If you missed out on the borderline humanitarian disaster that was Fyre Festival, then you’re in luck, sort of. Organizer Billy McFarland, who spent close to four years in jail on fraud charges related to the first Fyre Festival, has decided to do it again. Depending on how well sales go, ticket prices could balloon up to just shy of $8,000 — which is a lot to pay for a dry cheese sandwich in a polyurethane tray and a FEMA tent that some hogs have been nibbling on.
On the face of it, the Fyre Festival sounded like an influencer’s paradise. It was endorsed by a number of famous figures, including Kendall Jenner and Emily Ratajkowski (who it later turned out had been paid for their support). Artists booked to play the festival included Skepta, Blink-182, and Major Lazer. Tickets ranged from $500 at the low-end to “VIP” packages priced at $12,000. Accommodation included luxury tents, and the festival itself was set to take place on an island once owned by infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar.
Unfortunately for everyone involved, it all went wrong from the very start. Heavy rain soaked the mattresses that had been left outside the guests’ tents; Blink-182 — arguably the biggest name on the bill — pulled out; and the building work on the location itself hadn’t finished. Guests were plied with alcohol at an “impromptu beach party” as organizers frantically tried to get things finished.
Delays were so bad during “check-in” that people eventually resorted to just claiming tents. The tents themselves were more disaster relief than deluxe accommodation, and the mud from the aforementioned rain, paired with the lack of adequate toilets, really rounded off the humanitarian disaster vibe. Photos on social media showcased the state of it all, including the provided meals. Some guests were given a couple of slices of dry bread, dropped in a plastic tray. There were also feral hogs scattered around the place because why not?
The whole charade was inevitably abandoned, but the airport treated the long-suffering guests to even more misery. The first flight out was canceled, and the airport lacked amenities. So, the attendees were left in the heat for hours with no food or water. To compound matters, it was the peak of tourist season, so alternative accommodation couldn’t be found for those hoping to salvage something from the trip — and the event was billed as “cashless,” which left many without the funds they’d need to support themselves outside of Fyre Festival’s collapsing ecosystem.
The original Fyre Festival was undeniably a major cultural event that will be talked about for decades to come — just not in the way its backers intended. During the festival itself, social media was awash with videos of the chaos, images of the depressing food, and regular updates about what a bad time everyone was having.
Media interest snowballed, as did interest from the authorities. A fraud trial soon followed, resulting in McFarland’s conviction and subsequent sentencing. The jailing of the festival’s founder wasn’t the end of the matter, and a couple of Fyre Festival documentaries were produced. The most popular of these is Netflix’s “Fyre.” A Broadway musical is also on the horizon.
A bathrobe-clad McFarland says he plans to hold Fyre Festival 2 late next year, though no date has been decided, and history shows that the chances of anything happening are slim. Then, if there is an event, it could be another case of people paying far too much money for a natural disaster simulator.
The “Fyre Festival Guy” is apparently armed with a “50-page plan” to make the festival work after the idea came to him “during a seven-month stint in solitary confinement.” While the festival itself is apparently happening in the Caribbean again, “pop-up events” are planned globally. Unlike last time around, no influencers or celebrities have jumped on board with the idea, no bands have stated their interest, and the media response has centered on ridicule. Which is a shame, as somehow getting the remaining half of The Who to open with a rendition of “Won’t Get Fooled Again” would be quite poetic.
As things stand, Fyre Festival tickets are on offer. The first round of tickets is apparently sold out, with subsequent (more expensive) tickets coming soon; the price steadily climbs until it reaches $7,999 — assuming people are happy to be fooled again. Alternatively, you can buy a box of matches and some lighter fluid for $5, set “Fyre” to four $100 bills, slap a slice of American cheese on some dry bread, and save money while looking less stupid.
On the flip side, McFarland is still on probation, so everything he does is under intense scrutiny from authorities. As a result, he may have a difficult time engaging in fraud, and anything that subsequently comes out of this is likely to be above board. If the festival is somehow a success, then a good chunk of its profits will go toward paying restitution to the people McFarland ripped off the first time around.