Leaked Emails Show Fyre Festival Organizers Were Panicking Weeks Before Disastrous Outcome

A set of leaked emails from the organizers of Fyre Festival show they were panicking long before the event actually took place.

Ja Rule

Image via Getty/Nicholas Hunt

Ja Rule

The organizers behind Fyre Festival were so worried about being "legends" that they were happy to ignore concerns swirling around the event. Usually shark-infested waters, bathroom issues, and a complete lack of supplies would derail a festival, but it did not appear to deter the people behind Fyre Festival.

Mic obtained emails documenting some back-and-forth exchanges between executives behind the festival, and they don't paint a pretty picture for the group. Lyly Villanueva, who was the executive producer of the festival, expressed a series of concerns regarding the bathroom situation at Fyre Festival. She claimed preliminary calculations appeared to put their shower and bathroom supply well behind what they would need.

"This is a luxury campsite where people will be using this as only source of relief for [five] consecutive days," said Villanueva. Despite knowing this, Villanueva couldn't resist getting an old-fashioned poop joke in when discussing the bathrooms."We have to move quick on this or we are in a shitty place, lol. Sorry."

Fyre Media president Conall Arora's response to the pressing matter was to hone in on the financial impact. "It sounds like we can save a lot of money if we sub in port a potties," he said to Villanueva.

The other exchange obtained by Mic centers around the housing shortage that was apparent when guests showed up for the festival. At one point during the lead-in to Fyre Festival, the emails show the company believed almost 600 people would be without housing, and they began working furiously to find a way around the problem. Solutions offered were mostly temporary, including shifting some of the lower-paying customers to the festival's since-aborted second weekend.

Fyre Festival's central problem? The event couldn't live up to their own billing. "The majority of them are not going to receive what they were promised," said senior consultant Mark Weinstein. "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."

Reading through the private communications, it seems obvious why Fyre Festival turned into such a disaster. Despite vocal concerns from members of the staff and senior figures in the company, they failed to adequately respond to the problems facing their event. As a result, the people who ended up attending the botched festival were treated to a modern reenactment of Lord of the Flies, and the festival's name is now linked to struggle sandwiches and lawsuits galore.

If you're an event organizer out there, take notes on this debacle. People can live with mistakes, but it's hard to swallow a company willfully misleading the public. 

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