Looking Forward to the Fyre Festival

Although if you were to put it into words, they’d probably be “nightmare”, “disaster” and “fuck up for the ages”

Although if you were to put it into words, they’d probably be “nightmare”, “disaster” and “fuck up for the ages”

When I was looking for images for my Fyre Festival My World of Flops entry I found a lot of retrospective stories about Fyre Festival as a historic boondoggle, or course. But I was also amused to find a few puff pieces from before the festival imploded.

I’m particularly enamored of this piece from the hard-hitting folks at TMZ, which reads, in its entirety,

“Ja Rule will be the mile-high master of ceremonies for a private celeb jet bash ... just before they land at his Bahamas Fyre Festival.

We're told the passenger manifest includes Victoria's Secret models Chanel Iman and Shanina Shaik,  models Bryana Holly and Helen Owen and actor Nick Bateman.

The celebs will board the party plane in Miami and be greeted by Ja himself. They'll be served by super hot flight attendants. A magician and comedian will be on board for entertainment.

The flight's just a little over an hour ... so they'll have to pack the fun in quick.

As for the music fest ... Ja Rule's the mastermind behind the pricey 2-weekend event, headlined by G.O.O.D. Music, Major Lazer, Blink 182, Rae Sremmurd and Lil Yachty.”


Yeah, things didn’t turn out quite that way. That’s the one aspect of the whole experience that didn’t quite make sense.

But the real motherload of pre-Fyre Festival delusion is a 43 page marketing presentation that Vanity Fair uncovered and shared with a grateful world.

The promotional materials for the Fyre Festival only make sense to people on liquid cocaine.

At its most breathtakingly, adorably, heartbreakingly naive, the pitch of the damned brags of what will probably go down in history as the least successful festival ever,


“Fyre has a unique goal and inspiration: the exploration of the uncharted inspired by and referencing the five elements of the earth.

Throughout the next five years, we will traverse the globe to find untouched lands and convert them into unparalleled experiences. Fyre will work to bring life to each region. Through the purchase of significant land, we will utilize (sic)the each festival as a major cultural event to bring awareness, visitors, and livelihood to the land.”

The Fyre Festival people were going to find undiscovered islands and civilizations. They’d give them the gift of Western technology and teach the natives important skills like bikini modeling, Dubstep DJing and brand management so that they’d be full participants when the Festival began.

They’d do more than that: they’d bring “life” and “livelihood” to these lands that they would discover and then turn into the ultimate party concert destination/hipster utopia/social media influencer Jonestowns, possibly with a spooky incantation bringing the dead to life to feast on the brains of hipsters.

Why stop there? If these folks had any real ambition they’d vow to build Fyre Festival-branded rocket ships so that it can discover untouched planets and convert them into intergalactic raves. Can you even imagine what it would be like to be doing cocaine with Kylie Jenner while watching 30 Seconds to Mars on Mars? I bet the Fyre Starters behind the Fyre Festival did. I can only imagine the kind of sweet, sweet coke thoughts they dreamed up with a snootful of powder white fantasy fuel.

These materials depict the Fyre Festival as a cross between Christopher Columbus, Jim Jones, the British empire and Mormon missionaries. They were going to be like notorious missionary John Allen Chau, who made international headlines when he was swiftly killed by a tribe of Sentinelese islanders, only instead of giving remote tribes Christianity they were going to give them sick EDM beats, bottle service technology and the honor of seeing Lil Yachty perform for thousands of rich douchebags.

At various points in the pitch it becomes apparent that whoever put it together does not understand how words work. An endless section devoted to the many, many bikini models vaguely involved in promoting the festival insists of the dead-eyed pretty people on display, “These ambassadors stand as part of, and representative of, the Fyre Festival. They are key personalities to lead the attendance of an influential audience at the Fyre Festival around the world and therefore your brand partners.”

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Uh, not really sure what to make of that last sentence. I guess they’re saying that super-popular social influencers from all over the world will go to the Fyre Festival and that’ll be good for your brand?

At other points, this reads like an accidentally brilliant satirical takedown of meaningless corporate jargon, like a page promising, “Sponsorship is a key revenue stream for Fyre Festival.

Our 360 methodology allows us to capture brand revenue in a unique matter” followed by a chart that starts with “Understand Brand Goals”, which leads to “Ideate”, followed by “Conceptualize” and Execute”.


“Ideate” just means “think” but it sure sounds like something that might actually mean something. I mean, sure you’ve got to incentivize a maximum return of profit-thinking and brand awareness in a business like this but at a certain point you just sound like you’re making up words because you don’t know what you’re talking about.

In a slide that made it into at least one of the documentaries, the Fyre Festival folks brag-brag “The actual experience exceeds all expectations and is something that’s hard to put to words. It will ignite that type of energy, that type of power in our guests.”

They seem to be suggesting that festivalgoers will be so “turnt up” that they’ll develop superpowers. The Fyre Festival did, in fact exceed all expectations in terms of just how much of a world-class shit show it would ultimately become.

That the Fyre Festival would end disastrously and prematurely would not come as a surprise to anyone who read its promotional material since it was ACHINGLY apparent even at that early stage that these people were talking a big, impossible, nonsensical and appallingly ungrammatical game they’d never be able to pull off. Fyre Festival looked impossibly ambitious on paper. It would turn out to be even more ridiculously unfeasible in reality

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