It’s the bad news story and festival punch line that keep on giving- following a raft of civil litigation around the ill-fated Fyre Festival, the event is reportedly under criminal investigation from the FBI.
According to the New York Times, the Southern District Of New York and the FBI are investigating the event, potentially over allegations of possible mail, wire and securities fraud. A prosecutor assigned to the complex frauds and cybercrime unit is overseeing the investigation.
Fyre Festival founders Ja Rule and Billy McFarland are already facing a range of lawsuits in relation to the cancelled festival in the Bahamas, from disappointed ticket holders and unpaid suppliers.
Fyre was pitched as a high-end luxury event, claiming that it would take place on Fyre Cay, a private island that once belonged to the drug lord Pablo Escobar and be headlined by Blink 182 (wrong on both accounts).
Ticket packages included the $400,000 “Artist’s Palace,” including four beds, eight V.I.P. tickets and dinner with one festival performer. The event collapsed in ignominy after the organisers failed to deliver basic amenities and infrastructure.
The lessons here appear to be:
1. Don’t over promise and then grossly under deliver- a basic (Ja) rule of business, surely?
2. Don’t enter into organising a festival when all you have is an idea and not enough time or expertise to do it.
3. Don’t spend your budget on celebrity instagram posts by ‘influencers’ promoting the event.
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