"RED FLAG!" Leaked Emails Show Fyre Festival Organizers Knew It Was Doomed, Thought a Cruise Ship Might Save It

"RED FLAG!" Leaked Emails Show Fyre Festival Organizers Knew It Was Doomed, Thought a Cruise Ship Might Save It

They thought they could "get away with" perhaps just 75 toilets for 2,500 people.

By Alesandra Dubin

By now, it's clear that the Fyre Festival was a complete trainwreck — and the Internet has been basking in the schadenfreude of the disaster for weeks now.

To recap, instead of the ultra-luxe festival planned for two weekends in the Bahamas — promoted on Instagram by such supermodels as Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner — the ill-fated fest eventually imploded on opening day thanks to lack of preparation, and became the subject of a $100 million lawsuit as well as an FBI investigation.

And now, leaked emails show that some of the festival's more junior staff people knew days and weeks before the destination event that the conditions on the island could not support it — let alone fulfill its billing as ultra-luxurious.

The messages, leaked to Mic, show organizers trying to skimp on "bare necessities" like toilet paper and soap... as well as toilets.

On April 3, with the festival kickoff date nearing in less than a month, executive producer Lyly Villanueva circulated an email to the top brass, including founder Billy McFarland, with the subject line, “RED FLAG- BATHROOMS/ SHOWER SHIPPING.” She said it would be hard — as well as pricey — to get the needed number of toilets to Great Exuma. She figured she's need about 125 toilet stalls, which would fill about 18 to 20 trailers, in order to meet the needs of about 2,500 attendees. But she was met with resistance, with Fyre Media president Conall Arora asking, "If we cut it in half, we would just have double the line wait?” He also suggested: “I’m seeing some sites that say we could get away with 75 toilets. And: “It sounds like we can save a lot of money if we sub in port a potties.”

On April 20 — just a week before kickoff — consultant Marc Weinstein wrote in an email with the ominous warning, “***DO NOT IGNORE***" that estimated nearly 600 people would not have housing. As a last-minute fix, he suggested organizers could rent a cruise ship, fire 130 staff, and bump some social media influencers and at least “50 lowest paying customers” from the first weekend to the second.

Fyre Media chief marketing officer Grant Margolin responded that ticket holders who found themselves bumped would get upgraded to housing in villas the next weekend — but there were apparently no such existing villas to offer.

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