Fyre Festival for the 1% Burns Like Rome

Apparently someone (specifically Jeffrey Atkins aka “Ja Rule”) thought it would be a good idea to get a bunch of musicians to host a concert on a Caribbean island and charge $5000-$250,000 for tickets, making it accessible for only the richest and best looking people. Schadenfreudlichly, the whole thing turned out to be a huge mess; the “luxury cabanas” that were promised were literally disaster relief tents, the “gourmet meals” provided were bread and pre-sliced cheese, and the “concierge services” consisted of a container full of attendees’ luggage being dumped on the beach in the dark of night, with people left to figure out for themselves which bags were theirs.

The only thing I really see wrong with all this is the fact that it wasn’t intentional. Personally I think it would have been a great prank to throw on the 1%, stranding them on an island with nowhere to sleep and little to eat, and perhaps just a note left tacked to a tree that read “Now you know how we have to live. Signed, The 99%.”


Didn’t I just see another recent story about the rich being swindled by offers of a “super luxe” party with tickets for 1k+ that was actually just three dudes with bullhorns and moldy food?

I’ve heard it said that one should never purchase the first run of a new motorcycle/car as the producer isn’t yet aware of the underlying issues with the vehicle. Maybe rich folk should try more established venues for consumption and binging? Was Bonnaroo not Luxe enough? Maybe Coachella has become over-poored?


I’m curious how this went so bad? Other than putting on a festival is harder than some people think. Spent a decade, a decade ago, going to Burning Man including volunteering with various departments before, during and after the actual event. Like BM or not, a lot of people work very hard behind the scenes to make the magic happen.


It’s either
a massive miscalculation of the work required, or
a massive grift.

I’d normally lean towards the grift, as there’s a lot of money at play, but then why any effort at all? Why not just take the money and disappear?
Unless… maybe one of the partners grifted not just the 1%ers but also the other partners that fronted the money? Maybe the shitty preparations were there to keep bait on the hook as long as possible?


I’m guessing it’s a failure of oversight and management, coupled with “grift” at the second level; while the organizers might not have been planning a scam, the companies who got the contracts to build and staff the place probably looked at the whole thing as a huge opportunity to charge a lot and deliver as little as possible. The people organizing it probably didn’t even realize the extent of the problems until it was too late.


The videos are the best of the beds and tents not set up, of pallets of building materials just everywhere.

Its like the olympics in Russia.
Lots of money, lots of layers of corruptions, and no oversight.


Much like “presidenting” putting on events is actually hard. Who’d’a thunk? Apart from any person who pays attention or does basic research. /s


A bit meta, but I am following this same topic on both boards. Over there is a lot more “ha, ha, look at the stupid rich people.” Here, though the conversation is shorter, it’s a much more considered look at the scam itself, whether it was intended to go the way it did, or is just the result of extreme incompetence – all aimed at the organisers and not the people who fell for it.

This conversation here is the one I joined BBS for. Yes, there’s a certain satisfaction we can instinctively feel when it appears that the rich are getting their comeuppance, but the funny thing is, those same people laughing there would be outraged at the organisers if it was a more average price festival that promised and severely underdelivered. I like being able to dig into the real story (the festival scam itself) versus just laughing at the victims just because they are not very likable.


Agreed. I’m just curious about the gritty details.


I would definitely read a tell-all about how it went down. Hubris or graft? The public wants to know!


I think people mocking them for the cost have just never gone on holiday to fancy all inclusive or cruise?
Its just funny because its “youths” but if it was Bubbie from New Jersey stuck on a cruise without food or water or locked inside an airport it’d be an international incident.


Exactly. One of those long read articles. Introduce the players. Take us through the early inception. Take us on the journey to failure making sure to highlight critical moments/choices that will come back later to blow up in everyone’s face. I know, basically literary rubber necking but entertaining and usually there is some lesson to be learned from the mistakes of others.


Hey, rich folks: this is just a brief little taste of what happens to the rest of us when you do everything you can to avoid paying your fucking taxes.


as a long-time burner, yeah – i’m taking pleasure in this story because of how insanely hard it is to put on a big event, let alone one as big as burning man. i suspect the people with recognizable names let people talk them into this vendor or that vendor, and there was zero follow-up.


The mental image of a bunch of Kardashsians digging through the baggage pile looking for their suitcases makes me smile.


Ok, like, I do small scale events, craft shows with like 100+ vendors 3000 attendees as a hobby (because I’m a crazy person), and even I know you cannot pull off even a small event on 6 weeks notice. Thats unpossible. If you’re HIRING important people and don’t have your vendor partnerships nailed down 6 weeks out… you’re fucked. Thats just insane. I am literally constantly trying to explain this to real estate people that contact us and want to put on a “pop-up this weekend!”. Like I get that the name seems to imply spontaneity, but its at least 6 months of planning for a weekend “pop-up”, shocking I know! That they were hiring essentially talent management people not even two months before the show? Yeah no, this was always going to be a shit show…


As a comedy movie, starring Seth Rogen and Adam Sandler.

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I went to Tulane. Lots of rich kids. Rich people are pretty much like not rich people, a few are total assholes but, mostly just people who can do more fun stuff because funds. I don’t wish them Ill. Sorry the party sucked. Sounds not fun.


One of them is this guy, Billy McFarland, who’s apparently done this sort of thing before.


McFarland previously founded Magnises, a social-networking startup that charges members a $250 annual fee for discounted access to exclusive events. After speaking to several current and former Magnises members earlier this year, Business Insider revealed that the startup had not been delivering on the perks it was advertising.

I’d suspect a combination of low cunning and Dunning-Kruger effect, but I’d also never heard of any of this before this morning, so who knows?


Exactly. Never mind the “rich people” part. To me the real story is how an obviously well-enough-publicised festival that attracted bands and fans somehow didn’t pull together things like food and shelter. Or how to pay anyone involved. Or gear and stages for, you know, the bands.