Fyre Festival is the new Coachella, or at least that’s what Instagram celebrities tried to convince us of in 2017. Models Bella Hadid and Emily Ratajkowski were just a couple of the influencers who promoted the once-in-a-lifetime music festival on the beaches of the Bahamas. But when festival goers arrived, all they found was an island with wet tents and cheese sandwiches. Not quite what was promised in the $1,000 plus price tag.
Billy McFarland, the CEO of Fyre Media and the brains behind the monstrosity, pulled off one of the biggest scams of the decade. He is now left with a $100 million lawsuit and jail time. Go to Netflix or Hulu to watch their recently released documentaries detailing how the scam artist fooled the world — including a University of Kansas student.
Tiffany O’Connor, a senior from New York, bought into the hype. As a frequent festival attendee and aspiring Instagram influencer, she felt like she couldn’t miss out. She bought tickets, but when the week of the festival started to approach, things weren’t adding up. O’Connor caught wind of the scam and filed a claim to get a refund from her bank, claiming Fyre Festival as fraud. Here's her story.
I didn’t want to miss out. I love music and music festivals, so when something like this came up I had to go. It was another opportunity to get social media content, be around famous people, go to an island, and get to see huge music artists.
I thought that it was going to be this insane experience to party like you were famous with people who were actually famous. I thought it was going to be like Coachella, but even cooler because you were on an island.
I found out it was a scam basically the last few weeks leading up to the event. So many things that were promised started being nowhere to be found online. There were legit no pictures of the actual venue on their Instagram page. No one was posting anything about it, and so many changes were being made to all of the events and housing. It was just so shady, and I started having a bad feeling.
Obviously I was really pissed off when I found out, but I couldn’t say I was surprised. In the beginning it sounded like the coolest thing in the world, but it was always way too good to be true. It was disappointing, but I’m glad I didn’t fly down there and get stuck on the island like most of the bigger social media influencers that got to go down there first. I knew it was a scam before the event was supposed to take place. I just had a feeling.
After watching the documentary it’s almost comical to think that the guy in charge of this entire thing legitimately lied to thousands of people for months. He was clearly an egotistical, narcissist, who knew he was never going to be able to pull it off. He was so money hungry, all he cared about was the fame and attention he was getting. It blew up in his face.