Top 10 Things Fyre Fest Did That You Shouldn’t Do When Planning Your Next Event

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Are you planning a music event that you actually want to happen? Me too!

I’m taking a break from planning a huge Music Summit in SF to write this blog post. My organization Balanced Breakfast is having our second annual Summit for music industry professionals this Saturday, February 9th at PianoFight in San Francisco. It’s a ton of work and I haven’t had much time for social time with my friends. I find myself watching Netflix at 2AM to help unwind and go to sleep.

Recently Netflix and Hulu both released their documentaries about Fyre Fest. All my friends have watched it … then they called me and were like, “OMG … Did you see the documentaries? It’s so good, how bad this festival was.” To which I have to reply, “ARE YOU FREAK’N SERIOUS?! I’m planning my biggest event of the year … NO, I’m not watching a documentary about how everything could go wrong for festival organizers!”

Today I realized I should watch it. I’m going to set up candles, buy a nice bottle of wine, and make a list of all the things I don’t want to do wrong with my event. I’ll finish this post in 4 hours. (For you it’s going to feel like 2 seconds.)

— 4 hours later —

Ok, I watched the Netflix documentary with wine, pizza, and scented candles in order to create a safe environment for the screening. Below are my TOP 10 tips for event organizers.

10. App developers Are Not Concert Organizers
Being able to code Objective-C, does not mean you are able to book Blink 182. Don’t promote posts about headlining bands you haven’t yet booked.

9. Don’t Dupe Your Attendees
Don’t lie, 1,500 in Facebook stock is not 25 million. Also, if you promise gourmet food … deliver gourmet food. A cheese sandwich, while awesome when you were 4 is not gourmet food. Offer food options that can nourish attendees party habits more than cheese and bread.

8. Don’t Force Attendees to Loot
Your event should have resources that match the number of attendees. A good example is something that my friend Tucker (The Festival Guy) always says, you need to have enough porta-potties and they need to be clean. Simple, but REAL!

7. You Don’t Need to Buy an Island For Your Event
Access to running water and plumbing is important for events that will draw in thousands of people. Also, selling 4,000+ tickets to an event that can only hold 1,000 is not a good mathematical solution. Double booking your event on a holiday weekend may be problematic.

6. A Villa is Not a Tent.
FEMA tents are not Luxury Villas, they are disaster relief domes. Offering housing options for attendees is a nice touch to legitimize your event. We have lots of tents on the streets of San Francisco, the inhabitants of those tents would consider their houses glamorous.

5. Don’t Work for Dangled Carrots
Get paid for the services you provide. Have a clear idea of when you should get paid, and when you stop working for free.

4. Don’t LARP Fyre Fest
Or do … but don’t be surprised if people actually RSVP.

3. Don’t Plan For Sunshine
It might rain. Also, it’s ok to cancel, delay, cut the number of people attending. Don’t fire people that offer you a confident voice of reason.

2. False Advertising is Fraud
Even if Ja Rule says it isn’t. Also, don’t use Photoshop to falsify legal documents. Models Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, and actress Emily Ratajkowski can no longer be used to promote your festival. Now all the supermodels you ask to promote your event, are going to put “SPONSORED” on all of their posts.

1. Don’t Suck D$¢K to Get Ahead
Also, maybe you shouldn’t work with Billy McFarland. If the CEO asks you to give sexual favors to a vendor to get needed resources, your company might have deep issues.

Would love to see you at Balanced Breakfast’s Music Summit this Saturday at PianoFight. We can talk about your upcoming event. Or perhaps we can talk about how to take better selfies?

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Stefan Aronsen

Stefan Aronsen

I am the co-founder of Balanced Breakfast, a meetup for music industry professionals. No, I do not sing or play any instruments ... but I have tried! My passion for music began at 7 when my parents bought me a drum set. I was BAD at drums. So I moved on, joined the school band, and played clarinet. I was BAD at the clarinet. Trying and failing at instruments continued through elementary school and into college. It turns out that while I could recognize good music; I lacked the skill to make it.

Now I'm broke, beautiful, and writing about music for Stuart...


  1. Arya Zarrinkelk
    April 20, 2020 at 11:05 am

    As someone who has put together over 100+ events if you know it isn’t going to come to fruition, tell your customers. People are hungry for honesty and sincerity in 2019. Honor that, they’ll honor your brand.

  2. April 20, 2020 at 11:05 am

    I’m glad the documentaries didn’t give you too much of a heart attack. We need you for Saturday!

  3. Tucker Gumber
    April 20, 2020 at 11:05 am

    Shout out to FYRE festival for shinning a spotlight on the reality that it takes a lot of knowledge and experience to create a successful event.