I will never forget the moment I realized that Fyre Festival was actually a fraud. It really was a terrible moment.
I remember getting the first email about Fyre Festival, from one of the top PR firms in the world, 42 West. This company handled clients such as The Academy Awards, so why would I not believe this event was legitimate.
It was late 2016, and destination festivals were just starting to explode in popularity. It almost felt natural that one of this magnitude would come out of the blue. I excitedly covered the new festival and began tracking its progress. The usual things happened – line up announcements, tickets sold out, a holiday sale.
Nothing seemed to be peculiar. It was exciting. I even spoke with friends who ended up buying tickets having read my pre-coverage of the event. In full disclosure, I was planning on attending the festival with a press pass. This is common practices, provide events with some free press and you can earn free tickets to complete your coverage. Thank god what happened next occurred.
Trouble In Paradise
Then at the beginning of April 2017 things got weird. The PR firm who I had worked closely with to cover the festival stopped responding to my inquiries. Soon the emails were limited to basic press release blasts, and everyone stopped responding.
It was almost as if the PR Firm knew they could not actually invite the press to an event like Fyre.
I remember sitting on the internet watching social media for Fyre Festival to unfold. Luckily my friends were planning on attending the second weekend, so nobody I knew personally made the trek to the Bahamas that weekend.
I remember the first person I saw on Twitter talking widely about Fyre Festival, William Needham Finley IV. The attendee was constantly tweeting photos from the ground and soon his coverage gained the attention of media outlets across the globe. It was around this time that the Twitter account Fyre Fraud came onto my radar. At that moment that I realized I had been duped just like thousands of others.
It felt terrible, but at least Mr. Finley provided the world with some ridiculous content via his Twitter account and I begin covering the developing story. William even appeared in the Netflix documentary about Fyre Festival. His impact as a whistleblower helped him a decent amount of notoriety.
The Dumpster Fyre
It is safe to say that William is a sort of authority on the topic of Fyre Festival now, but even he has questions after viewing the documentaries.
To help bring clarity to the public around the complex web of lies that was Fyre Festival, William has started a podcast, aptly named Dumpster Fyre.
Since the documentaries aired, everyone involved in the festival has been in serious crisis mode. Jerry Media is working to explain away their involvement with the marketing of the festival, Ja Rule is yelling that he's innocent, and the official Fyre Festival twitter is now under the control of one of the designers of Fyre Festival.
Naturally, everyone involved is yelling at each other in an effort to save face. I have followed this story incredibly close. I was one of the first people in the world to report on the disaster, yet watching the docs left me even more confused, suspicious and skeptical.
To gain some more clarity around Fyre Festival check out The Dumpster Fyre Podcast here.