Here’s how NOT to do a public event. Personal experience has inspired this article to choose the best and worst festival experiences. At Lifetime Backpacker we’ve had some absolutely awesome times at festivals so far, with plenty more on the list . But we’ve also had nightmares, and heard of incredible experiences of good gone bad. Want to know more? read on.
So festivals are something us Brits absolutely love as a nation, Glastonbury being one the the most world renowned amazing, spectacular, let’s get messed up weeks on the yearly calendar for so many of us both UK and Worldwide. But festivals are so much more than Glastonbury. In this article we will run through some of the worst festival fails of all time.
Fyre Festival Bahamas
You know when you read or see something that looks too fucking amazing to be true? Look up Fyre Festival. Split over two weekends on a private island, this “exclusive, high end” aimed event was built up to be the best thing anyone had ever seen since the Youtube video of a cat playing piano emerged to the world. Well, if you aim for that kind of popularity there’s always going to be a strong chance of failure, right? Right.
This bad boy failed in dazzling style. But let’s start from the beginning with conception. Ja Rule and tech “entrepreneur” Billy MacFarland thought of an idea so big that you’d have to spend up to $250,000 to be a part of it. Promised as part of this idea was luxury and entertainment to the level most could never even dream of. A festival with extravagant villa accommodation, five star catering and food and of course (because it wouldn’t be a festival without) sexy bikini models laying on rented private yachts.
But that wasn’t all. In a bizarre announcement the organisers also promised an adult’s version of an easter egg hunt on the island, with prizes worth up to $1 million. At this point most people would probably have sat back in their chairs and opened a bag of popcorn while saying “yeaaah right.” to see what they’d come out with next. What the organisers didn’t actually seem to realise or think about though…
Some unexpectedly bought tickets for this and came to the festival.
Who were these people? Affluent, young, attractive individuals who in our opinion had more Instagram followers and money than brain cells were probably the ones that turned up. Here’s what happened.
The plans were too ambitious to pay for and by the time the customers started arriving, there was nothing remotely ready for guests. This lead to what has been described as the worst festival ever, and a social media backlash going viral with a beautiful picture of the food, a gourmet “cheese sandwich” going viral.
What followed was over $100 million in lawsuits and a very damaged brand. Lesson? Don’t promise what you can’t follow through with.
Hope & Glory Festival Liverpool – EPIC FAIL
As most of you know Lifetime Backpacker holds a home base in Liverpool. We hosted a festival in August 2017 named Hope & Glory, something we simply had to go to. An event that was to be filled with it’s namesake; full of joy with fantastic music, people, entertainment and all in a glorious city centre location. St George’s Hall is one of the most iconic buildings in the city, and to place this sort of even directly in the gardens behind it seemed a wonderful idea.
But it went drastically wrong. How? Read on for our opinion of what happened.
It all started with the determined capacity of the event. A team of experts concluded that the capacity be set to 12,000 for the weekend. If you’ve ever been to St Johns’ Gardens behind St Georges Hall you can probably determine without much effort that this amounts to a huge number of people in a somewhat small space. The gardens is situated on a small slope behind the hall and has many monuments, stairs, flower beds and statues in it which somewhat reduce standing and seating capacity.
So, that’s great for the “intimate gig experience” right? More like fantastic for the crammed-in-like-sardines style event. With this capacity cleared for the event it was bound for disaster before it even started. The other problem? Access points to the gardens.
There are 3 gated style access points to the gardens which are walled all the way round. For some reason two of these points were gated over for the event, leaving roughly 12,000 people one small opening in the wall at the top of the gardens to fight their way through to where two of the festival stages, the bars, toilets and food stalls were.
The event was due to start on Saturday 5th August at around midday. Can you guess what happened when it opened to paying festival goers? You got it, a huge crush. As people were trying to get in and out of the gardens through the one access point there was a massive snarl up. How could you possibly get it more wrong? You can. To add to the craziness one of the toilet areas was placed directly next to this small opening making the number of folks in this area a potentially dangerous situation with injuries waiting to happen. How no-one was hurt on the Saturday still baffles us.
Despite this, the stewards were fantastic and managed to keep this area just about under control for the Saturday. All the while the acts, which were over 4 hours behind due to sound problems apparently, played their massively cut sets on stage in order to get the next act on within the time limit set. Razorlight, The Fratellis and James all played a reduced amount of time on stage and their sets felt extremely rushed as a result. But we still got drunk and had fun that day.
We woke to the news on Sunday that the festival was cancelled for the second day, with a three word tweet by the organisers.
Yes, that is the way they broke the news to around 12,000 people. We were as absolutely amazed by this as you are. So what followed this was unsurprisingly angry social media warriors complaining and demanding refunds. Perhaps the only thing to take out of this is that the refunds have come without too much of a wait. Jeez.
The lesson from this one? Organise your event to minimise, not maximise public endangerment. Awesome, thanks. Were you at either of these crazy happenings? Comment your experiences below.