like Crystal Dunn, skateboarders including Dashawn Jordan and the basketball’s 2019 NBA Player of the Year Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Fans could sign up to train with and play against these talented athletes as well as dozens of their favorite YouTubers. Saturday – the basketball day – probably had the largest turnout at the court. Fans surrounded the court to watch Antetokounmpo train and workout with fans and film an upcoming episode for popular basketball YouTubers Cash and Jesser of 2Hype. Then to close out inaugural year of the court, fans were treated to a fast-paced celebrity basketball game with over a dozen influencers: like David Dobrik, Tristan Jass, Sofie Dossi, Brent Rivera, Alex Wasabi and Jeff Whittek.
The sports angle was definitely a highlight and new experience at VidCon. We hope they continue their partnership with Nike and bring it back in 2020.
As always, the turnout was huge for most of the Q&A sessions throughout the three-day convention. This year’s lineup included Q&A’s with Smosh Family, Brother Nature, Holy Trinity, Amazing Phil, Molly Burke, Vlog Squad, Colleen Ballinger, VSauce and many more.
The biggest Q&A we attended overflowed from over six hundred seats into standing room only. There were hundreds of additional screaming fans who spent forty-five minutes listening to Ireland’s own JackSepticEye talk gaming, fans, YouTube, relationships and more. Jack, whose real name is Sean McLoughlin has amassed over 10 billion views with over 22 million subscribers on his YouTube channel.
Attendees could tweet questions to Jack using the hashtag #JacksepticeyeVidCon19 and asked questions like “If you could have one ultimate ability, what would it be?” Jack who loves to make his fans laugh, answered, “I would love to fly, cuz that would be awesome. Like you divebomb… Imagine how much fun angels have? There are no way angels are up there judging you. Angels are like jumping out of clouds, divebombing and pulling out at the last second to get lightheaded and going ‘Oh Jesus’ and he’s like ‘Yes.’”
After the disaster of her own internet conference TanaCon last year, Tana Mongeau joined the list of featured creators at VidCon for the first time this year. Temporarily joined on stage by fiancé Jake Paul and his mom Pam, Tana discussed her MTV show Tana at 21 and her upcoming nuptials to Paul on July 28th during her Q&A with fans.
Definitely not one of the more PG panels of the con, Mongeau joked about whether she should change her name after the wedding so she can finally have a name that people won’t f— up. Not particularly for VidCon’s younger fans, we saw mostly older attendees in the audience during the Saturday evening Q&A as the content was more explicit. In moments of seriousness, Mongeau did discuss having to grow ten years in the last year since TanaCon’s catastrophe and said, “You never know what the future will hold, but right now, I am very ready to marry Jake Paul.” But in the end, she said, “I’m still just Tana. I’m still that bitch.”
There were many important panel talks this year that discussed serious topics like loving yourself, depression and mental health and other serious discussions for teens and tweens. Positive messages being shared by their favorite internet personality were important to kids like 14-year-old Stephanie from Los Angeles, California who told us, “I feel included when I’m here. I feel like people understand and support me.” Other inclusion panels and meet ups for LGBTQ+ fans discussed timely topics for the community and left members feeling loved and understood.
VidCon continues to offer fans once-in-a-lifetime experiences with their favorite internet personalities. Fans were treated to everything from an exciting premier of Joey Graceffa’s Escape the Night season four, a second annual live filming of GT Live with MatPat and Stephanie, Smosh Cast Live taping,
As in past years, there were four Meet & Greet sessions per day throughout the convention. M&G experiences were ticketed through a random lottery last month. Lines formed in the Instagram Meet & Greet Hall one hour before the scheduled sessions with the opportunity to meet hundreds of the biggest creators attending VidCon like Dan and Phil.
Also customary, the AwesomenessTV stage is the center of the outdoor excitement in the VidCon atrium offered fun programming by day and smooth music by night. The atrium is a great meetup area for fans throughout the con. Dozens of music and internet favs hit the stage throughout the event including Jordyn Jones, Jake Miller and Mahogany LOX.
Though YouTube stars dominate the conference, other companies that profit off user-generated posts have a presence as well, including Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. Another large presence this year was the popular video app TikTok and convention goers were making tik toks everywhere you looked.
All in all, ten years looks great on VidCon and the growth of the industry continues to draw in more and more fans. We can’t wait to see what new exciting experiences they’ll be bringing out to keep fans engaged at VidCon 2020. See you there!
Copyright ©2019 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: July 19, 2019.
Photos by Jordan Wagner © 2019.