So by now, you may have heard about the utter disaster that was the first annual Fyre Festival. The all-inclusive music festival was scheduled to take place in the Bahamas and was promoted as the “next big thing” in music festivals. It was touted as a luxury event with big headlining acts, fancy accommodations and high-end meals. Guests reportedly paid between $2,000- $12,000 for their passes, some of which included chartered flights. Additionally, it was promoted all over Instagram by some of today’s biggest influencers and Vogue even called it “the private island escape all the supermodels are flocking to this summer.”
However, when guests began arriving for the multi-day event on Thursday, April 27, they were in for a shock. So what went wrong? For starters, when guests began arriving at the grounds, the place was still under construction. The “luxury accommodations” were nothing but poorly constructed tents, and the meals were definitely not the gourmet meals that were promised. These were only a fraction of the issues the festival faced on its first day. Headliners quickly began dropping out and issuing apologies. Ja Rule, one of the festival’s founders, also issued a statement, but it was too late. The Fyre Festival was officially canceled on its inaugural day.
So, event planners and organizers, you don’t have the 5th most stressful job in the country for nothing. For many, if not all of you, an outcome like this is your worst nightmare. So what can we learn from this? Here are 3 things that will help you avoid a disaster of Fyre Festival proportions:
You just received the marketing photos for a potential venue. It’s gorgeous. The landscape is perfect. The rooms are immaculate. But what does the venue really look like? Marketing materials may fail to give a clear picture of a location, so site visits are essential when planning an event of any size. Be sure to ask what other events/ construction/ road work will be going on in or around the building during your event dates so you take that into consideration before finalizing a contract.
Set up, catering, security, temps… the list of vendors you are responsible for securing goes on and on. Ultimately, when you make your choices, be sure to follow up and ensure that all contracts are signed in a timely manner. It’s also a good idea to have backup vendors in your contacts— companies you know will be able to handle a last-minute recruitment in case your original plan goes south. Be friendly, professional, and reasonable with your vendors. Building positive, professional relationships with your favorite vendors goes a long way.
Open communication is crucial for event success. Whether you’re communicating with your vendors, fellow event planners, other staff members, or your attendees, it’s important to be transparent. Everyone needs to know what to expect or, at the very least, have a clear idea of what they’re getting themselves into. In this case, technology is our friend. Whether it’s through social media, targeted emails, or an event app— there is really no excuse for poor communication in today’s tech-fueled world.
Planning and executing a successful event takes time and no matter how well you plan, something is bound to go wrong. A true test of character for event planners and organizers is how well you deal with these mishaps.
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