Pokémon GO Fest: Global Review


This weekend was the global Pokémon GO Fest event, something so many trainers look forward to all year round. A true highlight of the year for Pokémon GO! Tickets were $14.99 US (or equivalent pricing tier in your local currency), or there was the option to play for free, with the differences between the two versions of the event discussed in detail here. Myself and my local crew opted for the paid tickets for the weekend, and this was our experience!

Day One

There is only one place to play a big event like this for us locally, and that is the sea front in the next town over. It is the highest density spawn area, and it has a plethora of regular Pokéstops and gyms. It is plenty of parking, it a pretty easy to walk, with access to public toilets, plenty of shops for drinks, and choices of places to eat. We always meet up for breakfast, so I left the house at 8.15am to pick up my friend Bev, before we parked up and then walked over to our chosen breakfast spot. Fed and watered we discussed our options for optimal mega evolutions, counted up our open egg spaces ready to open gifts for those special 7km eggs, and waited excitedly for 10am!

10am hit, and the first Pokémon I clicked on was a shiny Pikachu! What a way to start the day. I started putting my incense on, and my second check was a shiny Pawniard. Was this going to be the sign that it was going to be a very shiny day?! I could only hope. Gifts opened and 7km eggs acquired, the walk was on.

And what a walk it was. With over 25,000 steps tracked, we certainly worked for our shinies. Our day was somewhat dampened quite literally by a tremendous thunderstorm, followed by heavy rain that continued on for quite a while. We took emergency shelter in a wooden bus shelter during the thunder and lightening, but once that passed we donned our raincoats and risked the wet weather to carry on hunting. We had to, the bad weather happened the entirety of the second Malachite Wilderness habitat, and we had shiny Cowboy Hat Snorlax to hunt!

Our shiny totals varied quite drastically on day one, with the lowest tally for our group being 15, and the highest being 34. We all walked the same route, the same distance, and got different results. We got a good mixture of different shinies, from some of the brand new releases, to some of the rarer spawns, and I know I made everyone laugh with the ridiculous excited weird skip/dance/jump I did when I got a shiny Cowboy Hat Snorlax on my first raid. By the end of the day we were all exhausted but fairly happy, and looking forward to day two.

Our major frustrations were that unfortunately it seemed that the natural wild spawns had been nerfed, so some of our favourite grind spots were sadly lacklustre. The spawn rates for the newest releases and Unowns seemed to be lower than a lot of the more common spawns, making them a harder hunt. The weather is out of our control, but didn’t help our hunting, and the shiny rates felt a little low compared to last year. That certainly changed on day two.

TLDR: Day 1 Highs

  • Hourly rotating field research
  • Variety of spawns
  • Guaranteed 7km eggs from gifts
  • Buffed stationary incense spawns
  • The community
  • Increased catch rate for Legendary Pokémon in raids

TLDR: Day 1 Lows

  • The weather
  • Wild spawns felt nerfed
  • Some issues with the game crashing and spawns vanishing
  • Less Unown and newly released shiny spawns
  • No decreased hatch distance for ticket holders despite special 7km eggs
  • Extra special trades should be available after event ends so you aren’t panic trading at the end of the event hours

Day Two

Day two we opted to play in a different way, due to widely predicted rain and thunder storms, and a focus on raiding. Less of us were able to partake in day two, so we met up to hop into one car and go out and hunt for raids. We did a mixture of Goomy, Cowboy Hat Snorlax, and Mega Rayquaza raids across the two main towns near where we live. Sadly none of us got any shiny legendaries from our in-person raids, but such is RNG. It was great seeing lobbies fill up in person, and being able to invite our friends from around the world without having to worry about the remote raid pass limit!

The biggest issue on day two was the dreaded white screen when our teams fainted. It was a really frustrating bug, and when you are trying to take down difficult raid bosses without full lobbies, could mean the difference between success and failure. Some of our group experienced this in nearly every raid, and had to force close and restart the app, and try to get back into the raid, losing valuable time.

Day two was when the shinies really seemed to be coming thick and fast. With us travelling by car to different groups of gyms, which were often also spawn hot spots, we all got a lot more shinies on day two. By the end of the day I’d gotten around 50 shinies!! (It was hard to know exactly how many I got because we did the maximum of 12 trades each day, and I forgot which new catches I traded away). It felt like we were constantly hearing cries of ‘shiny!’, and after not getting many shinies I needed on day one, day two did not disappoint. After day one I had only crossed 12 off my shiny hunt list, but by day two it was 27! It left me with 11 shinies I didn’t get that were on my list, which isn’t bad going at all.

TDLR: Day Two Highs

  • Huge shiny counts for all
  • More different shinies than day one
  • Good variety in raids
  • Raids popping up regularly
  • Remote raid pass limit lifted meant we could invite our friends all day
  • In-person raiding seemed popular too

TLDR: Day Two Lows

  • The white screen of doom after your team fainted in raids
  • No shiny legendaries for any of my group
  • Spawns could have been more varied in the wild, it felt like the best things were all incense
  • Cost of remote raid passes was off-putting
  • Field research tasks were hard to complete, and other than the single Rayquaza Candy XL, not particularly worthwhile. Why hardly any Pokémon encounters?


While shinies were plentiful, and we did lots of trades to help each other out, the thing that made the weekend most fun was being with my friends. Friends I’ve made entirely because of Pokémon GO! We had such a laugh, and had the best time hanging out as a group. The shinies were just the best bonus. I actually beat my shiny count for GO Fest London, which I didn’t expect at all.

My only personal disappointment is that the number one target I wanted, Joltik, refused to shine for me. It seemed to be the Pokémon that shined the least for the group as a whole. One day that tiny little green shiny will be mine, but until then, here’s to another fantastic GO Fest weekend.

Author & tags

Turtwig obsessive, real life Psyduck, Pokémon GO AR Photographer, found footage horror fan and Pokémon GO Hub AR Queen

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