I would safely say that you would have no doubt heard about the absolute sham that was this Fyre Festival across social media in the past week or so. The brainchild of some 25 year old rich American socialite, Billy McFarland, who has a shady past with previous companies he has set up and none of other then Ja Rule( one of the most successful Hip Hop artists). The festival was aimed at “monied millenials” with tickets costing $12,780 for a four person package. The festival was supposed to happen across two weekends similar to Coachella however that obviously didn’t happen. Most of the evidence for this blog is taken from timeline reports created by http://www.spin.com and http://www.vulture.com which can be found here: http://www.spin.com/2017/05/fyre-festival-disaster-timeline/ and here: http://www.vulture.com/2017/05/fyre-festival-fiasco-the-complete-timeline.html.
The festival became a huge disaster story and completely fell through with it now having three massive lawsuits being brought against it looking for damages of 100+ million dollars. So where did it all go wrong? lets find out:
McFarland meets Ja Rule. McFarland had previously founded Magnises, a “black card” subscription social club for millennials that’s been accused of failing to follow through on promises of perks like exclusive concert tickets and luxury vacations. Ja Rule became a Magnises spokesperson. Which was the beginning of the storm to come.
Late 2015/Early 2016
The two ended up setting up a new “well thought” venture called “Fyre” which was an app which allowed you to book celebrities appearances and they wanted to set up a ultra luxury festival to promote the app and get its name out there. As you can already see the issue of strictly catering to rich millennials is all this guy seemed to want to do. They picked the Exuma district in the Bahamas as the luxury destination after going on vacation there.
In December they released a promo for the festival after inviting a number of well known models and djs/producers to the Bahamas for a photo and video shoot. They were all picked for their large following on Instagram as the organisers felt this would be the best way to spread the word on social media. Looking at the promo video below I have to say they did a great job because it looks extremely tempting.
On one day all the chosen influencers flooded Instagram with an orange square to promote the festival and the Fyre Media company which was the overall company running the app and the festival ran a benefit concert in the Bahamas to help to promote the festival. Kendall Jenner reportedly received $250,000 for promoting the festival on social media!
McFarland hires a TV crew to record a reality TV show based around the festival but it falls through when he refuses to pay the $100,000. The festival began teasing limited tickets and offering discount codes to try and sell more tickets as it obviously wasn’t going well.
With less than two months until showtime, organizers attempt to line up logistics. At this point, a toilet and shower supplier told Vice News, Fyre was already down to the wire—just ordering the trailers would’ve cost $1 million, before the cost of shipping and disposal. In a cash crunch, McFarland reportedly obtains a $5 million high-interest loan to cover expenses. If this wasn’t a warning sign to McFarland himself I don’t know what would be taking out such an expensive loan is crazy especially considering it would only cover the cost of some of the logistics.
April was when the shit really hit the fan and all the major warning signs came out. Artists hadn’t been paid the money they had been promised in contract and publications began to question whether this festival would even happen. Comcast was at this time looking into potentially investing $25 million into the Fyre app however they pulled out after doing a diligent review. On the 27th of April one of the supposed main headliners, Blink 182, pulls out of the concert saying they wouldn’t “have what they needed to give the performance. That same evening customers began arriving to the the island but instead of the luxury festival they were promised they were greeted with disaster tent accommodation and a barely made grounds and disgusting “luxury” catering.
The next day the festival announces that it has been postponed and they attempted to help organise flights home for all who had made it to the island already. Ja Rule issues an apology for all the problems however he says that none of it was his fault. McFarland tries to do damage control saying that they were “a little naive” issuing full refunds for all tickets bought and promising a 2018 Fyre Festival in a U.S location and all attendees for this year will be allowed attend free of charge.
May 1st the first lawsuit is filed by celebrity attorney Mark Geragos seeking roughly $100 million dollars in damages and the next day another $100 million class-action lawsuit is filed against the festival claiming they tricked people into purchasing tickets to a festival that never existed. The day after a third lawsuit was filed by two of the festival goers who claimed “Upon the arrival of guests to the island of Great Exuma for the first weekend, the island was lacking basic amenities, was covered in dirt, and guests had to sleep in tents with wet blankets,” the suit claims. “There were no communal showers or bathrooms as promised; instead there were porta potties (only about one for every 200 yards) that were knocked down and only three showers although there were hundreds of people arriving”. Two more lawsuits were filed against the festival from different companies in the days after showing that McFarland was really in the shit.
Basically the whole thing is screwed and a lot of people got screwed over about this “luxury festival” and I feel we won’t be hearing anything from McFarland for a while only if its him showing up to court to have him owe an unholy amount of money .