By Kathryn Wolper
Last weekend’s hyped and now mocked Fyre Festival in the Bahamas exposed the ways in which the music festival craze and the power of online influencers can go wrong when logistics fail. Often, products peddled by influencers like diet pills, juice cleanses, tea detoxes and waist trainers have proven ineffective and unsafe. However, without the same Federal Trade Commission rules regulating the truth of health claims in advertising, endorsements from online influencers border on deceptive.
Fyre Festival, a festival promoted by social media influencers to their peers boasting a luxury island experience and headliners including Blink-182, Migos and Major Lazer, had the potential to be a shining example of social media marketing gone right. Logistically, however, the festival’s organizers failed. Luxurious promises were not delivered. In an article about the event’s failure, The New York Times quoted 25-year-old tech entrepreneur and Fyre Festival organizer Billy McFarland, who said, “There wasn’t the infrastructure we needed. We attempted to build a city out of nothing. Neither of us [McFarland and rapper Ja Rule] had developed an island or a festival before.”
Social media makes lavish lifestyles seem accessible to everyone, but without proper logistical planning, such events can put people in danger.
Furthermore, artists and models who associated themselves with the event suffer collateral damage to their personal images. The lesson of Fyre Festival for both performers and influencers is to make sure that the organizers of the engagements are professional, experienced, competent and confident. For influencers and performers, navigating “opportunities” like Fyre Festival requires a keen eye for legitimacy. Just like every media consumer must keep his or her eyes open for “fake news,” people interested in supporting or promoting a product or experience like Fyre Festival must ask questions, consider sources and evaluate important factors. Would-be concert-goers are also wise to think before they purchase tickets to new luxury experiences. Glamorous videos on Facebook and Instagram of an event that has never happened before are simply not representative of what that event will be like.
Cautious consumers may not always be the early adopters with the ability to brag about doing things before they were cool, but they are often the consumers with the fewest regrets. According to Forbes, attendees will receive refunds, so for them, this blunder will be a funny story, not a tale of financial loss. The organizers have promised to rely on logistical experts and try out their beachfront concert idea again in the U.S. next spring, The New York Times reports.