It feels like only yesterday that we were kicking back in our disaster relief tents while devouring artisanal bread with cheese waiting for the rescue boats to deliver us from the wildly successful Fyre Festival. Ja Rule and Billy McFarland's multi-sensory luxury influencer festival on an island in The Exumas was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for anyone interested in participating in a surprise survivalist cosplay event. After all the tweets and cease-and-desist letters and $100 million lawsuits, we feel like we know everything we could ever know about Lord Of The Flies: Rich Kids Of Coachella Edition. But because Fyre is the festival that keeps giving, new leaked emails have proven that it was even crappier than we could have imagined.
Mic reports on "several thousand" leaked emails between festival organizers before and after the festival was shut down in late April. More than three weeks before the festival was launching, organizers were fully aware that there were serious logistical problems—most pointedly, regarding the toilet situation, which was an utter mess in every sense.
— Alex Stivers (@AlexStivers) May 1, 2017
In an urgent April 3rd email with the subject line, "RED FLAG- BATHROOMS/SHOWER SHIPPING," Lyly Villanueva, executive producer of the festival, tried warning other organizers about the cost of shipping bathrooms (estimated to be at least $400K to accommodate an anticipated 2,500 people on the island). Villanueva estimated that 125 stalls, or approximately 18 to 20 bathroom trailers, would be needed, but Fyre Media president Conall Arora thought they could save money by cutting that number in half: "If we cut it in half, we would just have double the line wait? I'm seeing some sites that say we could get away with 75 toilets."
"Ultimately its your call, but please consider the backlash of nasty bathrooms and showers," Villanueva warned. "We have to move quick on this or we are in a shitty place, lol. Sorry." After it came out that Starr Catering Group had pulled out of the festival, an assistant joked, "No one is eating so therefore no ones [sic] pooping." The sh*t hit the proverbial fan, and a frantic search for vendors to provide toilets came up too little too late (the fact that McFarland reportedly didn't pay customs duty taxes on toilets he imported didn't help).
You can read more about the toilet problems here, and I would expect Mic to have a few more Fyre articles once they pour through more of the emails.
As the NY Times reported last week, Fyre isn't the only independent music festival to collapse this year: Pemberton Music Festival in the mountains of Canada, featuring Chance the Rapper, Muse and A Tribe Called Quest, was cancelled a month before it was due to happen. Ticket holders were not offered refunds, but were instead told that they could "file a proof of claim form as an unsecured creditor." Pemberton’s collapse was called "a fraud and a scam" by insiders, who added that it could have a domino effect on the industry, hurting smaller promoters the most.