This article originally appeared on VICE Serbia.
For Serbian parents with kids over the age of seven—like me—it would have been impossible not to have heard of BalkanTube Fest months in advance. Because at this convention, on October 1 to 2 in Belgrade, Serbian kids could finally meet their vlogging idols and scream their precious little heads off while doing so.
When, on our way to the convention, I tried to explain to my son that I would just drop him and his sister off because the focus of the convention didn't interest me enough to stay the whole day, he gave me a look of utter incomprehension. He could not understand why I don't share his passion for YouTube stars like Marija Zezelj, Mudja, or Stuber—yes, I know their names. You try having kids in Serbia, raising them for a couple of years, and then judge me. But he didn't need to understand—they would have a great day without me.
Sunday was the most important day of the festival, when the most popular and influential YouTubers from Serbia and the rest of the Balkans stopped by. That meant hordes of screaming children clutching their phones, in hot pursuit of a selfie with a YouTube star. I brought my kids to the entrance, set them free in the convention center of their wildest dreams, and left for a couple of hours. But there were many parents who couldn't leave their children there and were forced to spend a day pushing through this very 2016 hellscape.
These parents were the real stars of this convention.