30 Fyre Festival Memories

Random Observation/Comment #580: Make the best out of a bad situation.

Background

Over promising and under delivering is dangerous. #Fyrefraud made the major news outlets (CNN, Bloomberg), but it was completely blown out of proportion by social media. Here’s what I experienced.

I was in Exuma by 1pm with a tequila in hand and high spirits. The flight wasn’t the advertised “private jet”, but a packaged deal free flight, accommodations, food, and music in Bahamas was a good deal for $4000 for 8 tickets.

The rest of my party of 8 were taking a later flight from Miami, so I naturally used the skills one learns from backpacking Europe, and just spoke with everyone. In the next 24 hours, I would come to recognize at least 250 people (some of which were privileged white 23-year-olds), but most of whom just like music and took some time off to relax in the Bahamas.

On this beach with beautiful teal water, the frat crew did what all frat crews do best. Others just hung out and made casual conversation while enjoying the sun. Rose wine and Casimgos tequila were free and there were free 10-person boat rides to the island of pigs.

Things Go South

Great start to the day with high hopes, but everyone was thinking in the back of their minds “where are we sleeping tonight?” and “where are my checked in bags?”

Logistically, Fyre Festival was a nightmare at the beginning. How do you fit 6000 people on an island with a single stage and zero infrastructure? Wedding plans for 100 people takes 6-18 months. Coachella took 5 years to get it somewhat consistent. Burning Man started with 30 people. It’s not realistic with time and resources to hold a party of that size at scale with the promised amenities.

From the party on the beach to the rest of the trip, every single conversation I had revolved around excessive complaining. There’s the good and the bad in these memories, but it was super interesting to observe and witness from within. At no time did I feel endangered because I’m sure we’d get back. I may have had to sleep in some discomfort, but it’s a little unfair to complain when you’re on a beach in the Bahamas.

  1. Swimming with the pigs
  2. Geeking out with a fellow electrical engineer
  3. Geeking out with people about crypto
  4. People-watching very drunk frat kids passed out face first in the beach
  5. People-watching lobster red people who fell asleep on the beach and packed their sunscreen in their luggage
  6. Making new acquaintances with some pretty interesting people
  7. Arriving to the festival grounds seeing the dome tents
  8. Hearing the story that the “concierge” just shouted into the crowd something along the lines of “there are no assigned tents. It’s all open!”
  9. Looking for baggage in a giant red shipping container
  10. Finding that most tents had damp mattresses and squishy floors
  11. Seeing people carrying and looting mattresses
  12. Mayhem of people frantically looking for places to stay and not being able to find their group
  13. Thankfully meeting up with a group of people I know
  14. Line of people waiting to complain and ask for the next flight back to Miami
  15. Hearing stories of people who slept at the airport because they didn’t have tents and they wanted to catch the first flight back the next day (that flight was at 10am)
  16. Finding people who bought liquor at the duty free before entering Bahamas and drinking it in the tents
  17. Single DJ that played until midnight and then the whole stage with lights and everything shut down
  18. Looking for showers and only seeing 4 shower RV camps for the entire attendees
  19. Asking the bartender for bottled water so I could brush my teeth
  20. Sleeping on a damp mattress
  21. Waking up at 7am to news that the festival is cancelled
  22. Seeing the first bus shuttle leave at 8am to the airport and thinking if we should just hang out on the beach
  23. Long lines of people signing pieces of paper to get emails about next flights. A few of those papers got lost
  24. Sitting in the trunk of a truck with 8 other people to get a $30 taxi ride to the airport
  25. Waiting on a line at the airport for 3 hours (from 10am to 1pm) to get a hand-written ticket with a flight number to get full manifesto on entering US customs
  26. Dancing to music in the airport lounge because noon drinking was a good idea in this situation
  27. Talking to the tourism board of Bahamas saying that we love the Bahamas, but not Ja Rule
  28. 3-hour wait with no news on the next flight and1-hour wait to go through security and get on the flight
  29. Unfortunately finishing all the podcasts I had downloaded for the trip
  30. Getting off the plane and back to Miami by 6pm Friday

Luckily, it was only Friday, so the weekend in Miami with the team was still a success.

My FAQ

  • Was it disorganized?
    • Not really that bad, but it was woefully unscalable and they made poor infrastructure decisions without enough buffer for planning. Communication was also terrible so people were more panicked than they should have been.
  • Did I have a good weekend?
    • It’s all about attitude. Good times can be had anywhere.
  • Would I do it again if it was free?
    • No. I’m officially too old. I rather organize my own separate party on the beach.
  • Do I have tons of stories I didn’t write here?
    • Absolutely. Life is about sharing epic stories and making lasting memories.

~See Lemons Survive Fyre Festival

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