Let me start by saying planning a festival is not easy by any means, there are inevitably some mistakes that will be made along the way, and some level of tolerance and consideration that the audience should have.
Being the devils advocate for this horrific outcome would involve thinking how stressful it must have been working under Billy McFarland, who is the man responsible for planning the epic failure of Fyre Music Festival. It would involve admiring the team’s dedication and persistence and their faith for thinking that this festival would have a chance of not being an utter disaster. It would involve being empathetic, & giving kudos to the video production team because they really made it look like paradise.
Everyone involved tried as best as they could with the six months they had to plan, we must give them that. Nobody is perfect, and Fyre Music Festival is definitely not the only festival to turn south on a large scale.
What about Woodstock? It was remembered as the epitome of flower power, the mother of all music festivals, and a legacy for future festivals to follow. It was not remembered for the EIGHT (yes, eight!) miscarriages, 5,162 reported medical incidents, and the food and water running out. Maybe the Fyre Festival team had genuine intentions.
On the other hand.. McFarland is bat-shit crazy.
Oh Billy…what were you thinking? He literally made the maximum number of mistakes you possibly could. To try and list them all would be a court hearing, so I’m going to break down a couple reasons why this scandal was without a doubt, fucked.
The promotion video they released is the opposite of what attendees experiences. First off, this festival was originally advertised to take place on Pablo Escabar’s previous island in the Bahama’s. Turns out, a Netflix Documentary revealed McFarland had no permission to disclose that information. Shocker!
After Fyre was forced to relocate due the blatant illegal advertisement, the team didn’t relay the message to ticket-holders that the festival was now taking place on an island called Great Exuma which is a stones-throw from a Sandal’s Resort. The promotion video depicted expansive beaches, half-naked supermodels, grand yachts, and even native piglets swimming in turquoise waters. Needless to say, there was none of that.
Their promised lineup was full of top artists at the time like, Major Lazer, Disclosure, Blink 182, Rae Sremmurd, and more were on the bill. The attendees didn’t get to see any of the artists they got a ticket to see, but it wasn’t a total talentless festival thanks to a local group of musicians that took the stage at nightfall.
Of course this situation was immoral because of unrealistic claims and flat out lies, but some mistakes Billy made were ethically disturbed.
Putting innocent people in that position is wrong. Besides the luxurious falsehood, besides the phony lineup, the lack of BASIC festival amenities (medical assistance, proper restrooms, and responsive communication from staff) is what set this festival into a new category of failure. If you consider yourself an avid festival-goer, you know what expectations there are to be had at a festival. Arriving to a festival to find not only nothing promised but nothing to have a comfortable and safe experience would be extremely upsetting, especially when you are that far from home.
On top of the guests, McFarland was a manipulative boss. He pleaded his co-producer Andy King to have oral sex with a man to avoid a $175,000 customs fee on imported water for the festival. Andy King took a shower, got dressed, brushed his teeth, and was fully prepared to complete this request. The man was ready to suck dick to save this festival. I was on the fence of that being honorable or immoral, but I decided to go with immoral. Anyways, he didn’t end up having to do it and the fee got waived, but that is the extent McFarland pushed his staff to.
Without a doubt, Billy McFarland is getting sued on multiple accounts. Serious cases filed included one about how in the process of trying to get festival attendees back home, passengers were locked in the Exuma Airport terminal with no access to food, water, or A/C due to flight departure issues. Attendees disclosed that at least one person passed out from heat exhaustion and had to be hospitalized.
Financially, McFarland made mistakes that will haunt him for the rest of his life. He scammed attendees even further by encouraging them to load up wristbands that would be their ‘cash’ for the cashless event, he promised money to local workers to put in blood sweat and tears to make the festival what little it was, and he made the monumental fault of conning the big dogs.
A $1.2 million dollar investment was made under false information that inflated his company’s revenue and tampered his stock statement so that his stocks were worth $2.5 million when truthfully they were less than $1500. This is a big fat no-no, and will be costing him greatly.
So why did he go through with it? Why did he dig himself too deep, and not call for help? Many wonder why McFarland didn’t cancel or postpone, and the answer to that isn’t to clear quite yet.
What if you went? Would you make the best of it, or would you be shaking in fury?
This event provokes a lot of thought and question, feel free to discuss in the comment section below!
Thanks for reading!
All the love,