For a festival that left thousands of people stranded, Fyre Fest continues to provide heroic relief to our otherwise drowsy news days.
Yes, included among the historic incompetencies that turned the event that promised an orgasmic beachside wonderland to well-heeled millennials with marginal taste, but instead wound up inspiring such headlines as “Fyre Festival Fiasco: Timeline of a Disaster” and “Who is the 25-Year-Old Douche Behind Fyre Festival?”, is that the Fyre Festival team can’t seem to turn off the schadenfreude relief valve streaming into our news feeds.
The most recent development about the five-star fuck-up further confirms that the countless, blaring warnings signs that mounted in the weeks—no, months—leading up to the epic blunder were acknowledged but flatly ignored.
As revealed in “several thousand” leaked emails obtained by Mic, the upper rungs of Fyre Festival management were given advance notice of the six-foot ditch rapidly being dug to fit the reputations of Fyre co-founders Ja Rule and 25-year-old Billy McFarland.
“…we could get away with 75 toilets…”
Among the concerns voiced in the emails was the inevitability of lacking sufficiently sanitary toilet facilities. Given the advertised opulence (and not to mention $250,000-reaching ticket prices), a crisis of cleanliness one might think would provoke a tone more urgent than one email that read, “Ultimately its your call, but please consider the backlash of nasty bathrooms and showers,” sent to a upper-level employee.
When it was announced in another email that Starr Catering Group, the company originally contracted to provide catering for the event, had pulled out of the festival, another employee joked of the coinciding bathroom and dining crises, “No one is eating so therefore no one is pooping.”
“We have to move fast on this or we are in a really shitty place, lol,” another organizer warned.
After it was already too late, however, alarm bells did reach the level of panic, as indicated by the all-caps subject line from another email: “RED FLAG- BATHROOMS/ SHOWER SHIPPING,” sent by executive producer Lyly Villanueva.
Less than a month away from the scheduled festive date, Fyre Media president Conall Arora, responding to Villanueva’s email concerning bathroom and shower transport costs, at one point suggested halving the number of facilities.
“I’m seeing some sites that say we could get away with 75 toilets,” Arora said in an email to Villanueva. “It sounds like we can save a lot of money if we sub in port a potties.”
“Of course, these villas don’t exist”
Another internal fracas involved the lack of available lodging for guests when senior consultant Mark Weinstein issued an email with the similarly frantic subject line, “***DO NOT IGNORE*** HOUSING UPDATE & ACTION ITEMS FOR YOU.”
Reacting to the realization that nearly 600 paying customers would not be provided with the lodging arrangements they were promised, Fyre staffers initially mulled renting a cruise ship “to house up to 225 people” and “bumping” the lowest-paying 368 ticket purchasers from weekend one of the two-weekend festival.
It’s perhaps up to our imagination (which, thanks to McFarland and Ja Rule, is as rich as Fyre Fest’s attendees) to know whether the logistics here would have worked in theory. But in reality, it was doomed from the start. The advertised luxury villas intended to house Fyre Festival guests, it turned out, weren’t real.
“In speaking to even low level influencers, it was clear they expected their own rooms at private villas on the beach. Of course, these villas don’t exist,” Weinstein confessed in one email.
And while the festival’s esteemed lineup including Blink-182, Pusha T, and Major Lazer, never reached the stage, the entertainment of the evening was provided by the last-minute lodging and catering options provided by the festival. The sandwich(?) and tents have by now been made deservedly famous.
— Trevor DeHaas (@trev4president) April 28, 2017
(Although, it should be pointed out that the viral bread-and-cheese sadness was, in fact, fed to Fyre Festival staff, not guests.)
In addition to the barrage of lawsuits hobbling McFarland and Ja rule, Fyre Festival is currently the subject of an FBI criminal investigation.
Read an insider’s account of Fyre Festival’s predestined failure here.