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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Readers Take Denver likened to ‘Fyre Festival of books

A book lovers’ conference in Colorado is being ripped on social media after the event descended into a disappointing catastrophe that some dubbed “the Fyre Festival of books” — and that even left one bibliophile with a black eye.

Last month’s Readers Take Denver event was billed as a four-day reader’s paradise, filled with popular authors, signed copies of books and a community of like-minded bookworms.

Instead, the conference was spoiled by hours-long lines, a lack of security, missing pre-ordered books, according to published reports and social media posts by attendees.

Bibliophiles slammed the Readers Take Denver event after they allegedly spent hours standing in line at the event, despite it being billed as a line-less conference. Kate Hall/YouTube

“All we did was stand in line. It was total BS,” self-described “RTD survivor” Kelli Meyer told The Denver Post, calling the event the “Fyre Festival of books.”

“It was worse than Disney, and there wasn’t even a ride at the end.”

The April 18-21 event was the second iteration of the conference created by organizer Lisa Renee Jones, an author who has penned more than 100 books, the Denver Post said.

She successfully put on a smaller version of the get-together in 2023, and allegedly overpromised and underdelivered her mission to put on a bigger and better conference in 2024, critics said.

Attendee Cass alleged that she received a black eye and that her head hit the concrete during the chaos of the event. currentlyreadingwithcass/TikTok

The disaster was reportedly so bad that Readers Take Denver has already canceled its plans for a 2025 event.

“When it comes to the events of this weekend, many have been mistreated,” “Iron Flame” author Rebecca Yarros wrote on Facebook.

“Readers, on behalf of every author at the event. I’m sorry. It hasn’t been said to you enough, so let me say it again: I’m sorry. I’m so sorry you couldn’t get your preorders, couldn’t see the authors you wanted to.

“I’m sorry registration took hours, sorry food ran out, sorry security wasn’t tight enough at the night events, sorry some volunteers raised voices, sorry it was disorganized, sorry you felt frazzled, sorry you felt overwhelmed, sorry you did not get to bask in the overwhelming joy that spending 3 days in the book world should give you.”

Organizer Lisa Renee Jones acknowledged the reports of violence as “bumpy bumps,” but claimed they were dealt with immediately. lisareneejones/Instagram

Attendees shelled out between $300 and $375 to participate in the packed conference — which boasted meet-and-greets, panels, book signings and even movie screenings — under the impression they wouldn’t have to wait in lines, The Denver Post reported.

A timed ticketing system utilizing the WhatsApp messaging service was supposed to prevent waits to see favorite authors, meaning guests would visit as many booths as they wanted.

A TikToker who goes by the name Cass said the event was more than frustrating — but came down to violence.

Sporting a black eye, she told her social media followers she was thrown to the ground with her head hitting the concrete when she became entangled in the mass convergence of the poorly orchestrated crowds.

The Readers Take Denver event scheduled for 2025 has already been canceled following the uproar. abigailowen.com

Another TikToker, who goes by Well Read Nurse, added that she was also roughed up by staff members while suffering a medical emergency at the conference.

“I was having a hypoglycemic moment and was screamed at by staff to ‘get the f–k up off the floor!” she alleged. “There were so many horrific experiences between readers, vendors, authors, PAs, volunteers alike. This was not just a breakdown in communication, it is a systemic issue with this program.”

Renee Jones acknowledged the reports of violence, which she called “bumpy bumps,” but emphasized the aggression was under control, according to an email obtained by The Denver Post.

“In the case that someone has claimed a volunteer put hands on someone, I got security involved IMMEDIATELY,” Renee Jones wrote.

She also seemingly dispelled rumors of the chaos by sharing that many people brought her to tears with their praise for the event.

Renee Jones did not immediately respond to a request for comment by The Post.

Next year’s event has already been canceled, though organizers did not offer a reason for the sudden and far-out cancellation.

“All subsequent charges for payment plans have thus been suspended, and your ticket has been cancelled,” RTD said on its website.



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