INTERVIEW: ‘Hello World Live’ Organisers Talk 2017 Controversy & Why Next Year Will Be “Bigger And Better”

31 January 2018, 12:38 | Updated: 2 November 2018, 16:02

Hello World stars KSI, Zoella, Joe Sugg and Louise Pentland
Hello World stars KSI, Zoella, Joe Sugg and Louise Pentland. Picture: Hello World

By Josh Lee

With the first ever Hello World receiving mixed reviews last year, we caught up with the events organisers to find out how they're going to raise the bar for Hello World 2018.

Last year, on the final weekend in October, ‘Hello World’ made its debut. Billed as an “immersive live event like nothing on earth,” Birmingham’s Genting Arena was transformed into a YouTube dreamland, with spectacular stage design, live shows from some of the world’s best-loved YouTubers and (some) opportunities to meet and greet with fan favourites.

In the days following the event, there were mixed reviews from keen YouTube fans floating around social media. Some described it as “the best weekend ever,” posting photos of the YouTubers they finally got to see in the flesh. But alongside the positive comments sat accusations of exploitation, with some fans describing the weekend-long convention as an “absolute shambles.”

With the 2018 event now in “the advanced planning stage,” we asked Hello World organiser Adam Perry to address some of the issues attendees had with last year’s event, discuss what was a success, and what fans can expect from Hello World in 2018.

Hello World organisers during the build of the 2017 event
Hello World organisers during the build of the 2017 event. Picture: Binky Nixon

We The Unicorns: How are you planning on making Hello World bigger in 2018?

Adam Perry: Hello World 2018 is already in the advanced planning stage, and we've got thousands of ideas on how we're going to make our next event even bigger and even better than 2017, but it's way to early to share them with you today... sorry!

WTU: What are some of the big successes from 2017 that you want to bring to the 2018 event?

AP: Weʼve got a lot to be proud of, but for us the stand out moment was the Camper Van entrance which opened the show, it was something we worked hard to make happen as itʼd been in our plans almost since day one, and has never been done before. The Live show was a huge success, KSI was on point, his entrance was utterly spectacular, The Vamps were also amazing!

WTU: While lots of fans were very happy with the event, many felt as though they'd been misled, and were expecting more meet & greet opportunities. Do you think you could have more clearly communicated that HelloWorld wasn't a traditional meet & greet?

AP: We were always super up front about not being a Meet and Greet, the ‘Aboutʼ page on even opened with the sentence ‘Let us tell you what weʼre not, weʼre not a traditional Meet and Greetʼ. However Itʼs fair to say it still caused some issues and expectations were perhaps not managed as well as weʼd liked. Weʼve dealt with every single customer on a case by case basis, even in some instances meeting them face to face to talk through issues, in terms of a percentage of our overall audience itʼs a very low number, and in the interest of balance we had a great number of positive comments and a lot of people desperate for an event next year.

WTU: Were you happy with disabled access at the event? Many disabled fans said that the event wasn't as accommodating to their needs as it could have been. What will you do next year to ensure HelloWorld is accessible to all?

AP: We spent more money on disabled access than any other event in that venue and tried hard to provide a fantastic experience for our disabled guests. The site was also inspected and signed off by venue experts. Weʼve dealt with any customers who had issues on the day, but itʼs definitely something weʼre going to improve for 2018 and obviously we apologise to anyone who felt their experience was affected.

WTU: There weren't any carnival attractions at Hello World Live, despite the website promising them. Why weren't attendees told that this would be the case prior to the event?

AP: One of our original ideas was to have some carnival rides on Main Street, but due to space issues that wasn’t possible so we replaced it with Zoe’s Winter Wonderland. HelloWorld was evolving right up to the launch and we tried to make sure that we kept everyone up to date via our social channels.  

WTU: Did any of the YouTubers at HelloWorld 2017 invest money into the event?

AP: Nope, no money was invested in HelloWorld from any of the talent.

WTU: With your main rival, Summer In The City, offering more meet and greet opportunities, a wide variety of stalls and rides, and a live music event, what do you think Hello World Live can offer in 2018 that will set it apart from this and other UK YouTube conventions?

AP: We donʼt consider HelloWorld to be a convention, or Summer in the City or Playlist to be our rivals, they are both very different events to HelloWorld, with a focus on panels, meet and greets and a convention style approach. We love both events, weʼve been the last couple of years, and really enjoyed it.

However we feel the sector is missing a live/ entertainment show and although both SITC and Playlist have a music/ show element to their offering, our focus is on taking this to the next level, to an arena standard on par with huge arena/ stadium pop shows. Our talent are often called the future of entertainment, and we aim to give them a platform to entertain, surrounded by the best people, artists and production in the business.

HelloWorld has always been about creating something different, weʼre creating a space where the talent can exist along side the fans, and interactions can happen spontaneously, where the experience is not defined by who got what selfie with whom, but by how many people had a fist-pumping moment when the bass dropped on a KSI track, or an encounter theyʼll never forget that nobody else had.

We want HelloWorld to be a collection of extraordinary moments that are as unique as the people who experience them.

WTU: What do you hope fans will say about HelloWorld 2018?

AP: OMG! That was totally intense, Iʼve never seen anything like it! OK...when is HelloWorld 2019?!

Follow Hello World on Instagram for the event's latest updates.