The multiple documentaries about Fyre Festival have created a new category of entertainment: event disaster porn. There's something darkly satisfying about watching an overhyped but poorly planned gathering go ... poorly. So in the interest of quenching the public's thirst, here's a collection of events that promised attendees an unforgettable experience and ended up delivering exactly that, just for very different reasons than they expected.

A Harry Potter Bar Crawl Means Long Waits And Sad Chopstick "Wands"

The Hype:

For only $40, you can get hammered with thousands of other Harry Potter-loving lunatics across 16 different locations in the magical land of Raleigh, North Carolina. Get free swag like cauldron cups, complimentary butterbeer, and Goblet of Fire shots, plus a free Hogwarts scarf so you can really ensure that everyone around you knows you're a nerd!

The Reality:

Ticketholders waited up to two hours to get into just one of the bars, only to see other, normal customers walk right in without anyone checking (maybe they were doing the famous Jedi mind trick from the Potter movies?). As for the swag, the cauldrons were tiny plastic cups, the butterbeer consisted of 3 oz. samples, the free shots were some indeterminate liquid that tasted more like Kool-Aid, and the scarves were apparently hiding under a Cloak of Invisibility.

To make up for the missing scarves, organizer Zack Medford did offer something else: a chopstick dipped in wax, which kinda resembles a magic wand if you're eight years old and legally blind. Good thing they reportedly weren't checking IDs at the doors.

wwend bbd
Matthew E./
There are amateur Harry Potter porn parodies with more convincing props.

Unfortunately for Medford, some attendees didn't drink the magical Kool-Aid (the free drinks had run out by the time they got in) and took to the event's Facebook page to trash it. At this point, a "rogue employee" who was definitely not Medford began replying sarcastically to the complaints, all of which have magically vanished by now. Medford refused to refund any tickets, but promised the next crawl will be "bigger and better." Hopefully people will come back and get the full set of chopsticks.

"Real Life Mario Kart" Offers Filthy Costumes And Sadness

The Hype:

You know that off-brand Mario Kart go-karting company in Japan, MariCar? Yeah, it's pretty awesome. This isn't about that. This is a ripoff of the ripoff. But still, it's a fun concept, so people were excited when Australia's Mushroom Racing Go Karting released a dramatic trailer promising "the ultimate go-karting experience." A mere $73 got you a minimum of 20 laps on a go kart, costume rental, access to a "games room," a "DJ and after party," and even a totally appetizing "mushroom style burger."

Qu Aunum sh ERS Vrmos
Mushroom Racing
This explains how Mario stays his weight despite being on such a strict diet.

The Reality:

Attendants were bused to an established go-karting arena near Melbourne, and once there, were handed cheap $2 costumes for classic Nintendo characters like Mario, generic princess, and Batman. According to multiple witnesses, the costumes smelled like Donkey Kong's nether regions and had suspicious stains. (Does Melbourne have Mario-themed orgies?) They were then told to wait for 40 minutes until the actual go-karting started, but at least they could keep busy at the "games room," which turned out to be two Wiis and some arcades they had to pay for.

What about the mushroom burger? Seems it was touched by a Goomba and shrank down into a cupcake.

6 Over-Hyped Events That Turned Into Epic Garbage Fires
Mushroom Racing
Not sure if that's icing or moss.

Some go-karters complained that they only got 16 or 18 laps, and total racing time was 15-20 minutes. As for the "after party," this consisted of awkwardly hanging out at a place described as a "'90s school disco" for another hour and 40 minutes until they were bused back to the city. The whole experience sounds marginally more fun than being stuck in traffic for three hours.

Kidz Fest's "Castle" Turns Out To Be A Bunch Of Boxes In A Field

The Hype:

Winter Fest UK's Kidz Fest promised "an array of interactive activities and performances across several themed zones," designed to keep your little ones entertained "all day long" -- and more importantly, tired by the time you get home. That sure is worth the up-to-$23-per-person admission fee, especially if you add in bonuses like the circus-themed workshop, the explorable wilderness area, and the zones devoted to costumed superheroes and princesses. It's practically Disney World!

Winter Fest Design
SPOILER: They put more effort into the poster art than the event itself.

The Reality:

Just like Disney World, the event had its own castle. Unfortunately, the castle was a bunch of empty boxes that some kids mistook for "rubbish left lying in the middle of a field."

6 Over-Hyped Events That Turned Into Epic Garbage Fires
Michelle Oakley
Which is an insult to rubbish left lying in fields everywhere.

There wasn't much to explore in the "wilderness area" either, since it was just an owl, a rabbit, a guinea pig, and every child's favorite animal, the good ol' snake. Meanwhile, the circus workshop was "a piece of string and batons lying on the ground." One lucky mom said she saw a single Cinderella wandering around (but this is England, so it might have been a regular peasant wearing everyday clothes). And that was about it for the activities included with the ticket. On the other hand, for an extra $6.50 each, kids got unlimited jumps in a bouncy castle, which is a sweet deal.

Parents who spent over $100 to make a day out of the event weren't very pleased. Once they got their hands on the organizer, the cops had to be called in. Then again, maybe everyone should have seen this coming, considering that this is the same company behind a Frozen event where the promised "snow pit" turned out to be an inflatable pool with some foam in it. Crushing childhood dreams is sort of their thing.

An "Unlimited" Cheese Festival Runs Turns Into A Wet Nightmare

The Hype:

London's Giant Cheese Board festival was marketed as a "massive, oversized cheese board ... you can walk around in," complete with as much fancy European cheese as you can eat, plus "unlimited mulled wine, cheesecake," and "a giant fireplace to snuggle by." The organizers promised "This is going to change your life forever," and for only around $40!

The Reality:

If you read the above and pictured a bunch of miserable people eating hard, supermarket-quality cheese inside a shoddy tent, congratulations on being psychic.

Or scrolling down and seeing this photo.

Attendants complained that they had to stand in the rain for 90 minutes and then line up again to receive some cold drinks barely discernible as alcohol. The "double-size fireplaces" didn't do much to warm them up, since it was just a video of fire being projected on a screen. The cheesecake was elusive (and an extra $5 per slice), while the cheese itself, such as it was, seemed to become scarce. At least the promised Camembert and halloumi burgers didn't run out ... since they never showed up in the first place.

The mood at the venue degraded to the point that people started chanting "refund, refund, refund!" Faced with hundreds of complaints, the organizers took a hard look at themselves and refused to refund anyone, all while blaming attendees for leaving early.

A YouTuber Organizes Her Own VidCon Rival, Fails Spectacularly

The Hype:

VidCon is where online video personalities go to meet their fans and pretend not to be disturbed by how young they are. Upset over not receiving a "Featured Creator" badge at VidCon 2018, YouTuber Tana Mongeau decided to mount her own competing event on the same week: TanaCon. She invited fellow luminaries such as Bella Thorne, Shane Dawson, and many more, and because this is all for the fans, she made it so TanaCon would be completely "free" (meaning that tickets were between $1 and $65).

VidCon was doomed.

The Reality:

VidCon isn't doomed. Fans lined up for hours to get into the venue, but then the line just ... stopped moving. The place was full. Turns out they were expecting about 5,000 people, but since it was marketed as a "free" event and all, 20,000 showed up. The only rewards those fans got for their endurance were some sunburns and a little nap (when they started fainting).

Meanwhile, the lucky fans inside got to wander around crammed halls with nothing to do, since many of the YouTube stars they were promised had scheduling conflicts with VidCon, and others simply chose not to show up. Those who paid for VIP tickets got a loot bag containing a few stickers, a wristband, and the convention's very own TanaCondom. Presumably the organizers were counting on fans being so young that they have no idea how much condoms are actually worth.

Hours after starting, TanaCon was forced to shut its doors due to the venue being over capacity and the overwhelming suckitude of it all. Only a day earlier, Mongeau had marveled at the fact that it only took her 40 days to organize the whole event. So TanaCon wasn't a complete waste of time, because now we know one thing: It takes at least 41 days to organize an online video personality convention.

DashCon 2014: The Little Con That Could(n't)

The Hype:

DashCon didn't make any lofty promises. It was supposed to be a place for Tumblr users to hang out with each other, meet a few of their idols, help a charity, and maybe learn a new pronoun or 20. The guest list consisted of actor Doug Jones (Pan's Labyrinth, various sexy fish people), artist Noelle Stevenson, and the cast of the podcast Welcome To Night Vale. All nice people, we're sure, but not exactly the Avengers. Overall, it seemed reasonably doable.

The Reality:

Yet it still failed the hardest. It turned out that the venue had not been paid in full when the event started, and after seeing the low attendance, management got nervous and demanded the rest of the money ASAP. Unwilling to continue the convention in some Burger King parking lot somewhere, the organizers urged the attendees to raise funds to keep them from getting the boot. One of the most cringeworthy events during the convention (or anywhere, ever) was when everyone thought they'd magically raised the $17,000 and began singing "We Are The Champions" while throwing out the three-fingered salute of the resistance from The Hunger Games.

But the money problems weren't over. The guests found out they'd have to pay for their own hotel rooms, which caused the Night Vale cast to drop out at the last second. Meanwhile, Stevenson ended up having to moderate her own panel and sleep on a sofa at the Night Vale guys' Airbnb. And most infamously, part of the compensation for VIP ticket holders was the privilege of spending "an extra hour in the ball pit." Which looked like this:

6 Over-Hyped Events That Turned Into Epic Garbage Fires
Hope no one got lost in there.

Accusations that the whole thing was a scam weren't helped by the fact that Random Acts, the charity DashCon claimed it was helping, denied being officially connected (they were only authorized to run a fundraiser). After attempting to crowdfund a follow-up for 2015, DashCon was basically laughed out of existence. On the other hand, it looks like Doug Jones had a good time, so maybe it was all worth it.

Peter I. Santiago does not delete hateful comments about Hawaiian-style pizza on his Facebook page.

For more, check out 5 Unlikely Vacation Spots From Fictional Universes:

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