The FYRE FESTIVAL! This festival was billed as the festival of the lifetime, the ultimate luxury concert to be held on a beautiful island in the Bahamas once owned by Pablo Escobar 😮 The social media marketing campaign was second to none, the by-in by social media influencers and wanna be influencers was tremendous. Tickets were sold for between $500 US to $1,500 US for day passes to $250,000 US with the promise of luxury accommodation and gourmet meals. It was the place to be at the end of April 2017 for all the hip, popular or wanna be popular young persons. But in the end it turned out to be an absolute fiasco that highlighted some tremendous flaws with the social media driven world that we currently live in
The promotional video for the festival was fantastic, it had beautiful beaches, beautiful women, top models, parties, watersports……. this looked like the place to be 😉
But of course, just like most other things on instagram, this was just a dream that the now incarcerated Billy McFarland and still free Ja Rule were selling to the world, and thousands of persons bought into this scam and ended up experiencing a luxury night in a hurricane relief tent 😥
There are currently two documentaries about this festival on TV, one on HULU and one on NETFLIX. Both are really good and show the behind the scenes videos and interviews with some of the key persons involved in the planning for this event. But after watching these videos it highlighted to me some of the major problems caused by social media:
Celebrity Influencers have real power…maybe too much?: These celebrities and instagram personalities can take a business from being unknown to the hottest thing in town with one post.They may promote an event, sell clothes and other items because they are being paid to do so, not necessarily because they believe in the item or event they are promoting. This is what FYRE festival tapped into 😉 They got the likes of Kendall Jenner (103 Million IG followers), Bella Hadid (22.5 Million IG Followers) and Emily Ratajkowski (21.6 Million IG followers) to name a few, to post about this festival. They created a hype and buzz about this event. That promotional post would have passed on the IG feeds of millions of persons. Maybe a lesson that could be learnt is that people who purchase items or attend events just because their favorite celebrities are attending or promoted a product, should really take the time and do their own homework on the product. The experience of these influencers, is not necessarily going to be your experience. The Fyre festival promotional events that these models attended were a far cry from what actual paying patrons got when they arrived in the Bahamas 😐 It was stated on the show that Kendall Jenner may have been paid US $250,000.00 for one post about Fyre Festival.
FOMO is real! The no of people who bought tickets (more than 10,000 persons were being catered for) and the extreme popularity of an event that had never been staged before showed the power that social media has. One girl (a up and coming social media influencer) stated that her agent had contacted her to tell her about this event and that this was the place to be that weekend. This was the “It” festival for 2017. FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is a real issue in the world we live in. FOMO (as defined by the urban dictionary) is a form of social anxiety – a compulsive concern that one might miss an opportunity or satisfying event, often aroused by posts seen on social media websites. I believe that FOMO played a big part in the popularity of the Fyre Festival.
Fast paced world, high speed internet but somethings still take time. The fact that Billy McFarland thought he could put on such a big festival with a new location with no infrastructure in 5 months is a bit ridiculous. Sometimes people think that everything can be done quickly, we live in an instant world, instant messages, instant pictures etc we think anything can be done just by willing it to be done. But some things still take time, detailed planning is needed and this can be a time consuming process. If you are planning an event in a Caribbean Country, no matter from which part of the world you are from, how popular you are or how much money you have, you still need the required permissions and documentation and this does not happen over night. I could tell you, I live in the Caribbean. Drawing some villas on Autocad or posting on IG or FB and selling it for 250,000 without actually building these villas or finding the villas to rent, does not make them exist in reality.
Despite all of the drawbacks, I actually do think that the idea was a good one. Hosting a concert event such as that on a beautiful beach in the Caribbean can be good for both event promoters and the Caribbean island that is hosting, but months / years of detailed planning is needed. Maybe we may have a successful Fyre Festival Type event in the near future, who knows! ❤