By now you’ve probably heard of the major disaster music-festival-turned-apocalyptic-meltdown Fyre Festival. If not, take a second to read this, or we can tell you the highlights: what was supposed to be a 2-day music festival with gourmet food and luxury lodging on private island, turned into a mess of bad weather, cheap tents, gross food and no music—all for a ticket pricebetween $1K-$125K.
Yikes, right? While we haven’t seen anything on a scale quite like this before, this is a perfect example of organizers getting in over their head when it comes to planning. The Fyre Festival planners should not have let the situation get this bad (they should have done #4 wayyyy earlier than they did), but there are also plenty of things they could have done in the early stages of planning to prevent this situation.
What Went Wrong at Fyre Festival.
People assume event planning and race organization has to be complicated and frantic, where you’re scrambling to get enough volunteers and funds to make everything come together at the last minute. That’s the opposite of what should happen—if you follow our advice and put professionals with experience on the job.
Here are a few organizing golden rules and exactly what Fyre Festival should have done to avoid this PR nightmare:
- Know When To Start Small. Committees and inexperienced organizers often get over-excited and try to put on an event that’s bigger than what they can realistically, and financially, pull off. You’re much better off delivering a small, but quality event than falling short on promises you can’t keep. If you’re planning a 5K charity event, start with just the race, focus on making it the best race you make it. Build your event for long term growth and add on to it next year when you have more experience and resources.
- Know When Something is Too Much. It’s like that Jurassic Park quote: “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.” If only the Fyre Festival organizers had stopped to think if they even should try to house hundreds of people in a place where the infrastructure was simply not set up to do so. You can go a long way if you follow the adage: under promise and over deliver.
- Know When You’re Understaffed. Never assume that volunteers, other members of the organizing committee, or vendors will have as much motivation to see the event succeed as you do. If you can’t execute your plans if even one or two people don’t put in the time expected, then you’re officially understaffed. How many volunteers does one need for a 5K? If you’re using SpectaSport, a single person should be able to handle 96% of the pre-event organizing and planning.
- Know When It’s Time Pull The Plug. If your event is poised to compromise the safety of anyone involved, it’s time to let it go, cancel it or postpone it until you can make it safe. Crowds of densely-packed people are dangerous, so are cars if the race is planned on the road. You never want to put anyone in harm’s way or make enemies out of someone who can afford a more expensive lawyer than you can.
Don’t Make The Same Mistakes
The moral of the story is that getting in over your head while planning your event can not only have disastrous consequences, it’s also completely avoidable if you’re working with the right people. It’s a big part of why we offer to be an honest planning partner and give you the benefit of SpectaSport’s years of experience. Let us know if we can help plan something for you.
Lastly, put things in perspective. It’s easy to get sucked in and spend hours reading about the ridiculousness that is #FyreFestival (trust us), but there’s one important thing to remember here: There are people all over the world in the same situation as the Fyre Festival customers. They are locked in airports, they are herded together with not enough food or water, and they are fainting. But they aren’t rich, they aren’t famous and they won’t escape after a few days or weeks. They are, however, real people who are in real pain — they are called refugees.