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Live Review: YouTube FanFest

14 September 2015 | 10:42 am | Sean Maroney

"Two girls in the front row admitted to skipping their senior formal to attend tonight."

Digital disruption has hit Sydney's entertainment scene in obnoxious noughty glamour. Bright lights, big sounds, and...big names? Apparently so. Huge names. Names that have re-evaluated what 'bigness' actually means when it comes to celebrity. Why? Their credibility is quantifiable. ||SUPERWOMAN|| (AKA Lilly Singh): 6.3+ million subscribers. Connor Franta: 4.8+ million subscribers. Jenna Marbles: 15,473,849 million subscribers. Give that number a moment. What #YTFF has ushered in is a new era of wow. 'Wow' now has a number attached. 

'Wow' also screams itself in a thousand different ways from hundreds of tweens' mouths. They pack out the Qantas Credit Union Arena (formerly Sydney Entertainment Centre). The energy is brazen and bursting out from the mosh huddled below, and engaged with sporadically throughout the upper seating. The hosts are hit and miss but the energy, like the fame, is crowdfunded. "Are you excited to have JENNA MARBLES HERE?!" is met with screams, even when repeated again and again with the blatant (and sole) motive to reinvigorate the space. 
The scale of the FanFest and the cringe-worthy audience and presentation paint an easy target for cynicism. However, the FanFest was something special. It is the tangible performance of the digital world that pervades our lives. It was a chance to touch the stars that live in their living rooms and on our screens. Two girls in the front row admitted to skipping their senior formal to attend tonight. To be cynical would be to disregard the incredible level of fandom that YouTube gives us. Hey, by no extent was it a performance technically valuable - but it made YouTube watchers' dreams come true.