Saturday, July 1, 2017

The Fyre Story is Amazingly Millennial

UPDATE 7/1/2017

It ends the way I expected it would. Jail time for Billy McFarland.

Fyre Festival founder Billy McFarland was arrested and charged with one count of wire fraud Friday for allegedly defrauding investors with his disastrous music festival that left hundreds of well-heeled millennials stranded in the Bahamas and millions of dollars in investments and ticket sales unaccounted for.

In my time, I have helped organize events for up to a couple thousand people.

This is not including my military career, where organizing things was more like trying to keep a mobile city that can blow up things, fed and watered.

It takes a long time to get things locked down.  I realize that for most of you I am stating the incredibly obvious.  But then you aren't the guys who "organized" the Fyre Festival.

This video which the Fyre guys spent a fortune to send viral was pretty much the only the thing the Fyre Festival did right.

From Vice:

One month before thousands of well-heeled millennials were set to descend on a remote island in the Bahamas for the Fyre Festival to frolic on yachts, rub elbows with models, and hear acts like Blink 182 and Major Lazer, the organizers had a big problem.

They were running low on cash and the festival lacked fundamental necessities — toilets and showers, for example — and they were running out of time. One supplier told VICE News that when they were contacted by the festival in April, they told the organizers that all the money in the world wouldn’t get trailers for toilets and showers past customs in time, because that takes weeks to process. The festival was scheduled over two weekends in late April and early May.

“There was no infrastructure to even support the equipment. They didn’t even have a loading dock, they had no understanding of what vehicles were on the island to even move the stuff off the ship once it got there,” said the supplier. “They said stuff like, ‘Don’t worry about customs; it’s only for a weekend, you don’t have to worry about customs.”

It turns out customs was something Billy McFarland, Fyre Festival’s 25-year-old founder, should have worried about. On Saturday, Bahamian officials shut down the ill-fated site. “Customs has the area on lockdown because Billy has not paid Customs duty taxes on the items that he imported,” the Bahamian Ministry of Tourism said in a statement obtained by ABC. By then the festival had at least one toilet trailer and a cluster of porta-potties, but the ticket-holders were long gone from the site, which some compared to a refugee camp in part because the “luxury tents” were similar to FEMA tents.

Interviews with dozens of people, including former Fyre employees, contractors, and potential investors, reveal the organizers behind Fyre Fest knew months in advance that they were not going to be able to provide even a fraction of what they were selling. Despite the glossy marketing, McFarland and his company, Fyre Media, had little to offer investors beyond a now-infamous photoshoot featuring 10 of IMG’s most popular models, and a press release touting a partnership with YachtLife, a luxury yacht charter app.

The big thing for McFarland was the marketing. That was really the only thing he was capable of caring about. And it has to be said, he knew how to do that. "Influencers," which is to say professional Twitter and Instgram users were paid a minimum of $20,000 a head to tweet up the Festival. The biggest payout went to Kendall Jenner who got a quarter of million...She also got a lawsuit.

Only one model — “Gone Girl” actress Emily Ratajkowski — labeled her promotion as an ad, as required by the Federal Trade Commission. The other models’ omissions are now the subject of a class-action lawsuit.

“These ‘sponsored posts’ were in direct violation of Federal Trade Commission guidelines on disclosing material connections between advertisers and endorsers,” the suit alleges. “Social Media ‘influencers’ made no attempt to disclose to consumers that they were being compensated for promoting the Fyre Festival. Instead these influencers gave the impression that the guest list was full of the Social Elite and other celebrities.”

Fyre Festival employees said planning for the event took on the feel of an extended Spring Break frat party. McFarland and members of his team would fly down “every other weekend for lavish vacations” on nearby islands, but only male employees and models were allowed to go. “Billy would take all the boys down there, it would be boys only,” the employee said. “They talk about f—ing bitches and hoes in conference meetings.”

There is a lot of confusion as to how things could have gone this far wrong.  I mean if this was an authentic criminal enterprise than McFarland should have blown the country with pockets bulging, leaving Ja Rule holding the bag.  But he didn't, in fact he still seems to be trying to stuff the tooth paste back into the tube after promising to deliver a super deluxe Las Vegas in the Bahamas vacation.  He's still trying to convince his irate "customers" to come back for next year's even bigger and better Fyre Festival.  

Ace was calling this the most Millennial thing he'd ever written about.  But as a child of the Eighties I'm telling you I can spot a Coke fueled business plan a mile off.


Kentucky Headhunter said...

Very nice ad/commercial. Bit surprising one of the tag lines wasn't "No fat chicks."

LBD said...

Yep, drugs was the,first thing I thought of reading this description of the debacle.