Lessons Learned from April’s Caribbean Garbage Fyre
May 2, 2017
In a legal complaint obtained by Rolling Stone, the suit claims that “this outrageous failure to prepare, coupled with Defendants’ deliberate falsehoods in promoting the island ‘experience,’ demonstrates that the Fyre Festival was nothing more than a get-rich-quick scam from the very beginning.”
The festival’s lack of adequate food, water, shelter, and medical care created a dangerous and panicked situation among attendees, suddenly finding themselves stranded on a remote island without basic provisions.
Numerous law suits and internet complaints have made one thing clear. Attendees did not get what they paid for. A quick browse of the website before this weekend would showcase scrawling letters, lofty language, and bare-minimum price tag of $450. Now, it consists of an apology letter, and an explanation for the atrocity.
Even with all the problems the Fyre Festival team encountered, a truthful explanation about what guests could expect would have helped them avoid the PR nightmare. It may not be surprising to hear, when you set expectations with people from the start, they’re usually happy to take the missteps in stride. Do you think that every festival in history has gone off without a hitch? No! of course not. The major difference is, people are informed about the experience and what to expect.
The festival promoters were a slew of famous models and celebrities touting the amazing VIP experience. The reality was the island had no power, running water, or existing infrastructure. So, the facilities had to be built from scratch. We can assume the sleeping quarters were haphazardly thrown together, as a bout of “weather” brought the entire event crashing to the ground before a single plane ever landed.
Hire an Expert
Its so important, I’ll say it again. Hire people that know what they’re doing. Billy McFarland and Ja Rule certainly have their areas of expertise. There’s no doubt the viral marketing campaigns and top-tier guest lists were impressive accomplishments. Accomplishment totally eclipsed by the horrendous management of festival logistics.
At every event, there’s one person standing in the corner with a list. He’s not smiling, or laughing. He’s not enjoying the music or trying new foods. He’s making sure this event (he’s worked months to build) doesn’t come crashing to the ground. No matter the size, scale, or scope of your event you need someone who isn’t there to have fun.
If Fyre festival hired an experienced event coordinator or an agency, they wouldn’t have been overwhelmed with people. They would have ordered enough food. They would have an emergency plan. Who could have expected the team to know these things? They’ve never created a luxury music festival on an Island before. No one has. However, there are people who have dedicated their lives to putting on the best events and designing perfectly curated experiences. Let them do their job, so you can do yours!
Failure doesn’t define you
After all the chaos and complaints, there’s still hope for Fyre Festival 2.0. The team bit off more than they could chew, and they’re paying the price. Although no returns have been issued yet, their website promises 100% of attendees will receive a full refund and sizeable donations to the Bahamas Red Cross Society.
The letter closes with this promise, “Thank you for all your continued patience and understanding. We apologize for what all of our guests and staff went through offer the last 24 hours and will work tirelessly to make this right.” When you mess up, a sincere apology and a plan go a long way. What’s to come for Fyre Festival is still up to the fates, but we’re expecting to see a much higher caliber, well planned event this time next year.