Cellular data and Pokémon Go server issues plague Go Fest, prompts Niantic to offer refunds on tickets, $100 in free Poké Coins to attendees.

With thousands and thousands of people at Pokémon Go Fest in Chicago — rumor has it, upwards of 20 thousand — the cellular networks and Pokémon Go's own servers have been crashing hard. That's been causing a ton of frustration for players at Grant Park who, during the live stream, began to chant "We can't play!" "We can't play!"

In response, Niantic, the game's developer, has announced it will be issuing refunds on tickets as well as giving every registered attendee $100 in Poké Coins. Emails will be sent out with more information.

They've also increased the spawn radius around the venue to 2-miles. So, if you're local to Chicago, you can hang out around Grant Park and still catch Heracross and Unown. (So get catching!)

It's a tough situation for everyone. People have come from all over the U.S. and somewhere over 10% have come internationally as well. Niantic and the cell companies, including AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Spring, to their credit, seems to be doing everything they can to fix the network issues, but with the day winding on, it's unclear just how much they'll be able to do.

And that's with Legendary Raids on everyone's mind as well. All the fingers crossed.

We're live at Pokémon Go Fest so check @reneritchie for real-time updates and keep it locked to iMore for more!

Update: Niantic Pokémon GO Fest Chicago statement

Today at Pokémon GO Fest in Chicago, technical issues created problems for a large number of players attending the event. From everyone at Niantic, we apologize to all of the Trainers who came out to Pokémon GO Fest today. Although we were able to solve many of the technical issues, we were not able to offer every attendee a great experience.

Niantic is taking the following steps immediately:

  • All registered attendees will soon receive an email with instructions on how to receive a full refund for the cost of their ticket. These instructions will be sent to the email addresses associated with your Pokémon GO account.
  • All registered attendees will receive $100 in PokéCoins in their Pokémon GO account.
  • Special Pokémon, Eggs, and check-in PokéStops appearing during Pokémon GO Fest have had their range increased to a two mile radius surrounding Grant Park through Monday morning, July 24. These Pokémon and Eggs will only be visible to Pokémon GO Fest attendees who validated the QR code they received when they entered Pokémon GO Fest. >- Attendees who were unable to validate their QR code during the event can do so through the special PokéStops through Monday morning.
  • All registered attendees will have the Legendary Pokémon, Lugia, added to their account.

We appreciate the patience of all the Trainers who joined us in Chicago this weekend. We will strive to make sure our experiences are of the highest quality going forward.

Ninatic also turned on Legendary Raids with Lugia and Articuno with 100% catch rate for attendees.

Gracefully handled.