Attendees at book event in Colorado say they ‘barely survived’ shameful conference, with reports of ‘harassment, theft and assault’

  • Attendees said the event was marred by chaotic scenes and long queues
  • One author broke down in tears when describing the “nightmare.”

Thousands of avid readers slammed a disgraceful event in Colorado as a “Fyre Festival of Books” after reports of harassment, theft, assault and mismanagement.

The “Readers Take Denver” event, which took place from April 18-21, left attendees describing themselves as “survivors,” while organizers have already canceled Next year’s conference.

Best-selling author Rebecca Yaros led the criticism of the fair, echoing complaints about a lack of security, aggressive staff and pre-ordered books that were not delivered on time.

“Readers, on behalf of every author at this event, I am sorry,” Yaros wrote in a scathing Facebook post.

‘Readers Take Denver’ event came under fire by attendees and authors amid reports of harassment, theft, assault and mismanagement
One attendee claimed that when she had a “hypoglycemic moment,” she was “shouted at by staff to ‘get her off the floor’.”

Yaros went on to blame organizers for a variety of issues, including what she saw as the “borderline abusive” workload placed on volunteers at the four-day conference.

“When it comes to the events of this weekend, many have been mistreated,” she wrote.

Yaros claimed that organizers turned off the lights to herd readers because they “weren’t moving fast enough”, named the author by name, refused to change the name of their badge and failed to organize enough time for readers to get signatures despite a pledge of no “no”. Lines at this event.

“I’m so sorry you couldn’t get your pre-orders, and you couldn’t see the authors you wanted,” Yaros concluded, addressing the audience.

“I’m sorry it took hours to register, sorry we ran out of food, sorry security wasn’t tight enough at the night events, sorry some volunteers raised voices.

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“I’m sorry you didn’t have the overwhelming joy that spending three days in the world of books should give you.”

Disappointed readers said Denver Post That the shameful schedule was a “nightmare” and said it failed to deliver on promises made by organizer Lisa Renee Jones.

TikToker Cass shared photos of the black eye she said she received at the event
Organizer Lisa Renee Jones pledged to host the event without lines, but attendees said they were disappointed to be left waiting for hours.
Writer Rebecca Yaros blamed organizers for a variety of issues, including what she saw as a “borderline abusive” workload placed on volunteers and poor management
Readers said they struggled to enjoy the conference due to the “chaos”, with one author saying “it was an absolute horror show that we all had to go through”.

“I’ve been to a lot of conferences, and this was, by far, the worst conference I’ve ever been to,” said Sarah Slusarczyk, 32, who flew from Michigan to attend the event.

Readers shelled out up to $375 to attend the event held at the Gaylord Rockies Resort, and Renee Jones reportedly claimed in an email to attendees after the event that she was even moved to tears by the praise for her efforts.

However, reports suggest that at least one person claimed a volunteer pushed him, something Renee Jones insisted was handled professionally.

“In the event that someone claimed that a volunteer had placed his hand on someone, I immediately initiated security intervention,” she wrote in an email, according to the Denver Post.

Renee Jones did not immediately respond to a request for comment from

Allegations of aggressive behavior were also cited in A.J Blog post By writer Abigail Owen, who said she had heard of incidents of “harassment, assault” and “theft”.

Furthermore it, TikToker named Cass She detailed the black eye she said she received during the event.

Allegations of unprofessional behavior at the event also surfaced on TikTok, with one woman claiming she encountered aggressive staff when she was experiencing a medical emergency.

“I was having low blood sugar and the staff yelled at me to get the f*** off the floor,” TikTok user Well Read Nurse said.

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She continued: “There have been so many horrific experiences among readers, vendors, authors, personal assistants and volunteers alike.

“This was not just a breakdown in communication, it is a systemic problem with this program.”

Another writer at the event, Kate Hall, detailed her experience in a 30-minute YouTube video, titled: “I (Barely) Survived Readers at Denver 2024.”

“I was really hoping the situation would get better, but things kept getting worse and worse,” she said, sporting a black eye in her video.

“It was absolutely chaotic all weekend… It was an absolute horror show that we all had to go through.”

Hall said organizers failed to allow authors to set up their book signing tables on time, and they were left exhausted by long lines.

The long lines waiting for authors at the event (pictured) left one aggrieved attendee describing it as “worse than Disney, and there wasn’t even a ride at the end.”

Renee Jones marketed the event as ideal for book lovers hoping to meet their favorite authors as she pledged there would be no queues, and attendees were supposed to use a timed ticket system.

But Kelly Mayer — a self-described “RTD survivor” — said the system didn’t work, and “all we did was stand in line.” It was total BS.

“It was worse than Disney, and there wasn’t even a ride at the end,” she added, noting that the lines wrapping around the hotel caused confusion about what the author was waiting for.

This also reportedly led to some readers waiting for hours in the wrong lines, as volunteers provided incorrect information.

Author Ryan Cahill added in a post on his blog that it was a “disorganized disaster.”

I witnessed the complete chaos that prevailed at the event, and the lack of communication between the organization and the volunteers, between the volunteers themselves, and between the volunteers and the attendees. He wrote that it was crazy how little anyone knew what was going on.

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