Case Study: Fyre Festival 2017

We have decided to go in a slightly different direction, focusing still on crime, but in the age if technology and social media.

We wish to explore how old crimes such as fraud are now conducted in new ways, such as via social media and have collectively chosen to focus specifically on the Fyre Festival disaster and how through communication this all came to be. We are all going to watch the Netflix documentary released earlier this year on the Festival to prepare for next week.

Having already watched the documentary I observed how the founders of this festival utilised social media so powerfully to communicate with an audience who would invest millions on tickets, flights, accomodation, etc. The event was so heavily promoted using a network of around 400 social media influencers, building up a hype that meant tickets sold out almost instantly before organisers had booked any bands or arranged infrastructure.


2 thoughts on “Case Study: Fyre Festival 2017

  1. The link between social media and fraud is a potentially fascinating angle. I have a few questions that may be useful for next week.

    Most prominently, how will you distinguish your approach to the Fyre festival from the Netflix documentary? What is your original contribution to the discussion? Do you have access to a privileged source of information that the documentary makers didn’t have? Or will you pursue a line of investigation that was overlooked in the Netflix documentary?

    One of the biggest questions that any research project has to answer is: so what? What is the point of doing all the work? What is the significance of your project? In this instance, it may be worth considering what do you want to say about fraud? What do you want to say about social media? Do you think there is a causal link between social media and fraud?

    Finally, much like the discussion going on about Live Aid in Communication Group D, do you want to take a structural approach to the Fyre festival? Understand the way money and resources moved. Or do you want to do a content analysis of the Fyre festival? Analysing the perceptions, intentions, and deceptions of the organisers, service providers, and attendees.

  2. Response to Netflix documentary

    I watched the documentary and found it a really interesting analysis of the situation and the various factors that contributed to the collapse of the event. Like Izzy, I think the whole idea of social media ‘hype’ is the most interesting – there is a particular scene in the documentary where someone points out that the festival was both created and then destroyed in the public sphere by two different tweets. I also liked the scene towards the end of documentary that pointed out that the real festival as it was imagined did take place, only it was during the promo shoots.

    In response to Angel’s comments, I think we could perhaps take a different approach than the documentary by looking more theoretically at this concept of hype. We could maybe use literary theory/semiotics to look at how social media has basically destroyed the referent and everything is perceived through its signifiers. In regards to Fyre festival, this would be looking at how everything it conceptually created was an Instagram post that has no basis in reality. We could also use this as a reflection on our methodology: given that none of us actually attended the festival, everything we can access and analyse about it is through the digital/virtual realm, including any documentaries, tweets and even most news articles.

    Also looking at what is at stake for our project, I think we can apply the idea of this endless chain of signification to capitalism and the real consequences that this has on minorities or less privileged people. The documentary spends a lot of time showing how the investment capitalism that McFarland used basically involves spending more and more money on things that don’t actually exist, but then also shows the people in the Bahamas whose lives have been affected by these almost imaginary transactions.

    I’ll be interested to hear everyone’s responses to the documentary and then maybe we can begin to narrow down some of our ideas.

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