Anaheim, Calif.—Last night, YouTube hosted its annual VidCon party, in one of the Anaheim Convention Center’s large halls, and YouTube executives, top influencers, and industry professionals mingled about the cavernous space, sipping beer and eating vegetable skewers and salad in cups as a DJ on a large circular platform in the center blasted pop hits. The party felt like a generic corporate-sponsored event. Probably because the real party was 1.9 miles down the road, at a private event hosted by TikTok.
Unlike YouTube’s event, TikTok’s party, at Bowlmor Lanes, was for creators only. Marketers and fans were not invited, but everyone still wanted in. Nearly an hour before the event was set to start, people began congregating outside.
By 8:15 p.m., 15 minutes after the party had started, it was so packed that hundreds of TikTok creators were left standing outside. Sam Ko, who has more than 300,000 followers on the short-form video platform, initially lined up for the party at 7:45. By 10, she was still stuck waiting to enter. “I’m annoyed. We drove all the way here from Santa Monica,” she said.
“I see other huge creators here, too, and they’re still waiting in line.” Micky Nolan, an 18-year-old with 220,000 followers on the app, says he couldn’t believe the mob scene. By 9:45, security guards were shouting at people to step back or they’d shut the whole party down.