The Fyre Festival that became a Fizzle – what happened?

In 2017 a dream was hatched: it featured an idyllic island in the Bahamas, luxury yachts, sunsets, beautiful people … thousands of them, all pulsating to the beat of the music of hedonism – well it seemed like a good idea at the time. The Fyre Festival was born from an idea of an entrepreneur based in New York, he had experience of running events … sort of, he sure had a following – mostly wanting a refund.

But back to the Fyre Festival. It had to be somewhere people really wanted to be seen. So, a massive publicity party was arranged, and filmed on an island in the Bahamas. Carefully staged super models and sports stars cavorted on the beach, rolled in the sand, skipped around yachts, swam with pigs … but when the island owner found out, he told them to leave. Nevertheless party photos were posted on the internet and potential revellers loved them! Another Bahamas island was found, and the Fyre Festival plan trundled on. The musicians were booked, all hip, hop and happening – it was going to be great! Next … well it all got a bit complicated after that.

The fact was that the planning for the Fyre Festival was pitiful. Getting thousands of people to an island for one event is challenging enough but thinking through looking after them when they are there is a logistical nightmare. In this case, just shipping in enough drinking water (the island had no reliable domestic water infrastructure) almost cost one member of staff his dignity and his job, it didn’t help that the organiser insisted on Evian, originating from France at a cost of $175,000 as a customs bill to pay. Food, shelter, toilet facilities and fire safety all had to be considered, discussed, arranged, allocated, obtained and supervised – not so glamorous as booking stars, but absolutely necessary when you have crowds of people together for an event.

The Fyre Festival crashed onward regardless, and when the date arrived, the crowds poured in. They were greeted after a rainstorm by emergency tents and soaking wet mattresses, half-built stages, cancelled acts, and … then the infamous and grim cheese slice and lettuce in a plastic box which failed to convince party goers that this offering was luxury nosh flooded aghast onlookers via the internet. Lord of flies had arrived, it was every man and woman for themselves as people fought for mattresses, food and to retrieve their baggage from a truck in the middle of the night. The organisers had no choice but to call the event off and send everyone home.

The Fyre fiasco was a reminder to organisers of any event, large or small. Planning is the priority – months, or even years ahead. What are people going to eat? Where are they going to sleep? What fire safety procedures do you have in place? Fire safety checks need to be made and fire safety equipment can be hired or purchased for events in advance. For all your event fire safety needs, contact us at Bath & West Fire & Safety.

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