It looks like some of our fellow local anime and J-pop fans were burned by the same unscrupulous event organizer.
I genuinely feel sorry for all these kids who have been taken for a ride, as well as royally pissed at the fact that this lowlife event organizer managed to scam people not just once, but twice! Curious? Here’s how it all went down.
Way back in May 2010, an event named Go Kaisho was announced with much fanfare. It promised to be an event organized by fans, for fans — eschewing corporate sponsorship in favor of exhibitors from the local community. A fairly large number of toy and merchandise shops run by fans welcomed this change, and took them up on their offer.
The organizers also tried to make things easier for fans by offering ticket pre-selling at various locations. Just like the exhibitors, a lot of people took them up on their offer and trooped to the sale points to purchase their tickets.
However, there were telling signs that things were not going according to plan. First, the exhibitors were mostly in the dark about the event — no meetings were called after the rental money was collected. As for the fans, the ticket pre-selling was a mess — some fans got their tickets, others did not.
Things came to a head in the wee hours of the morning on con day: Go Kaisho was postponed, and no explanation was offered. People showed up at the venue tickets in hand, only to be informed by the building managers and security staff that although a reservation was made by the event organizer, no deposit was made so the booking was cancelled.
Fans were livid, and took their complaints online. Unfortunately, the lead organizer — a person known only as
Kensou Monta, was nowhere to be found. Measures were taken to track down this good-for-nothing scammer, but eventually the furor died down and the complainants simply gave up.
Project NuOtaku: Scam Pack
Fast forward to August 2011, and a new event called Project NuOtaku popped up on the radar — once again promising to be an event for fans, by fans. Calling bullshit on it, we proceeded to make a point-by-point comparison on Project NuOtaku’s site versus Go Kaisho’s site, hoping that it would serve as a warning to cosplay and J-pop fans.
Project NuOtaku’s first event pushed through — we’ll give them that. However, by the time their second event Jam Pack was announced, the same disturbing signs were showing that things were going the way of — well, Go Kaisho.
First, the admins of Ongaku Society received a series of text messages from NuOtaku organizer Kensou
(sound familiar?) (who was actually Monta, but now going around calling himself Kensou) asking the well-established Japanese music organization to foot the bill for the Jam Pack venue (Disclosure: I have been one of the moderators for Ongaku Society since 2004). The organization refused, as their funds were already earmarked for an upcoming gig.
Having seen the outcome of Go Kaisho’s shenanigans first hand, I asked fellow OS mods if it was a good idea to inform bands in the line up of the event organizer’s preparations (or lack of thereof). However, a fellow mod advised that we should let the Project NuOtaku people succeed or fail on their own, without our interference.
On the day of the event, we kept getting updates on Facebook that many of the bands who agreed to play at Jam Pack were being royally mistreated. The event schedule was not followed — leading to a cut in the band performance sets from four songs to two. Many bands — some of whom came all the way from Laguna and Bulacan, were even bumped off their sets altogether.
Eventually all the bands took to the stage, and the event ended hours after it was supposed to. When the bands looked for explanations as to why the event was a complete and utter failure, Kensou once again disappeared. As expected, most of the band members were pissed,
but I have to say it’s a small blessing for them that the venue and sound system rentals were already paid for — otherwise they’d be left behind to deal with it especially the ones who were charged PhP 100 each as “entrance fee” to play at the event. Shame shame shame 😐
Nu Name, Same Scam
The name of the game is Constant Vigilance! Not all event organizers are good people — some of them are out to cheat you, if you let them. Do not be too dazzled by professional-looking site design and fancy graphics — scam event organizers use this to lend an air of legitimacy to their events (like this alleged scam event in Kuala Lumpur).
Try to find out if the event organizers are known names in the community — like the Japan Foundation, Hobbiworx, Collectibles Unlimited, and Cosplay.PH. Big-name organizers are less likely to split the scene even if things go wrong. Last but not least, do not be easily swayed by claims that the event is designed for fans by other fans. Just because these people are fellow fans, it does not necessarily mean that they are good fans.
Update on 1st February 2012
In light of some new information revealed by several victims in the comments box, I have revised several lines of this post for clarity. However, you can still view the original text behind the strike-through. Thanks!