Tony Bahamas

A high-end festival experience in the Bahamas called the Fyre Festival appears to have had a rocky start but is to launch at the end of April.

Fyre Festival
– Fyre Festival

The festival, on the Bahamas island of Exumas and produced by Ja Rule and entrepreneur Billy McFarland, announced its final lineup April 4 – just 24 days before its inception. Meanwhile, patrons are still reportedly waiting on flight and amenity details while reading in the Wall Street Journal that artist contracts were being negotiated up until the last second.

The Fyre Festival, April 28-30 and May 5-7, touts itself as an elite lifestyle experience for those with disposable income.  General admission tickets – which are sold out for both weekends – start at $1,500 and VIP experiences run up to $250,000. There are promised meditation huts, a 24-hour “grazing station” for food, sunrise yoga, massages, fitness boot camps and art installations along with yachting, jet skiing, catamaran parties and “swimming pigs.” Shows will take place at the invented “Fyre Cay” but daily parties and performances will also take place across the islands and private cays like Bob Cay, Dead Man Cay, and Over Yonder Cay.

The expected number of guests is relatively small but in line with the pricing: 6,000 to 7,000 per weekend.

Artists include acts from Kanye West’s record label like Tyga and Desiigner that were announced through Kendall Jenner’s Instagram page. Blink-182 is set to be a headliner, as confirmed to Pollstar, but the date was not on the band’s website before the April 4 announcement.

That would fall in line with reports of “delayed artist payments and miscommunication” as reported by the WSJ, because the promoters were focusing on building an elaborate infrastructure for the festival. Tales of patrons being kept in the dark on their flight plans until the last minute are not uncommon to fledgling music events run by untested promoters. Expenses can run high while available cash disappears quickly.

Fyre Festival
– Fyre Festival

Yet, Fyre Media is following a trend that has been successfully exploited by events like Bottlerock Napa Valley music festival in California: people with money are willing to spend it in return for a proper VIP experience.

In the case of Fyre Festival, interest in the tony experience began in December because of some Instagram photos, pushed by celebrities, of bikini-clad supermodels. Those photos were replaced with “VIP Villa and Yacht packages,” and that all guests, both GA and VIP, “will receive complimentary flights on a custom Boeing 737 aircraft between Miami International Airport and Exuma International Airport” where they will be picked up on the runway “via private motor coach” and driven to their accommodations.

Tal Alexander, a real estate agent who sells property in the Bahamas, told the WSJ he and his friends chartered five boats and spent several thousand dollars each on VIP experiences for the festival, noting that “a lot of young people on the beach in their bathing suits” was better than festivals in dusty fields.  Another patron added that, “If everything goes as advertised, it’s going to be sick.”