- Fyre Festival has become one of the most infamous failures of the decade.
- Since the doomed music festival unraveled in the Bahamas, many have referred to other schemes as “the new Fyre Festival.”
The image of a cold cheese sandwich tucked into a polystyrene takeout box will forever remind people of the broken promises of 2017’s Fyre Festival, which has become one the most infamous failed events of the decade.
The “exclusive” three-day party, which turned into a nightmarish event that left attendees scrambling to get away, resulted in a six-year prison sentence for creator Billy McFarland after he admitted to defrauding investors out of $26 million.
Since then, the festival has become a reference point for many other schemes, with the commonalities being that expectations fell well short of reality.
Here is a selection of events that have been compared to Fyre Festival in recent years:
Los Angeles Beer and World BBQ Festival
Angry foodies have taken to social media to complain about the recent Los Angeles Beer and World BBQ Festival, calling it the “Fyre Festival of meat.“
“I’d like to thank Ja Rule and Billy McFarland for putting this event together,” one attendee joked on Yelp.
According to Eater, the event was delayed by an hour at the start because of an issue with vendor water temperatures. This led to long lines building up from the beginning.
And according to customers, these lines didn’t ease up. The event appeared to be oversubscribed and the lines were over an hour long in some cases (the festival only lasted for four hours).
In a statement to Business Insider, the organizer, events company Fever, said:
We sincerely apologize to each guest who was disappointed in our event and are working around the clock to make sure our customers’ concerns are addressed. Our mission at Fever is to inspire people through experiences the world over and we are committed to becoming a positive mainstay in the community. Due to unforeseen circumstances, the start time to our event was delayed considerably which created the long lines for entry, food and drink. We regret that some users had a poor experience but rest assured we will work tirelessly to set things right.
Rite Development Lab, the coffee startup behind the Rite Press, has been named the “Fyre Festival” of French presses. The company came under fire after hundreds of backers took to social media to complain that they had not received the French presses they were promised in return for their pledges. The company raised more than $1 million in crowdfunding.
Caroline Calloway’s “creativity workshops”
27-year-old Instagram influencer and writer Caroline Calloway came under scrutiny in January after a viral Twitter thread claimed that her $165 “creativity workshops” were a “scam.”
It transpired that Calloway was very unprepared for the tour she had scheduled: venues weren’t secured, planned activities never happened, and she was reportedly even considering asking people to bring their own food despite promising a salad lunch.
Calloway listened to her critics and briefly canceled her tour before reinstating it a day later.
“I canceled my tour because I was frightened and feeling worthless because if you read enough bad things about yourself on the internet you will start to believe they’re true,” she wrote in an Instagram story in January. “You can’t let the people who despise you run your f—ing life.”
Atomic Wings Superbowl
— Eamon McAnaney (@emacSNY) February 3, 2019
An Atomic Wings restaurant located in New York City’s East Village was accused of being the the “Fyre Festival of Wings” earlier this month after dozens of angry customers took to social media to complain that the food they had preordered for the Super Bowl did not arrive.
“0 wings delivered after 12 hrs for super bowl. Place is a sham. Scam. Fyre festival of Wings,” one Yelp user wrote at the time.
The restaurant later said that an equipment failure was behind the massive delays, according to Eater New York.
@AtomicWings I ordered 100 wings from your East Village location that were supposed to come at 4pm and still have not been delivered. I have called and the line is constantly busy, I’ve emailed and no one responded. Can you help please??
— Alex Cirillo (@MissCirillo) February 3, 2019
New York City Pizza Festival
— Gothamist (@Gothamist) September 11, 2017
A pizza festival that took place in Brooklyn, New York, in September 2017 and promised to be “a day-long celebration of the dough, cheese, tasty sauces, and delicious toppings” was dubbed the “Fyre Festival” of pizza parties.
Attendees, who spent as much as $75 on tickets to the event, were expecting to sample tasty slices from various New York pizzerias. Instead, they were given “tiny slivers” of cold pizza, one attendee said.
The organizers of the festival sent out an apology message on Facebook during the event, warning ticket holders not to come to the evening’s tastings because of delays in pizza delivery.
It was subsequently investigated by the New York Attorney General, and ticket holders were refunded.
WinterFest was primed to bring a winter wonderland to Brooklyn, with a pop-up Christmas town occupying a 40,000-square-foot space on the grounds of the Brooklyn Museum during the most recent holiday season.
While entrance to the fair was free, some customers described paid attractions as a “complete scam.” Many of the attractions were either incomplete or closed.
According to The New York Post, a $50 VIP wine tasting that had promised to include five wines, Champagne, and access to the chocolate tasting was actually a four-wine tasting with wine that retailed for less than $10, mulled wine, and nothing else.
In response to the complaints, Winterfest made all the attractions free to the public on December 6 through the end of that month, Gothamist reported. The event organizers also refunded any visitors who had paid for attractions that were not open.
XO Festival, a high-end music festival that was meant to take place over a weekend in July 2018 in Northern California, was canceled at the last minute after artists pulled out and the venue said the organizers had not fulfilled “contractual obligations.”
The three-day festival, which promised to have performances from more than 100 different artists, including Ludacris, charged between $375 and $2,495 for tickets.
In a statement to the press, the organizers said that the festival was canceled due “to lower than anticipated ticket sales.”
“People here are joking it was turning into the Bay Area’s Fyre Fest,” Adam Brooks, a manager of artist Dangermaker, who was meant to perform at the festival, told Rolling Stone at the time.
Brooks described the experience as “super shady,” with “no compensation for us, no contract, no details.”
- Read more about Fyre Festival:
- These photos reveal why the 27-year-old organizer of the disastrous Fyre Festival has been sentenced to 6 years in prison
- Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, and other models who appeared in the viral Fyre Festival ad could be forced to reveal how much they got paid to promote it
- The disgraced organizer of the Fyre Festival reportedly asked for $250,000 to be interviewed for Hulu’s new documentary about the fiasco
- Fyre Festival founder sentenced to 6 years in prison after pleading guilty to defrauding investors out of millions of dollars in various ticketing schemes