The Fyre Festival is the textbook example of what not to do when managing the production of an event. Originally conceived as a promotional idea by Fyre Media Group, the now infamous Fyre Festival quickly spiraled out of control. To fully analyze the festival and the chaos that went on, one must first separate Fyre Media and Fyre Festival into separate categories.
Fyre Media was co-founded by Billy McFarland and Ja-Rule in 2015. The company was headquartered in New York City. Billy McFarland had the idea to build the app, Fyre, as a software platform that would simplify the process of booking talent in the entertainment industry. The Fyre Media App has been best described as the Uber of booking entertainment. Consumers would be able to look through available talent and make an offer to the talent. If the artist did not like the offer, they could reject it. However, if they did like the offer, the artistic talent could except the offer and play the consumer’s event. Ja Rule’s purpose in the company was to be the entertainment industry connection who could make the bookings happen. The idea behind the app had the potential to be successful. However, because of the Fyre Festival, the Fyre Media app did not seem to have the leadership behind it nor the execution to make it successful in reaching its full potential. Billy got carried away with the Fyre Festival, which led to stand stills in the production of the app.
Employees of Fyre Media were pulled onto the Fyre Festival project. The employees that were working on the Fyre Festival were extremely overworked because they were still expected to carry on their responsibilities at Fyre Media as well as their responsibilities with the festival. In the Netflix documentary, Fyre Media employee, Samuel Krost, described it as having two work days in a single day. Unfortunately, there were a group of Fyre Media employees that had nothing to do with the Fyre Festival and did not have any idea what was going on in terms of the festival. Therefore, it would seem like those Fyre Media employees were the outspoken victims in this disaster.
There were various aspects that went wrong with the Fyre Festival that are basic rules when planning an event. The employees of Fyre Media began planning for the festival with only six to eight weeks left until the day of the event. When planning an event as big as the Fyre Festival aspired to be, organizers should have begun the planning process months or even years in advance. There was no infrastructure on the island that the Fyre Media group was attempting to plan. Building an infrastructure from scratch, that alone would have taken at least a year.
Another major red flag when analyzing the Fyre Festival is that the marketing director, Grant Margolin, had no experience in putting on festivals or events in general. Mr. Margolin’s inexperience in putting on events snowballed into bigger issues. There were no basic details being made available to the employees that were supposed to be planning the event. With an event of this magnitude, communication is essential to the success of the event.
The planning for the Fyre Festival continued to go downhill with the Fyre Festival being forced off Norman’s Cay, overselling tickets, selling things that did not exist, etc. Another issue arose when the man in charge of logistics raised concerns over the living situation and was promptly fired. A lot of these issues could have been resolved by following the basic rules of event planning such as do not sell things that do not exist, do not oversell, and prioritize the safety of your customers. Other issues arose when it was revealed that the Fyre Festival was happening the same weekend as the National Regatta. Event organizers should never plan their events the same weekend as other major events.
The internal stakeholders in the Fyre Festival were the Fyre Media employees. Fyre Media employees lost a lot in the aftermath of the Fyre Festival fiasco. These employees put hours and hours of time into the Fyre app. After the Fyre Festival, the Fyre Media app ceased to exist and all of the work that the employees put in was for nothing.
Fyre Festival employed several hundred Bahamian employees to build the festival. These Bahamian employees would be considered internal stakeholders. The Bahamians were owed somewhere around half a million dollars in day wages. Bahamians tend to come from a lower socio-economic class, which means that the wages that the workers were owed meant a lot and had the potential to change the lives of the workers.
There were two main external stakeholders of the Fyre Festival were the customers of the festival and the investors in the festival. Customers of the Fyre Festival invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into their experience. Many of the customers of the festival have not received any of their money back from their investment in the Fyre Festival.
Investors in the Fyre Festival spent almost 24 million dollars in the festival. These investors never got to see their investment come to fruition. Ultimately, the investors will not see their money returned to them until the lawsuits are dealt with.
Short term effects of the Fyre Festival include the distrust in the people who worked for Fyre Media group. Those employees of Fyre Media had their reputations and their careers tarnished. Billy McFarland is in jail for the next six years, which should be considered a short-term effect.
Long term effects will be the distrust between the Bahamian people and Americans. After such a disastrous event, Bahamian people are unlikely to trust Americans who want to put on new and innovative events in the Bahamas. Hopefully another long-term effect will be that consumers will research companies that they are about to put a lot of money into and not just pay a company because the product looks cool. Consumers should be careful putting money towards tickets for an event that they do not know much about. Scams like the Fyre festival will be prevented in the future if consumers be careful with their money and do not let the power of social media influencers consume them.
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