RuPaul’s DragCon UK has left fans disappointed and outraged as people were made to queue for numerous hours on opening day of the event.
Twitter was flooded with attendees voicing their frustration to the long wait and an overbooked venue on the Saturday opening day. Numerous people traveled long distances to meet their favourite queens but were met by frustration as they were turned away.
— Lee Dawson (@LeeDawsonPT) January 18, 2020
— Sam Pinner (@pinner_sam) January 18, 2020
Speaking to Radio 1 Newsbeat, beautician Nel Byars spoke about travelling from Wrexham to London with her sister and three children under the age of 12 to attend the first day of the event. They had arrived at 11 am and stayed in line until to 2:40 pm before leaving. Byars said, “They were all really upset because they were so excited to come here and experience it, so there were a few tears.”
One person wrote on Twitter, “We emailed [the organisers] and they’ve said we can get a refund on our tickets. However, this doesn’t account for our train fares from Cardiff, hotel costs and other costs incurred to get here for an event we couldn’t even get in to!”
DragCon UK was hosted in Olympia London and appeared to have been oversold on the first day. Hundreds of people, including families with young children, were left outside queuing for hours, while inside photos showed the venue to be packed. One attendee said, “Standing out in the cold with hundreds of others. Not letting anyone in. Absolute shambles #dragcon.”
— liv woodward (@livwoodward) January 18, 2020
This is what happens when drag goes mainstream. This is also what happens when you oversell tickets for the sake of money vs the integrity of your fans. #DragConUK
— Emm ? (@101Gothgirl) January 18, 2020
Another Twitter user stated, “Been queuing for 2 hours in the freezing cold with no explanation why it’s taking so long! Been excited about this event for months and people have travelled from across Europe to be here. Give us an apology and a #RuFund.”
— Fran Castaño (@Franfrinmusic) January 18, 2020
The inside layout of this highly anticipated event has also been met with negative responses. People have criticised the VIP area, describing it as “a small room where you can sit on the floor. At least we have a ring light?!”, and the Kids Zone, with one person writing, “If you promise a family event to several thou people, with a special kidzone, you need more than a couple of bricks n skanky mats. And it needs to not be placed in the noisiest, crowdiest area.”
Organisers of the event wrote on Twitter addressing fan’s annoyance, “Hey kitty girls, we know that some of you unfortunately had to queue outside the convention center at DragCon UK today and had to leave before the remainder was let into the venue. We apologize for the wait as H&S required us to slow the flow of people coming in.”
Despite the frustration felt by the fans, the queens worked tirelessly to make the day worth it. Blu Hydrangea received widespread praise for staying late to meet everyone in her queue and to not leave anyone feeling disappointed. Morgan McMichaels brought a smile to a young child’s face as they strutted down the runway together.
— philip? (@snuffedtorches) January 18, 2020
— ???? ? (@sukimilotish) January 18, 2020
DRAGCON UK 2020??
From 9am to 4pm… minus one 15 minute bathroom break, I was able to meet over 900 clown loving people! I thank you for your support yesterday, as well as the past 7years! ❤️ pic.twitter.com/ysxpnAbBtG
— Bianca Del Rio (@TheBiancaDelRio) January 20, 2020
Over in the Kids Zone, drag queen Mrs Flower read stories to the children. One person wrote on Twitter, “Sometimes I go to events and I write about them. Sometimes I come across moments like this and I start to believe that people are still kind, open to every form of expression and love. This is @VirinaVit telling stories to kids at @RuPaulsDragCon.”
Sometimes I go to events and I write about them. Sometimes I come across moments like this and I start to believe that people are still kind, open to every form of expression and love. This is @VirinaVit telling stories to kids at @RuPaulsDragCon pic.twitter.com/sJjbObxZt3
— Sal Fasone (@salrusty) January 19, 2020
Day two of the event was more toned down, with people reporting that the queue moved faster and the venue appeared less crowded. On Sunday, RuPaul’s Drag Race judge and Strictly Come Dancing star Michelle Visage treated fans to a performance with her dancing partner Giovanni Pernice.
Hopefully, next years RuPaul’s DragCon UK will take on board fan’s criticisms and have a rudemption moment.
© 2020 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBTQ+ community since 1988.
During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.
GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having an independent LGBTQ+ media in Ireland, you can help from as little as €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBTQ+ media.