Fyre Festival: How InstaGlamour sold a lie

Well I hope you all enjoyed the bank holiday weekend, I know I did safe and sound at home. And while many of us normal people might be having a little giggle at the schadenfreude of Fyre Festival, if things had gone differently we would all have been dying of jealousy. If you’ve been hiding somewhere this weekend and have missed the chaos that was Fyre Festival it was a plot straight out of a horror movie, and has been frequently compared to Lord of the Flies and the Hunger Games. Rich kids stranded on the luxury desert island that quickly turned into a nightmare.

The Elite Private island music festival 

With luxury cabanas, gourmet meals, exclusive beach parties on a private island in the Bahamas, the event was sold to be the next big extravagant music festival to rival Coachella. With tickets at $12,000 and VIP packages at $250,000 you would expect it to take glamping to a new level!


May the odds be ever in your favour…


To say the event was a disaster is an understatement. Things started to look fishy when Blink 182 cancelled last minute stating “they didn’t have what they needed” to give their fans a good performance. Then as guests started arriving on Thursday, news described how there was a lack of food, shelter and water, with disaster relief tents being used to accommodate guests. ‘Organisers’ – if they can be called that, – quickly realised how unprepared they were for the festival and began evacuating the island. Guests were reportedly mugged and had belongings stolen from tents and were forced to wait hours and hours at the tiny airport with no food before they could leave.

While the two men behind the event Ja Rule and Billy McFarland are defending the event as not a scam, as of Monday a $100 million law suit had been filed for fraud. So we’ll just have to see how that turns out…

Timeline for disaster:

Tues – 25th April: Fyre Festival disabled its Instagram comment section.
Thurs – 27th April: Blink 182 pulled out from performing.
Fri – 28th April: Photos of poor food and shelter emerged. Event officially cancelled and Ja Rule tweets an apology.
Sat/Sun 29th/30th April: Festival goers stuck on the island trying to get home.
Mon – 1st May: $100 million class action suit filed for fraud, breach of contract and negligent misrepresentation.

But when you look back at the promotional videos for Fyre Festival it is clear to see how this was all just a big instagram con. First let’s look at the promotional video, filled with instagram models playing on the beach.

This video should have been attendees first clue, no where are there any images, of where you will be staying, what you will be eating, where you will be going, what it will be like at all. The footage of festival crowds are generic stock footage taken at any festival, intercut with shots of Bella Hadid. What are you actually buying?

The whole campaign, works on the instagram lifestyle illusion that is dominating the internet. Instagram is full of gorgeous food and homes, with perfect people leading exciting lives. No one takes photos of salt and vinegar crisp sandwiches they eat at the end of the month when they’re waiting for payday. It’s all protein pancakes, avocado and steamed stemmed broccoli. But people don’t actually eat this for every single meal as instagram will have you believe – expectations vs reality. We have gotten so use to #InstaPerfect lifestyle and have forgotten to question what is real?


What is really happening?

This is exactly the case with Fyre Festival. Like millennial moths to instaflames, thousands of people were so mesmerised by cool glyph logos, trend setting models, and the allusion of luxury that they didn’t stop and ask the basic questions.

  • Where am I staying?
  • What am I going to eat?
  • Where is the hospital/police/emergency service?
  • Where do I get help if there is a problem?
  • I’m on an island what happens if things go wrong?

The twitter account @FyreFestivalFraud had been discouraging people for months leading up to the event warning them it was a scam.  Organisers just simply weren’t able to pull off what they were promising.

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Instagram vs Real Life

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Many instagrammers have taken part in the #30secondsbeforeandafter challenge where photos are taken to show how easily it is to look bigger or smaller depending on how you pose. It can be used to create the allusion of being thinner, but that’s all it is.

And while the backlash from Fyre Festival is likely to go on for some time, (with pending lawsuits still to come) a lot can be learnt here about our internet culture and love for beautiful images. I love pretty things and photos as much as the next person, and blogging and photography skills go hand in hand.

But we should be careful not to fall too in love with the beautiful lives of others online, and remember to question how things work and most importantly never to confuse instaglamour with real life.

lots of love


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