More Proof that the Fyre Festival was Going to be a Disaster Before It Even Started

The Fyre Festival, that aborted weekend-long music event for The Beautiful People™ back in April, was destined to be an epic failure long before the punters started arriving in the Bahamas. Newly leaked emails from disgruntled low-level staffers told organizers that things were in danger of collapsing as Fyre folks tried to cut corners on what was supposed to be an ultra-deluxe event. Billboard published some excerpts.

On April 3, less than a month before the festival was set to begin, executive producer Lyly Villanueva emailed senior staff, including Fyre founder Billy McFarland, with the subject line “RED FLAG- BATHROOMS/ SHOWER SHIPPING.” Getting the recommended number of toilet and shower trailers to the island of Great Exuma would be expensive, she warned. About 125 toilet stalls—18 to 20 trailers’ worth—would be required to accommodate an estimated 2,500 people. “These were equations given to us by bathroom providers and confirmed via my own research and experience,” Villanueva explained.

“If we cut it in half, we would just have double the line wait?” replied Fyre Media president Conall Arora. “I’m seeing some sites that say we could get away with 75 toilets.” Later he added: “It sounds like we can save a lot of money if we sub in port a potties.”

On April 20, one week ahead of Fyre’s first weekend, consultant Marc Weinstein wrote in an email (“***DO NOT IGNORE*** HOUSING UPDATE & ACTION ITEMS FOR YOU”) that a projected 593 attendees, staff, vendors, and others would lack housing. As a last-minute solution, he suggested renting a cruise ship, dismissing 130 staff members, and bumping some social media influencers and at least “50 lowest paying customers” to the festival’s second weekend.

Exchanges like that led to jokes like this reported in Diffuser:

This occurred shortly after the Starr Catering Group pulled out of the festival, causing one person to joke that it didn’t matter if there were bathrooms. “No one is eating so therefore no one’s pooping,” he/she wrote.

And it gets worse. Go here for the gory details.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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