‘It was an absolute Fyre Festival.’ Before Miami contestants were enlisted to save the world, another group signed up in Montreal. But where were the cameras? At one event, a Canadian television station decided to show off its new high-tech cameras, and then it had an existential question:
I don’t know how to tell the Canadians that this is actually a reality television show.
This is no ordinary reality television, where viewers know little and think even less about what they see. It’s a reality TV show in which the audience for the show is the global public, and they respond.
What happened to Fyre?
In November 2017, the Fyre Festival took place in the Bahamas and sold a lavish and very expensive package of experiences. It promised a “walled garden” of luxury and entertainment, from the sound system in the venue to the luxury tents and pool. In a world of rapidly increasing cynicism and distrust, its success created a media frenzy, generating headlines, photos, videos, tweets and memes. The Fyre Festival was a media-generated controversy, but its success and controversy also showed what audiences can do in the face of a major media event.
The Fyre Festival became an American TV sensation, spreading virally across the Internet and in news footage on TV news shows. The Fyre Festival was an American reality television event where its cast members were not only celebrities but also media celebrities. They became famous for a story about a bunch of white college kids who got rich and famous by making people feel bad about themselves and their own cultural history.
Many of them were, at a minimum, celebrities and, at a maximum, media stars for an event that was not their own original idea. They were celebrities for a celebrity-led celebrity-led celebrity event.
And where do the ‘media celebrities’ go after the Fyre Festival? The first thing they did was to run for political office.
Media celebrities run for office
There are a few ways to look at Fyre. Some see it as a reality TV show, others a public relations campaign.
Some believe Fyre showed a reality TV show that worked (the participants were paid to do a very good job). Others believe that what people did at Fyre was reality TV, they just didn’