“Go Wild Tickets” Are How Much? Live Events Post Covid Restrictions

I started this blog as a planner blog and covered some experiences at different planner events over the years. I’ve stepped back from a lot of the planner content I used to create, but I was deep in the community for a while there. Planners Gone Wild and their GO WILD event were a huge part of that picture for me. I dipped out of the Facebook group a few years back since it wasn’t my thing anymore and, I’ll be honest, the GO WILD Vegas event had a weird vibe to it that I still can’t really explain. The point to all of this is, I still love the community and follow along mostly on lurk mode lately, have made some great friends along the way, and not every thing is for everybody.

GO WILD announced their 2023 event location and ticket price today. It’s finally an east coast-ish location in Washington DC, and I do love the play on WASHIngton. Tickets are $700. You could hear the collective gasp at the sticker shock echoing through the Facebook groups. It’s causing quite a stir, both for some good and some kinda silly reasons.

Of course, since Planner Drama gets me the most clicks on my blog, I have some thoughts. Grab your hydration vessels and let’s talk about some things.

This Hobby Is WILDly Expensive

I’m gonna be blunt; planners & planning are a “privileged” hobby and a big part of that privilege is having a high dollar amount in disposable income. There is no better example of that than planner events. It’s not just the cost of tickets, travel, and lodging that you end up budgeting for. There’s a huge culture of FOMO merchandise and extra costs that comes along with this (and many other planner-related) events. At the *minimum*, you’re probably going to buy a special sticker kit for the week, but most people get shirts, and more stickers, and a special planner insert, and special pens, and tablemate gifts, and swap sheets, and matching roommate stuff, and special outfits, and the list goes on. GO WILD in particular has a culture of *more* when it comes to all the extras. It’s not required but it does make things more fun, and I say that from experience.

GO WILD Is Trying To GO Premium

The similarities between how GO WILD and DisneyParks are structuring their experiences are really noticeable. Disney has been coming under some scrutiny lately for essentially pricing out or limiting the experience for the average family. Go Google it for the full in-depth business analysis, but the TL;DR is that the new pricing structures are focused less on the quantity of people coming through the gates and more on the quality of visitor experience (aka, people who are willing to spend more for extras that used to be free). I have no numbers on any of it, but I believe the assumption is that the ROI is going to be higher if you cater to the people with more money who want a more elite experience than the budget traveling family of 5 who is going to pack their own sandwiches into the park.

If you take that idea and move into a planner event, you have a situation where it might make sense to the organizers to charge a high dollar amount for a conference that features more fireworks at the cost of not being financially feasible for a majority of their members. And, like… this is a conference that is known to bring in C-list celebrities as keynote speakers and light-up stilt dancers for the cocktail party. It helps create the FOMO for next year.

And yeah, there is a snobbish gate-keeping aspect at play here too.

WILDly Unpredictable

Ok, Kiwi… you seem to be pretty understanding of a $700 price tag for an event that has gone up a quarter in price since you last went. What’s the catch?

I’m glad you asked! I actually don’t think the price increase is that unreasonable on the surface given the state of live events and the cost increases in everything over the past few years. My side-eyeing comes from having to commit hundreds of dollars before you even know what you’re getting out of the event and their handling of refunds (or lack thereof).

GO WILD tickets typically go on sale before they announce anything about the event other than location. You are putting down hundreds of dollars and you literally don’t know what you’re getting. Yeah, you can make some educated guesses based on the previous years’ line-ups since there are a lot of repeat presenters but there is no confirmation on who or what is going to happen at this event until after you’ve committed your $700. You might get to see someone who you’ve always wanted to see speak and be moved to tears by their presentation! Or you might have to sit through a noted anti-vaxxer vegan former celebrity talking about something completely unrelated and want to stick forks in your eyes. You don’t know. It’s like a blind bag of events, except the cost to play is a significant chunk of money, even for the higher-income attendees. It feels like a weird lottery that you don’t entirely agree to.

No GO, No Dough

Like everyone else in the world, when Covid came and ruined everyone’s 2020 (and counting), GO WILD had to cancel their event for the year. I don’t know if you know anything about canceling major events, but it is a major fucking pain. It sucked for everyone both planning and planning on attending.

They rescheduled for 2021. This involved a whole new lineup than the previously announced one. If you had a 2020 ticket and wanted to go to 2021’s event, you were golden. If you couldn’t attend the 2021 event for whatever reason, you were kinda screwed. There was a no-refund policy in place that prevented you from getting your money back from the organizers AND from personally reselling your ticket. There was an official resell list through the event, but most people on there did not have their tickets resold. There are conflicting reports on if a digital viewing option was available and/or working. The whole thing ended up being a bit of a poorly communicated cluster that left a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths.

To be fair, the nonrefundable/nontransferable issue is not just a GO WILD thing. It’s a hotly debated subject involving Ticketmaster/Live Nation as well. The music industry side of me sees the pros. The consumer side of me agrees with the cons.

I just think events should be transparent about what your ticket is getting and not be shifty about whether or not they will actually resell your ticket, especially as everyone is trying to figure out how to do things in person in a “Post Pandemic” world. Obviously, I don’t know the financial margins on this event, but I do know that there is a longer ROI on finding a way to accommodate a frustrated fan to keep them engaged than there is burning that bridge with a hard no.

Final Wild Thoughts

Is $700 too much for a ticket to GO WILD? It’s more than I would spend, but if it sells out at this price point then obviously there is still a market. I think people who have been through a few rounds of WILD sales are rightly skeptical of the cost this year. Those people probably won’t GO. Life goes on and the world continues to turn, you know?

What I will say is that I do have some of the best memories from my two WILD experiences, and they were less about the event and more about being with my friends. I would absolutely spend $700 to spend a weekend with them, but I would rather take our ticket money and spend it on an Airbnb at the beach instead.

Team No Sleep will ride again

Live Life In All CAPS; The Teresa Collins Story: Book Review

With Go Wild right around the corner, I have begun having every area of my life revolve around preparation for this event. Teresa Collins is going to be speaking this year and, I have to admit… I wasn’t to thrilled the last time I saw her speak. But, to be fair I was going through my own stuff at that moment and all my nerves were raw. Maybe she just hit my sore spot.

In order to approach our next encounter on the right foot, I thought I would do a little homework. So I hopped on Amazon and got myself her book.

Notebook and coffee not included

To quickly summarize the summary, Teresa Collins is a designer in the crafty world with her own line of products and partnerships with everyone from Fiskers to Silhouette. She’s overcome a lot of stuff in her life and is very much an optimist. So armed with my best attitude and giving updates as I went on Instagram (which you can watch here), I dove in.

Disclaimer:
So, let me be very clear in saying that I went in reading this book knowing full well that I am not the intended audience for this book. I’m just not, and that’s ok. I still think it’s important to read stuff we know isn’t written for us because it helps extend our minds and see other points of view. For the most part, I knew what aspects I was going to roll my eyes at and what wasn’t going to resonate with me. So when Teresa talked about her faith and her marriage, I knew that it wasn’t gonna speak to me, and that’s fine. There was enough other stuff that I felt I could have connected on. Just to make that clear.

Things are CAPITALIZED for EMPHASIS:
The book isn’t kidding when it says “all CAPS”. Through this entire book, words are capitalized for emphasis. The pro to this is that it helps translates Teresa’s voice to the written page. The con is that it’s kinda overdone. There are a lot of capitalized words. It made it hard to read because I kept thinking of this meme.

You know the voice that just read that in your head? That was the voice that wanted to read this book in my head. Granted, this is 100% a generational thing and I am nothing but internet trash memes at this point. But, the capitalized words did start to lose their emphasis by Chapter 2.

Authenticity:
In talking about this book online and with others, I have called this a “Mormon version of Girl Wash Your Face”. That’s not entirely true. Teresa Collins comes off as authentic and sincere throughout this book. It reads like she speaks; enthusiastic, passionate, and a little scattered because she’s excited about what she’s saying. Like it says on the cover, this is ‘The Teresa Collins Story’. Unlike Rachel Hollis, she doesn’t come off as preachy or judgy. She is that enthusiastic friend that is giving you peppy advice while you are just trying to drink your cup of coffee. I don’t agree with everything she says and would have made some different choices, but I respect her sincerity.

Call the Editor:
It was hard to tell what this book was supposed to be. It started off as a light autobiography, switched to some devotionals, threw in a few vignettes, and jumped back on to the autobiographical timeline while skipping a fair chunk of time. Chapters were very short, some could have been combined by topic, and some jumped around from business to family life to dropping huge bombshells and not picking up until several chapters later. It was very stream of consciousness, if that stream had a few detours to smell some flowers along the way.

Creativity & Ideas:
When Teresa is talking about her business and design, I’m there for it. She mentions making an A to Z book after her mother passed away, and now I want to make one. She mentions seeing some beautiful art while on vacation and feeling inspired to design, and I’m right there with her. If she did an entire book on design, I would eat that shit up.

My favorite quote from the book. Super relatable.

Surface Level Trauma:
Teresa has had a LOT of stuff happen to her in her life; big, deep, heavy stuff. She brings it up to provide examples of how she overcame hardships and chose to be happy. I don’t want to diminish that at all; she’s a BAMF, who probably wouldn’t appreciate the full version of that initialism due to language. Where I get frustrated is when she mentions something, like her stroke, but doesn’t actually talk about the process of choosing to be happy again. I’ve gone through big medical stuff too, and I can tell you first hand that it’s not as easy to just “be normal” again. You have to create a new normal. I wanted to hear about how she went on to create her new normal. Every big thing that happens in this book is told like she isn’t ready to talk about it yet, which is completely understandable. But if that’s the case, why include it in the book?

Was this the best book I ever read? No. It was clunky and hard to read. The advice was shallow and more of a “pep talk” than any actual motivation or overcoming adverse conditions. There were moments that I loved, like when she discussed her feelings around her father’s death – that hit home because I had and still have many of the same feelings in regards to my own father’s death. Her excitement about office supplies was super relatable. Reading her go through the emotions of losing her beloved husband was touching. But, overall it wasn’t really my cup of tea. If you love books like the aforementioned Girl Wash Your Face, or you are part of the Mormon Church, this might be a great book for you to find some soul stirring inspiration.

I am interested in seeing Teresa’s presentation at Wild, especially having read this and having a little more insight to her life and her personality. And I will be bringing this book to hide as a present in the hotel; I hope the next person enjoys the read (and maybe gets it signed during the event!)

Practical Advice for Planner Events

We are less than ONE month away from Go Wild, which is a gigantic planner conference that is being held in Fabulous Las Vegas. In the event group, there is a lot of excitement around the lead up to the event and a LOT more questions from first timers about all sorts of aspects of going to their first “planner event”. I’m certainly no expert in this but I did go to Go Wild last year in Austin, as well as 5 other planner events of varying scales. There are lots of people imparting advice on their spaces, and I am going to join the ever growing throng to give you another point of view. Whether you’re “Going” with us to Vegas, or heading to one of the other planner events that are happening this year, allow me to pass along some wisdom.

The Advice I Wish I Had Listened To Before Going To A Planner Conference

Wear Sensible Shoes – NOT FLIP FLOPS

Y’all, I love me some flip flops but let’s be 100% here, they are not useful shoes. You’re probably going to be doing a LOT of walking at these things. Walking all the way across the hotel to get to the conference. Walking all your swag back to your room during breaks. Walking around the city during your down time. And, you’ll be doing a lot of standing as well. Standing in line for snacks. Standing in line to get on the elevator. Standing in line to get a photo with that speaker you really like. You know what kind of shoes SUCK for that sort of stuff? Flip flops. Get yourself actual shoes. Sneakers. Maybe buy some insoles. Baby the fuck out of your feet. They will thank you for it.

Take The Damn Pictures

I know, it’s weird to go up to someone and go “Hohmigod can i get a picture with you?!” I struggle with it, especially after working with musical acts and remembering they are people who fall going up the stairs too. But you know, you’re gonna get home and be really sad that you didn’t do it. Get in line for those photos; that’s why they have those times set to take the photos. Take the selfies with your friends. Make a gookie if you’re afraid to look dumb… that way you know you’ll look dumb on purpose and it’ll be a cool homage to Wakko Warner/Harpo Marx.

Image Shown: Gookies. Wakko on first.

Nobody Cares What You Wear

There was one event I went to where someone had a light up dress on. The only reason I remember it is because I remember thinking, “Shit… how is she gonna get that dress and all her swag home?” Plus, remember all that walking and standing I mentioned before? You’re probably gonna have to be clothed while you’re doing those things. Pick comfortable stuff that you can hike back and forth in. My go to is black leggings, a t-shirt, and a flannel for if I get cold (actually… that’s my go to everyday. I have no sense of style). If you are flying somewhere and you know that you’re gonna be a tad spoiled by your sponsors, pack light – or make a plan to ship stuff home, and remember to leave some in your budget to do that.

Erin Condren was really excited to take a picture with me. Please note that dressy ballet flats are not much better than flip flops.

Find the Bathrooms BEFORE You Have To Pee.

Just… trust me on this. And when I say find the bathrooms, I mean… don’t just find the closest ones. Find ALL of them so that if one is full you can go down the line until you find something that is open.

Schedule Time To Do NOTHING

So, for a bigger event like Go Wild it’s really tempting to want to schedule in EVERY SINGLE THING. You’re on vacation, you’re in a city that you want to explore, and you need to eat ALL the things. But, give yourself time to just wander around the hotel and hang with people. Sometimes there are hidden goodies around the hotel block. Sometimes you meet your favorite shop owners and get exclusive samplers. Sometimes one of your roommate does a really bad Australian accent to one of the main people of a major planner company (who happens to be British) and you need to have a spare half hour to literally roll on the floor laughing at her. So yeah… make time for those random things to happen.

Everyone is Awkward AF And That’s The Magic Of It

Me and some fellow awkward people being awkward with confetti.

When you get right down to it, this is a weird hobby for a bunch of adults to have. We play with stickers and mostly know each other through the internet. Sounds super legit, right? But you know, we all have that experience of unsuccessfully trying to explain what this hobby is and why stickers are a vital importance to it. We all have that one horrible layout we will NEVER show anyone. Everyone is as awkward as you are and is hoping you don’t notice that their shirt is on inside out. Embrace it. You are among your peers who know that HP means Happy Planner and not Harry Potter, but we are probably obsessed with both.

Where ever your planner related adventures may take you, I hope you have fun, find a new shop to love, and that your pen doesn’t skip while you’re filling out your spread.