Fyre Festival was supposed to be the luxe music getaway that would put all others to shame. What happened in reality was the complete opposite. It became a grand example of what not to do when putting together a huge event.
For those of you who just woke up from your long weekend slumber, a quick lowdown: Fyre Festival was supposed to be a weekend getaway of high-end accomodations, killer music acts, and gourmet meals. Produced by Ja Rule (I honestly still just know him as the guy who asks Jennifer Lopez what his name is) and Fyre Productions, it looked pretty legit with promotional content backed by Emily Ratajowski and Bella Hadid. For $4,000 to $12,000, it was supposed to be one kick-ass celebration.
Come the actual festival, Fyre bombed. What greeted the people on the Isle of Exuma (where the swimming pigs can be found) was close to a refugee camp. The headlining acts cancelled due to sloppy production. (Side note: The fact that Blink 182 was the top act for the show should have been a fair warning sign.) One attendee Dylan Caccamesi outlines to Vice that meals were served in styrofoam containers and consisted of wilted veggies and two slices of grocery cheese. Luggage was being thrown from the container vans and the promised private charted flights were the usual Swiss Air flights that were even delayed.
The "gourmet cuisine" this weekend was included in the ticket cost. We are being fed salads and ham and cheese sandwiches out of this tent pic.twitter.com/MRv7U0RiyM
Dylan told Vice of the food service, “You could tell the staff were locals who had no idea what they were in for. There were also local musicians playing on stage, which was cool, but none of the headliners showed up, and things were quickly going to sh*t.” To top it all off, Instagram models were trying to alleviate the situation by running around with alcohol and hyping up the fact that they were in the Bahamas. Err, awkward.
The New Yorker also shares another attendee’s experience, “We were e-mailing Fyre Festival from the site because these rickety concierge booths were all empty…There were two guys at a little table giving out wristbands by checking names off a Google spreadsheet, on a Mac laptop at twelve percent battery.”
What makes it even more embarassing (Poor Ja Rule…not really) is how the fiasco could have been avoided months before. The Cut shares the story of a talent producer who was recruited for the pre-production stage of Fyre but left when she realized that the gig was going to implode. Chloe Gordon’s story seems to imply how there was money mishandling from the get-go and how poor planning was already at the crux of the whole production. “With so little having been prepared ahead of time, the official verdict was that it would take $50 million to pull off. Planners also warned that it would also not be up to the standard they had advertised,” Chloe shared. Still, for some inexplicable reason, the Fyre executives still pushed for it. Even going with the motto, “Let’s just do it and be legends, man.”
So a lesson to all music producers and festival goers, it if it sounds too good to be true, it’s most likely going to blow up in your face. It’s also a warning that there’s always a danger to going big. Most of the time, if you can’t pull it off, you might as well go home. And look at the memes. The memes are gifts that keep on giving.