In the weeks leading up to the Fyre Festival, emails sent between organisers and leaked to Mic News show a management team frantically trying to figure out both housing and bathroom situations before guests were set to arrive.
The Fyre Festival, which was supposed to be a weekend of luxury and music performances on Great Exuma in the Bahamas, had been organised by rapper Ja Rule and tech entrepreneur Billy McFarland.
An email exchange with the subject line “RED FLAG- BATHROOMS/ SHOWER SHIPPING” shows organisers trying to stretch funds as far as possible as they dealt with the unexpectedly high cost of shipping toilets to the island. The email exchange began on April 3, a mere three weeks before the festival was scheduled to begin.
“We have to move quick on this or we are in a s—– place, lol. Sorry,” one organiser, who clearly understood the gravity of the situation, said.
As prices ballooned, senior members of the team looking to cut costs asked if it was possible to cut down on the number of toilets shipped to the island to half the recommend number, based on the formulas given by vendors.
“If we cut it in half, we would just have double the line wait? I’m seeing some sites that say we could get away with 75 toilets,” the senior member wrote, linking to resources meant for putting on music festivals without overnight accommodations.
Another organiser in the exchange, remarking on the fact that the event’s caterer, Starr Catering Group, had pulled out, joked, “No one is eating so therefore no ones pooping.”
In another exchange on April 20 titled “***DO NOT IGNORE*** HOUSING UPDATE & ACTION ITEMS FOR YOU” a consultant working on accommodations relayed the bad news that there was not enough space for the number of tickets sold.
He recommended cutting “the 50 lowest paying customers” as well as 130 members of staff and security from the first weekend.
As it looked clear that the “luxury villas” influencers were promised were unlikely to materialise, the consultant tried to get Fyre’s marketing team to dampen expectations and become more transparent with VIP guests.
“It is my opinion based on conversations with influencers, that the majority of them are not going to receive what they were promised,” the consultant wrote. “In speaking to even low level influencers, it was clear they expected their own rooms at private villas on the beach. Of course, these villas don’t exist.”
Several lawsuits have been filed against the Fyre Festival organisers. The suits name founders Ja Rule and Billy McFarland specifically, as well as the PR firms who helped to promote the event. The suits alleged that the organisers knew beforehand that the festival would not be able to live up to its lofty promises.
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