Red Lanyard - What a Fyrefest!
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What a Fyrefest!

27 Jul What a Fyrefest!

Is this something that is going to become a verb?  You know how products can sometimes become verbs, like “pass me a Kleenex” when someone wants a tissue!  Or when something really stuffs up or works to someone’s advantage.  Think about the last time you heard someone “do a Steven Bradbury”…

I started to think about this in relation to Fyre Festival, and how long will it be before we start to hear phrases such as “what a Fyrefest”, or “Wow, that was such a Fyrefest!”.  As a festival or public event organiser, for me this would be the last thing I would want to hear.  So how do we make sure we don’t let our marketing department take over what’s possible to deliver.  It happens, it’s nobody’s fault, they’re actually delivering what they were meant to – hype.  Just be cautious the delivery can measure up to the hype.

How many of you have made promises to punters, suppliers or sponsors and thought, it’s okay, I’ll figure it out later!  I do this every day of the week and for most things, it’s the only way things get done, innovation happens and society evolves.

And I reckon this is what happened on Fyrefest, but they were so caught up in the fun and the fame, they forgot they had responsibilities to their punters. They forgot that they had promised a minimum level of service, they forgot that people had paid hard earned money for a value exchange, that just didn’t come.

And the key phrase here is “value exchange”.  Whatever you are creating, keep in the forefront of your mind, the value exchange.  What have you promised, in exchange for something?  What is the minimum set of expectations your customer has been promised?  We all get caught up in the “what if” moment, we all get excited about the “can you imagine if we” conversations, but at all times, if you keep bringing yourself back to the minimum requirements checklist, you will never over promise and under deliver.

Let’s take Fyrefest as an example – the marketing machine just went ballistic.  Everyone got caught up in the online momentum and all of a sudden, no-one was taking care of the minimum requirements.  Punters were sold music, accommodation, food and beverage options, a stunning location and friendly atmosphere.  The tangible items here were the festival and accommodation infrastructure, the items that should have been ticked off first.  Without these 2 things there was no festival.  You can’t have a large-scale music performance for thousands of people without a stage, sound system, lighting and a myriad of other essential infrastructure items, like toilets.

It’s your duty of care that if you are either selling or allowing alcohol, you offer punters somewhere to sleep if the event is going late into the night, or a way to get home, if you can’t offer accommodation. 

I can think of 1 or 2 events that I attended last year that were a bit reminiscent of a Fyrefest.  A lot of hype, superstar reality show host and a fun venue.  The event was enjoyable, but only because we made it so.  It’s all well and good to drive the hype machine, just make sure you still under promise and over deliver.

Make sure your festival isn’t labelled a “Fyrefest”. 

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