“Come Monday, we’ll be talking about something else,” he said. Well, Monday came and went, and demand for tawdry details on Ja Rule, founder Billy McFarland and what’s left of the smoldering festival is still burning strong. Two reasons for that — one, it’s just an insane story with far too many strange angles, mediocre celebrities and salacious details to quickly vanish. Second, the story keeps developing — more employees are coming forward, more lawsuits are being filed and more third-party “experts” are approaching media to get their five seconds of fame out of this debacle.
Through the pending lawsuits and likely legal outcomes of the Fyre disaster, it’s highly possible that the Fyre Festival saga could easily stretch into 2018. I’m fine with that — it gives me something to talk about for the next year. But I’m increasingly hearing from promoters, festival organizers and music professionals who worry this constant drumbeat of negative press on the Fyre Festival is bad for business because it perpetuates a negative perception of the concert industry.
Perhaps that’s true, but if we’re going to make that argument, then we need to do a better job policing ourselves for guys like McFarland. The Fyre Festival only got as far as it did because many in the music industry agreed to work with him. Booking agents, staging companies, artist managers and yes, the media. Look, we’re just as guilty — we published a piece back in December hyping Fyre Fest.
In hindsight, do I think we did anything wrong? No, not really. Like everyone else, we rely on people to do the right thing. If Ja Rule and Billy McFarland tell us they’re putting on a festival in the Bahamas, then we’re going to believe them. There’s an inherent trust built into all of this.
Should we have questioned this a bit more? Maybe. Look, we’re all part of the concert/promotional eco-system and we all play a small part. If we want to prevent the next Fyre Fest from imploding while the world watches, then we’re going to have to step in earlier and intervene. Some problematic events require an early intervention, while others need to be taken out behind the shed and put down. It’s dirty work, but someone has to do it.
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