Rich millennials given reality check by Fyre Festival debacle

In Opinion
The extravagant musical festival promised wealthy millennials a “transformative” experience, but in reality, all they got were some life lessons. The first is if it’s too good to be true, it’s probably not true. The second is of being forced to realize that other people don’t get the luxury of leaving the island. (Cathryn Edwards / Daily Titan)

The music festival aptly named Fyre Festival offered wealthy millennials an extravagant three-day holiday on a remote island in the Bahamas where they would have the best accommodations, great food and be surrounded by celebrities. What they ended up getting in exchange for thousands of dollars was their own personal re-enactment of “The Lord of the Flies,” minus the killing.

The Fyre Festival was a glorious disaster and that was the best possible outcome. Anyone who took the time to search the credentials of the organizers would know that their expectations would never line up with reality, but that’s exactly the type of person this festival was for.

The attendees of the Fyre Festival were forced to learn valuable lessons about the world they are ignorant of and the people that inhabit it because of the horrible condition the festival was in. Lessons like what firsthand experience of how living in extreme poverty might feel, hopefully this tragic experience can bring some awareness to these privileged few.

Before diving into how everything blew up in the faces of the festival organizers and the terrible conditions for attendees, there are a few noteworthy things to mention.

The Fyre Festival was organized by rapper Ja Rule and entrepreneur Billy McFarland. With even the tiniest bit of online research, all sorts of red flags should have popped up for anyone interested in the festival.

Ja Rule was released from prison in 2013 and has tried to make something of a career again to miserable results. McFarland is the supposed CEO of a company called Spling, whose website has a vague, buzzword-filled single line of text and only one functional link: a contact email.

McFarland is also known for starting Magnises, a “black card” intended for wealthy millennials that want to get advantages for using his specific “special” credit card. A card that most owners want their money back for, according to the Business Insider.

These organizers hardly have the credentials or experience to fulfill the extravagance they promised. Buyers should have been aware when they are promising a rather grand package of services for prices ranging between $1,000 and $12,000.

What ticket holders ended up getting was something out of “The Hunger Games.”

Attendees were expected to bunk in disaster relief tents cobbled together, not the extravagant bungalows promised in promotional materials. Lockers, similar to those seen in a high school hallway, were offered for guests to secure their belongs without locks. The area also had no electricity, limited food and not enough clean water.

While there are no reports of injury, there were incidents of mugging and thievery, according to the Telegraph. So is this the best possible outcome? Well aside from the hilarious schadenfreude supplied to all the people reading about the events as they unfolded on Instagram and Twitter, hopefully it taught two very important lessons to the attendees.

The first lesson comes from the old age saying, “a fool and his money are soon parted.” Red flags should have been raised when Fyre’s talent producer Chloe Gordon told New York Magazine in the March 2017 issue that the venue didn’t look ready.

These “fools” were soon parted from their money for not exercising basic skills to ensure a safe investment. Considering the wealth of many attendees, this is a vital skill they need to learn to be responsible in their economic future.

The second lesson is probably the most important, but not the most obvious.The Fyre Festival was a small taste of abject poverty. As of data taken in 2013, 80 percent of the global population lives on less than $10 a day, with 10.7 percent living on less than $1.90, placing them in “absolute poverty,” according to the World Bank.

If any change is expected to happen to the growing rates of income inequality, more incidents like the Fyre Festival fiasco are required. Wealth redistribution is not the answer when it comes to helping those in extreme poverty. What needs to happen is for the wealthy to be forced to face how much of the rest of the world lives and realize they have the power to change that.

Nobody needs to get hurt; we don’t need an actual “Hunger Games.” However, it’s coming to the point in society that the only way any change is going to happen is if those in power are absolutely forced to face what is happening to the rest of the world by making them experience it; even if it’s only for three days on an island in the Bahamas.

Just remember Fyre Festival attendees: This was probably the worst your life will get, and you got to leave when it was over. The poor and homeless don’t get that privilege; so maybe in the future put some of that money into helping your fellow man instead of with Ja Rule.

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