Lessons learned from the Fyre Festival

There are a few things that event organisers should never do. These include lying, break the law, waste money, not listen to advice and fail to communicate. However, that’s exactly what one event organiser did. Have you heard of the Fyre Festival?

The Fyre Festival was marketed as the most awesome music festival ever to take place. Located on a tropical island, featuring celebrities, top bands, the very best food and luxury accommodation. Except it never happened.

What did happen was festival goers got stranded, slept on wet mattresses, had nothing but stale bread, no phone reception and were surrounded by sharks in the water.

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The luxury event was due to take place at the end of April 2017 in the Bahamas. It was co-hosted by the rapper Ja Rule and the organiser Billy McFarland. It was promoted by celebrities and supposedly meticulously planned by McFarland, including the research, budgeting, marketing, security, catering, accommodation and legal requirements.

What resulted was six years in prison and eight lawsuits!

Thankfully, there is much to be learned about event organising from the debacle of the Fyre Festival. Always ensure you work with trusted professionals like an Events Agency Dublin such as https://davisevents.ie/

  1. Never lie

Honesty is always the best policy, unless you want a fraud conviction! McFarland lied in his marketing, broke contractual rules and claimed to be working with the Royal Bahamian Defence Force when he never was.

  1. Don’t break the law

The Fyre Festival quite rightly used social media to promote the event, even gaining the support of global influencers like Kendell Jenner and more than 400 other media celebrities. However, what they did wrong was not to disclose the fact that these promoters had been paid to do so. This got them in trouble with the Federal Trade Commission.

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  1. Don’t waste money

McFarland ignored investors when they advised him how much the event would cost. He blew $4 million he had secured from a fashion investor on buying offices in Manhattan. He received further investment, but this had to be paid back within 16 days. The lesson to be learned form this is to always research the cost of an event and budget accordingly.

  1. Listen to experienced advice

A veteran event organiser was hired by McFarland, who advised him to postpone the event or face disaster. Guess what? He ignored this advice. It was then suggested that luxury tents would be quicker to install than luxury villas. The lesson here? Listen to those who have greater experience and take that advice on board.

  1. Communicate effectively

As the event got nearer, the Fyre Festival had lost the accommodation, catering, health services and several of the music acts. The professional event planner advised that McFarland inform guests but despite agreeing to, he never did. Other staff members began suggesting a postponement, but McFarland wouldn’t listen and pushed ahead regardless.

  1. Admit mistakes

So far, McFarland and Ja Rule have never really apologised, instead stating that it wasn’t their fault. Most of the celebrities involved in promoting the event haven’t acknowledged their involvement either. It’s essential to always admit your mistakes, apologise and learn to do better.


Joe Hammonds

Hi, I am Joe; I am an entrepreneur, father, mentor, and adventurer passionate about life.

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