Sunday, June 25th, 2017

Our opinion: Fyre Festival a failure in more ways than one

Posted on May 04, 2017 in Perspectives
By USM Free Press

Over the weekend the “Fyre Festival” was set to take place on a private island in the Bahamas. Advertised as a luxury music festival, attendees paid between $2,000 and $12,000 or more for their tickets. When they arrived, however, they found something less than the lavish experience they were hoping for. According to the festival’s website, organizers were unprepared for the size of the crowds, and large winds had destroyed many of the structures that had been set up that morning.

Reports came in that there was a lack of food, sleeping structures and medical care. Attendees said bedding was soaking wet and that people were starting to steal beds from other tents. There were reports that those attempting to leave were stuck on the tarmac for hours. Some said the festival had descended into “chaos,” going so far as to compare the conditions to a refugee camp.

A refugee is defined as someone who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster. Refugee camps are often dangerous, especially for women and children who are at higher risk of experiencing sexual assault and violence. A refugee is not defined as someone who spent more than the cost of a year’s tuition at USM for a music festival and had to sleep in a tent for one night and eat a soggy sandwich.

If Fyre Festival attendees come home with a new desire to support those living in refugee camps, perhaps they could take their refunded $12,000 and donate it to support refugees. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), $40 a month can provide mats to keep twenty people from sleeping on the ground, $60 a month can provide tarps to protect four families from the weather and $90 a month can provide essential medicine to nine refugees. Seems like that refund money could go a long way.

Musical festivals are notoriously problematic. They are rife with rich kids paying large sums of money to spend a weekend on drugs appropriating Black and native cultures and leaving trails of trash heaps for others to clean up in their wake (looking at you, Coachella). The Fyre Festival’s failed attempt at creating a “luxury” music festival seems to be the icing on top of this embarrassing and expensive cake.