Fyre Festival - A Logistical Nightmare

Posted on September 10, 2019

Background Story

In 2017, a viral social media campaigned was launched by Fyre Media about an immersive music festival on the island of Great Exuma (previously owned by Pablo Escobar) in the Bahamas that was to be thrown in spectacular fashion. Millions of young individuals wanted nothing more than to party with the A-List celebrities promised to attend, as well as to dine with gourmet food and rest in what seemed to be, luxury eco-friendly villas.

Tickets were starting at $500 and went up to $12,000 for a VIP experience and private airfare. However, the event didn’t quite go as planned. Billy McFarland, the visionary and founder of Fyre Festival had no previous experience for planning festivals. Regardless, McFarland partnered with Ja Rule to discuss the idea and announced it just five months before the festival date. Traditionally, even an experienced professional on mainland would need at least 12 months to set up an event of this size, thus the festival was destined to fail before anyone even bought a ticket. McFarland had a way with hiding all the red flags from his employees and if someone got suspicious of the disaster in the making, he would just fire and replace them. McFarland was willing to lie, cheat, and steal his way to see Fyre Festival happen, no matter how depraved the outcome.

Logistical Failures

Below is the colossal fail of an event that McFarland and Ja Rule put together:

  • Logistics was pushed to the end of the To-Do list, leaving them with two months to do the intensive planning.
  • Getting enough “luxury villas” (left over disaster relief tents) to the island for attendees to stay in. There were about 600 people with nowhere to sleep.
  • Flights to and back were being canceled and postponed, leaving individuals stranded in airports and on the island.
  • All the drinking water was stuck in customs, while Fyre Media was being asked to pay a hefty fine to get it out and to the festival.
  • Timing was extremely underestimated for an event of this size. When people arrived to the island, there was construction everywhere, half of the mattresses were left unwrapped, and projects left half-finished everywhere you turned.
  • Shipping toilets overseas turned out to be more expensive than McFarland assumed. In efforts to reduce costs, he ended up ordering half of the amount of toilets recommended for tickets sold and bought a small amount of porta potties.
  • Luggage arrived in cargo containers resulting in mass chaos while everyone tried to find their belongings all at once.
  • Chefs canceled due to no pay and festival goers ended up with cold cheese sandwiches and a side salad that was covered in sand.

Fyre Festival could have very well lived up to the vision that the festival’s CEO, Billy McFarland, had promised if enough time and planning had been utilized. Instead, he was fined $26 million and sentenced to six years in prison for all the money he stole from the individuals he promised an event of a lifetime to. Hopefully, an epic fail of this proportion is a wake-up call for all new “event planners,” who utilize social media platform’s viral spread of news worthy collaborations, to deliver what they promise or there will be humiliating repercussions. 

Contributor: Amy Norman 







About Allyn International

Allyn International is dedicated to providing high-quality, customer-centric services and solutions for the global marketplace. Allyn's core products include transportation management, logistics sourcing, freight forwarding, supply chain consulting, tax management, and global trade compliance. Allyn’s clients range from small local businesses to Fortune 500 firms. Allyn conducts business in more than 20 languages and has extensive experience in both developed and emerging markets. Our highly trained experts are positioned throughout America, Europe, and Asia. Our Allyn regional headquarters are strategically located in Ft. Myers, FL, USA, Shanghai P.R. CHINA, and Prague, CZECH REPUBLIC. For more information, log on to www.allynintl.com.