The Fyre music and arts festival was billed as the “Coachella on a private island.” Blink-182, Major Lazer, Migos, and a handful of artists from the Kanye West-founded hip-hop collective G.O.O.D Music were headlined as musical acts for the two-weekend luxury festival on the formerly Escobar-owned exotic island of Fyre Cay, Great Exuma in the Bahamas.
But for people who were at the “luxurious” cultural event of the decade, Fyre Festival was anything but an alleged “get-rich-quick scam” that had organizers canceling and firing its staff at the last minute. Countless comparisons and references from The Hunger Games, Lord of the Flies, to the real-life Syrian crisis were made after seeing none of the promised amenities were present at the supposed location.
The promo video announcing Fyre Festival featuring ‘Fyre Influencers’ Bella Hadid and Emily Ratajkowski.
It was an epic disaster. With ticket prices ranging from $1,500 (approx. P75,000 ) to $12,000 (approx. P600,000) including extravagant resort accommodations, attendees anticipated mingling with bikini-clad models on white sand and aboard on yachts on crystal blue waters, stay in chic and stylish villas, and dine on gourmet cuisine.
Instead, well-off guests were brought to a development site lined with refugee camp tents that resemble, well, refugee campgrounds. The lush, crystal blue waters were, unfortunately, infested with sharks. “Gourmet” meals served included fast food regulars: burgers n’ fries, pasta, chicken and salad packed in styro. By the way, the infamous cheese sandwich photo was said to be the staff lunch, TMZ says.
After several reports detailing the timeline of events that led to the now notorious fiasco, it’s pretty clear that the Fyre Festival was a successful marketing campaign thanks to the power of social media. The leaked pitch deck of the concert fest reeked of Tom Haverford and Jean-Ralphio Saperstein — supermodels and Instagram personalities were tapped to promote the festival in exchange for free VIP tickets and flights.
Blink-182’s statement the day before Fyre’s debut.
But no ‘Fyre Influencers’ came to the island on the ill-fated first weekend of the festival; they were told in advance by Fyre organizers to “hold off” until a reschedule is announced.
In PR matters, the management (New York-based rapper Ja Rule, whose name was frequently affiliated with J.Lo and Ashanti in the early 2000s, and tech newb Billy McFarland) behind Fyre has yet to deliver a convincing apology:
Yep, you heard that right, it’s NOT his fault. You can read McFarland’s statement here.
So, what can we learn from this nightmare? One thing is for sure, and that is not to get involved in anything that has Ja Rule’s name stuck on it. FYI, the guy pleaded guilty to tax evasion in 2011. That should tell you that a festival this too good to be true was bound to collapse before it even started. To top it all off, Ja Rule and McFarland are now slapped with three class action lawsuits for “alleged negligence, fraud, and misrepresentation.”
And most importantly, do your damn research before booking those tix.