A week has passed since Fyre Festival became the biggest disaster in music festival history. “What went wrong with Fyre Festival?” is the question on everybody’s lips.
Most of the blame has landed at the feet of Fyre Media CEO Billy McFarland and his partner, Ja Rule. Neither man paid any mind to the multiple warnings they received months ahead of the event, according to a new report from Variety.
“The infrastructure just wasn’t there,” a production specialist who was hired by McFarland told the trade. “It had to be built. [Fyre] hired a bunch of professionals and the professionals told them it was impossible — and they couldn’t handle that, so they fired everyone.”
The story goes on to paint McFarland’s obsession with celebrity and his blatant disregard for the average ticket holder as the festival’s ultimate downfall. “I actually don’t think it was about money,” a second professional told Variety. “I think they were just rich guys who had always been able to pay their way through things and pull them off somehow, and they just didn’t understand that the timeline was too short and they didn’t want to hear it. I think their friends and the people they wanted to have a good time — the VIPs — would be staying at [nearby] villas and resorts and on yachts and be safe, they didn’t worry as much about infrastructure and the everyday ticket-buyer.”
Meanwhile, Vice is reporting that McFarland blew the majority of his budget on influencers like Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid to promote a festival that he knew would never materialize. McFarland allegedly paid Jenner $250,000 for a single promotional Instagram post and spent a minimum of $20,000 on lesser-known “influencers”.
“We started getting paid as wires from Billy’s account and one time [in January] we got paid in a wad of cash,” a former Fyre employee told Vice. “They didn’t have any money. They kept paying the influencers and the models.”
Jenner has since removed all Fyre-related posts from her social media accounts but has not yet apologized or commented on her role in the fiasco.
Aside from being a bad businessman, McFarland is being portrayed as a major douchebag. One employee said that McFarland and his crew of bros treated festival planning like the ultimate frat party, flying to the Bahamas every other weekend and bragging about “fucking bitches and hoes in conference meetings.” The employee added that environment was “low-key sexist and racist,” and very much a “boys club.”
McFarland has kept a extremely low profile since shit hit the fan last week, but he’ll have a chance to reunite with his cohorts in court, as lawsuits from disgruntled festivalgoers continue to pour in.