Pokémon GO Fest 2017

The first Pokémon GO Fest event in Pokémon GO occurred in 2017. There were difficulties for both guests and Trainers all across the globe.

Attendees exclusive features at The Pokemon GO Fest 2017

Pokmon_GO_Fest_2017_medal Pokémon GO Fest
Chicago, July 22, 2017

Niantic has stated that all incentives acquired after completing the tasks during the Pokémon GO Fest in Chicago will be accessible until July 28, 2017 at 02:00 (Italian time).

Pokemon GO Fest 2017 Bonus

The following incentives will be available for use:

  • Bonus candy doubled
  • Egg hatching benefit has been reduced.
  • Bonus of Double Stardust
  • Bonus of Double Experience Points
  • Bonus for increasing your match
  • Bonus for reduced companion distance
  • The distance to travel for hatching and companions has been reduced by one-third as compared to the standard one.

We also remind you that Articuno will be available in the Gyms for a limited time, and that Zapdos and Moltres will be arriving shortly, much to the delight of all Trainers!

What are your thoughts on the news released after the Pokémon GO Fest? Are you pleased with the 72-hour extension of the numerous worldwide incentives that have been made available?

Featured Pokémon

These Pokémon were released at the start of the event. Since Team Mystic captured the most Pokémon during the event, Articuno joined Lugia in Raid Battles immediately upon completing the challenge.

Articuno_shiny Articuno
Icon_Ice Icon_Flying
Lugia_shiny Lugia
Icon_Flying Icon_Psychic

The other two Legendary Birds – Moltres and Zapdos, were also unlocked, but they would be available in the latter weeks. [2]

Bird Name Start date End date
Articuno Pokémon GO Fest 2017 Pokémon GO Fest 2017 Articuno Saturday, July 22 Monday, July 31
Moltres Pokémon GO Fest 2017 Pokémon GO Fest 2017 Moltres Monday, July 31 Monday, August 7
Zapdos Pokémon GO Fest 2017 Pokémon GO Fest 2017 Zapdos Monday, August 7 Monday, August 14


During the event, there were various networking and connection challenges. During the event, many Trainers were unable to access their accounts. For his fury, the game’s CEO, John Hanke, was booed on stage. Because to these complications, all guests got a refund of their entry fee, $100 in Shop credit, and a free Lugia.



  • This event was previously scheduled to coincide with the 1st Anniversary and Chester Heritage Festival activities.


  1.  Legendary Pokémon are here!. Pokémon GO Live. Retrieved on 2017-07-26.
  2. ↑ Jump up to:2.0 2.1 Hanke, J. (2017, July 25). An Update regarding Pokémon GO Fest in Chicago. Niantic. Retrieved on 2017-07-26.
  3.  New Boxes on sale in the Shop!. /r/TheSilphRoad. Retrieved on 2017-07-26.
  4.  Pokemon Go Fest refunds all tickets as players can’t get game to work. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved on 2017-07-26.

Pokemon GO Fest 2017: The Best Experience


A swarm of people pounded the moist grass of Chicago’s Grant Park, phones in hand. Despite the tempting green environment and the throb of upbeat music, their gaze was fixed on their displays, which guided their every action. “Unown!” screamed someone, and heads sprang up. “Where?” screamed one child, breaking into a run. Others eagerly followed.

This euphoric surge repeated itself a half-dozen times in the early hours of Pokémon Go Fest, which took place this past Saturday. Pokémon lovers flocked from all over the United States and abroad to mark the one-year anniversary of Niantic’s smashing success of a game, a worldwide smartphone sensation that has brought people of all ages, ethnicities, and genders together to connect over a shared goal: capturing pokémon.

Since the game’s debut, there have been hundreds of these unofficial meetings in the shape of bar crawls, meetups, and parties, but Pokémon Go Fest was Niantic’s largest bet — a sold-out, day-long official event for up to 20,000 people. Fans expected to be able to catch uncommon pokémon and take part in activities, culminating in a challenge that would release some of the series’ most legendary pokémon into the virtual wilds. However, when connection issues and in-game crashes rendered Pokémon Go useless for participants, the day devolved into a large-scale reenactment of the game’s early issues.

The Pokémon Go Fest started at 10 a.m., although enthusiasts began to gather as early as 4 a.m. Lines that looked like two twin snakes curled around the park’s entrance and trailed down the street. The throng stretched and yawned as the gates opened, slowly trickling into the cordoned-off site.

The celebration was all-encompassing throughout the park. Physical towers constructed to appear like pokéstops, in-game sites where players stock up on supplies, were scattered throughout the grass, which was still muddy from the night before. A group of huge displays encouraged gamers to connect their phones and broadcast their gym fights, while others showed current battle data or top players.

At the park’s northern end, three tents — one red, one blue, and one yellow — represented the game’s teams: Valor, Instinct, and Mystic. Inside each tent, there were snacks, beanbags to relax on, and, most crucially, hundreds of tables with mobile phone charging stations. Guests could see the main stage, where the day’s announcements were made, from these three tents. The stage’s massive speakers spewed generic techno’s “uhn tiss uhn tiss” into the swelling masses.

Morning Adventure

One of the festival’s visitors was Jack Chasteen. He won his tickets in a raffle held at a Sprint shop in the Chicago suburbs when he was 18 years old. He’d struck a deal with the girl in front of him: since winners would get two tickets, they agreed to split the prize if any of them won. Her ticket had the fortunate number on it.

“We were both surprised and scared,” he said. “I was shaking as though I had won.” He arrived on his own the first day, but spent the morning meeting new players. Despite some small technical issues with the software, he remained upbeat. “The game is a little shaky. You are logged out. But I still like the game.”


2017 Pokemon GO Fest Chicago
CHICAGO, IL – JULY 22: A overall picture of the mood in Grant Park during the Pokemon GO Fest on July 22, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Image courtesy of Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images)

Chasteen contrasted the connection problems during Pokémon Go Fest to the early days of the game’s introduction, when the servers often collapsed due to the enormous influx of new users. “It’s like a kindly reminder of how things used to be,” he quipped, “even if they weren’t the greatest days.”

Kevin Diangkinay, too, went alone to the event. His pals were unable to take time off work, but he was unconcerned about travelling alone. “I feel a bit more connected with Pokémon Go,” he remarked. “Everyone is here to achieve the same objective.” Diangkinay claimed he got his ticket for $20 online when they originally went on sale, but he knows others who spent up to $400 via scalpers. “I didn’t want to say anything, but that’s ridiculous. That’s double the price of my ticket here.”

Why would someone pay a 2,000% markup?

“The FOMO is genuine,” Diangkinay remarked.

Inside the Team Instinct tent, three adult players sat. The group, which ranged in age from 38 to 61, went from Canada to attend the event. They’d all been playing since the game’s release and were anxious to get their hands on one of the series’ legendary birds, mythical pokémon. “Zapdos would be fantastic,” observed Vicki Ghabban, motioning to the logo inscribed on the Team Instinct table. But technological difficulties were becoming more prevalent, and their chances of catching their pokémon appeared to be dwindling by the minute.

A player nearby cried “Heracross here!” and a small group of runners immediately formed a mob, rolling toward a single goal. Their motions were rhythmic as they rushed by, backpacks bouncing. But when they arrived, they all had the same disappointed expression, as if cued by an unseen master.

“Repair the game!”

“It’s gone,” one lady lamented a few seconds later.

“Did we miss it?” a person lamented.

Another person shook his head. “Wait a minute, guy.”

A Heracross sprouted in the north end of the park, providing a second opportunity. However, while a number of gamers attempted to capture it, their accounts started to collapse, resulting in the loss of many dozens of catches. By the time the first challenge was due to begin, shortly before 11 a.m., more participants were experiencing difficulties.

A lady in the audience with a pram screamed out “Fix the servers!” as a cheerful onstage speaker enthused about the upcoming activities. The chant caught hold, and more others joined in. As a promotional Pokémon Go video started to play, the audience yelled in unison, “Fix the game!”

When Niantic CEO John Hanke joined the stage soon after, he was greeted with a chorus of boos. Hanke began his welcoming speech, but halted after just a few lines, momentarily pausing before moving on to discuss the weather, picking up on rain projections. “I know some of you guys had problems logging in this morning,” he stated as the audience roared in frustration. “I want to let you know we’re working with the mobile providers, AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, trying to get things straightened out. We’re working on the game server to resolve this.

“So, please know that the whole Niantic team is fighting against this, so please be patient with us, okay?” Hanke tried to encourage the audience by mentioning the families he’d seen at the event. However, the mood remained tight. “Fix the game!” said a guy over the din.



“We’re working on it,” Hanke said. The CEO attempted another turnaround, thanking those who traveled. He advised all participants to pace themselves for the long day ahead. “This isn’t a sprint,” he said.

Reactions to Hanke’s arrival were divided. A group of players crowded around after he departed the stage. “I feel awful because everyone began shouting at him,” one player stated. “I don’t,” argued another, citing Niantic’s months of planning building up to the event. “I can’t even log in,” he said as he made his way to the Valor tent.

Early afternoon Experience

Unfortunately for both gamers and Niantic, the issues were only getting started. Like so many others, I couldn’t get my game to operate by 11 a.m. The loading screen, which featured a Tyranitar battling a swarm of Pokémon, became a familiar image on my phone. Even when I was able to log in, my game crashed the moment I successfully caught a Pokémon.

Players lurched aimlessly as I circled the field, unable to log in or get their games to operate correctly. One lady said, “A grass thing!” “There’s another grass thing!” she said to her friend, as a girl nearby rattled her phone. “Oh my goodness, work!” she said angrily. The challenge came to a close, and players gathered once again around the main stage to await the outcomes.

There was a disconnect between Niantic’s upbeat onstage emcee and the audience. When she questioned, “How was that challenge?” she was hit with a hail of boos. It was unpleasant to see as Niantic workers attempted to keep the situation under control while gamers got more upset. The audience ultimately left the platform, and one irritated lady walked away, shaking her head. “What a waste of time,” she said.



Throughout the day, the onstage performances were drowned out by booing and cries of “We can’t play.” The main stage and adjacent field were transformed into a humorous town hall, where strangers congregated to express their problems, drawing frustrated cheers from the audience. “This is a failure!” said one of the guests. “This is a rip-off!” said another.

Just after 12:30 p.m., John Hanke sat onstage, smiling and signing autographs. “Screw you, John!” screamed one guy standing near the stage’s left barrier. TJ Kosek is a 22-year-old from Ohio who came with his two sisters and father.

“It took us five and a half hours to get here,” he said of their trip. The family came just after 7 a.m. and waited for more than three hours to enter. Kosek stated he couldn’t play at all within the park. “We were given no explanation for what was going on,” he stated. “It’s been a rough period.” Kosek wasn’t sure how long he and his family would be able to stay. “We’ll see whether [the game] begins loading by the next event [at 3PM]. I’m not sure what we’ll do if it doesn’t. We may go out. It seems to be a massive swindle. Tolls, petrol, motels, and parking were all too expensive. It wasn’t inexpensive either, paying for the tickets here.”

“We’re all in this together.”

Kosek’s tale is not uncommon. Many players, particularly families, went to participate in the celebrations, and they were frustrated, disheartened, and outraged. Many people expected refunds at some point (another frequent shout during onstage presentations: “Refunds!”), but a $20 ticket doesn’t cover the expense of travel or lodging.

Other participants seemed to be unconcerned with the event’s failings. When questioned about their experience, two guys from Ohio merely chuckled. “We’ve been disappointed,” Will Allen said. They discovered, however, that the experience formed a weird kind of brotherhood. “We’re all in this together,” he remarked of the folks he’d met thus far. “We aren’t alone.”

Late afternoon Experience

Some players elected to stay for the day — after all, they were already there — but others went in droves. As one queue developed to depart the park, another formed outside to enter. Festivalgoers continued to arrive throughout the day. Many people were unaware of the calamity they were about to join, while others had heard rumblings about the festival’s issues. “I’ve been receiving a lot of tweets about people complaining about the connection,” Will, an 11-year-old gamer from Atlanta, said.

He and his mother waited in line for about an hour and a half in the hopes of capturing a legendary pokémon. Despite the numerous issues, he remained optimistic about his ability to play. “But I know they’re working to fix the problem in here.”

Julian Florence, a 29-year-old Chicago native, didn’t hear anything about the issues after an hour in line. “I was anticipating that since there are so many people out here playing the game,” he said. “Of sure, there will be some server troubles. I’m simply hoping that the game works for me. I’m excited to get started.”

Niantic returned to the park and finally had some answers. Mike Quigley, the company’s CMO, informed the audience that they had found three problems: one on the mobile network provider side, and two on Niantic’s. iPhone users were encountering a crash bug, while gamers on all platforms were facing login issues.

Quigley reiterated his earlier announcement to those who may have missed it: refunds would be issued, and players who successfully checked in with their assigned QR codes would be credited $100 in in-game pokécoins, the virtual currency that allows users to purchase pokéballs, revives, and other items. “We realize this is not the day we had all hoped for,” he remarked. The radius for catching special pokémon was expanded to two miles outside the park, and it would be in effect for the duration of the weekend.



Niantic’s apology at least temporarily calmed the mob. Instead of booing Quigley as he walked off the platform, one guy said, “Thank you for trying!” An painfully on-the-nose tune leaked out of the speakers as the audience departed once again. “We can make it till the finish together,” the chorus continued.

The hottest hours of the day were gone, and word of refunds had traveled effectively across the masses. The mood eventually returned to normal. Finley Horner, a 22-year-old from Minnesota, claimed Niantic was not totally to blame for the day’s troubles. “I believe they’re doing all they can with those [cellular network troubles and refunds],” she remarked. “It’s not like they can cover everyone’s travel fees for coming here. They only have so much power.” Horner characterized her day as wonderful than she had hoped. “I thought it to be a garbage fire straight away,” she said. “I’d characterize it as a hot mess.”

Evening Experience

Niantic was ready to call it at 5 p.m. It arrived two hours sooner than predicted, which was arguably the most telling sign that the event was clearly a flop. All Hanke press interviews were pushed, then canceled for the day. A spokeswoman for our sister site Polygon characterized the crew as “horrified” by the events of the day and willing to learn from their errors.

The event’s primary mystery challenge, a chance to engage Lugia in a raid fight, seemed to play out considerably differently than expected. There was no grand finale. Instead, everyone who checked into the event would get a Lugia. Articuno was the first legendary bird to appear in the game since Team Mystic collected the most. The revelation was received with applause, but despite being asked to stay in the park until 7 p.m., players streamed through the gates and onto Chicago streets.

Niantic would not answer to more festival-related queries for this piece, but it did promise more information on its website shortly.



The area surrounding Grant Park remained a focus for Pokémon Go gamers in the hours that followed. Even if you walked down the street, you were still likely to be caught Red Rover-style in a crowd of gamers with their faces pressed against their displays.

The game’s issues, albeit better, lingered late into the night. A group of at least 30 gamers gathered on the sidewalk just before 10 p.m. to launch a raid on Lugia. They attempted to compete again and again. As their TVs stopped again and again, the gamers moaned and grimaced in disgust.

Pokémon Go Fest finished the same way Pokémon Go started: it was a shambles, but in the heat of a summer evening, the greatest fans couldn’t bring themselves to give up. Dozens of gamers continued to tap on their phones, their faces lighted by loading displays.