AcadArena Founders retire CONQuest Festival “as a brand and vision”
The CONQuest Festival brand is being retired following the fiasco that ensued after the event’s 2023 iteration.
CONQuest 2023 was under fire for multiple mishaps that happened over the event weekend, including long queues, press mistreatment, overcrowding, and mishandling of the guest booths. Several guests, media, and attendees voiced out their frustrations on social media causing an uproar that was further intensified by radio silence from CONQuest organizers AcadArena.
An initial statement was initially published via official CONQuest Festival social media accounts two days ago but was removed after it gathered negative sentiments, primarily due to the fact that it referred to the event as a success “to some degree.” The deleted statement read as follows, with CEO & Co-Founder Kevin Hoang and COO & Co-Founder Ariane Lim both as signatories.
Thank you for your amazing and unending support to make CONQuest 2023 happen and deepen our community building efforts this past year.
We are profoundly sorry for the troubles and frustrations you experienced during this year’s CONQuest. We hear all your concerns and we are making both swift and gradual changes.
We acknowledge that the customer journey has not been smooth for some. There were opportunities to improve the pre-event online ticket selling. claiming wristbands and entry to the main venue itself. We could have strengthened our communications and systems in place. In hindsight. we could have ensured a smoother overall experience for our attendees and we apologize for these oversights.
On Day 3, we immediately implemented solutions to improve crowd control, such as rearranging entry and exit points, managing the lines, and buying out food and beverage concession stands—which we distributed to the people in line. We utilized the best measures we had at the time to rectify the situation. We also rolled out refunds as soon as possible to pass holders who were not able to enter the venue and to those who were not able to claim their wristbands. The first tranche of refunds will be released on June 29 (Thursday). In line with this, we would like to announce that the refund process is closed and will no longer be extended. You may reach us through email at email@example.com and we will remain open to further remedies for special cases and circumstances.
Our organization is reviewing systems, processes and operations for better community experiences in the future. Rest assured that we are dedicated to working towards long-term reforms and applying the lessons we’ve learned to our future events.
To some degree, we still consider this year’s CONQuest as a success. The overall public reception was eye-opening and the engagement was humbling. We were able to gather our communities, make precious memories. foster lasting friendships, and celebrate our culture together.
We know that trust needs to be rebuilt and we are committed to earning it back. AcadArena would not exist without its core foundation, its community shared across similar interests and passions. You are a huge part of this and we thank you for your continued support, Let’s continue building and strengthening our communities and shared experiences together.
Shortly after, both Hoang and Lim took to their personal accounts to issue their own respective statements, with some going against the CONQuest statement. “I greenlit a PR statement today as CEO that I regret,” Hoang wrote. “It being unacceptable is a fact.”
To echo Ariane Lim statement and Justin Gorriceta Banusing apology earlier this month, I would like to speak…
“[CONQuest] was not a success,” Hoang added. “We will be retiring the brand CONQuest Festival and reassessing our approach with how we produce events moving forward.”
Saw the anger, saw the frustrations whether during the con and on the comments. Honestly, we are still there.
“[We] had to convince our team to let us speak even if we’re advised not to at this time,” Lim said in her post. “We need a hard reset… the team has agreed to retire CONQuest Festival as a brand and as a vision,” she continued. “It’s not reflective of how we want to produce events moving forward.
Going by the co-founders’ statements, fans, and con-goers can still expect AcadArena-produced events, but they will no longer be under the CONQuest Festival brand.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.