Unlikely Events That Descended into Fyre Festival Levels of Chaos

Billy McFarland and Ja Rule have nothing on these guys
Unlikely Events That Descended into Fyre Festival Levels of Chaos

Fyre Festival was a glorious 24 hours of watching the young and glamorous forced to eat cheese sandwiches in FEMA tents stranded in the Bahamas waiting for musical acts that would never show up. It seems that, since then, everyone else has forgotten how to throw a festival, too, even for groups that are much less fun to laugh at.

The Wicked World’s Fair

You’d think steampunk fans would be better at planning than most — you can’t just run out and buy a vest covered in gears — but the Wicked World’s Fair that took place in Pennsylvania in February was marred by reports of overbooked vendors, who were crowded so thickly into hallways, concert halls and even coat closets that attendees (especially those with disabilities) barely had room to pass by them. They also described water and tiles falling from the ceilings, tech crews walking off due to nonpayment and refund refusals. The event organizer has since “transferred ownership of the event to ‘another group’” that’s presumably more capable. Maybe those spider things from Wild Wild West.

Readers Take Denver

A convention for romance readers in April called Readers Take Denver promised that its lineup of hundreds of authors would be totally accessible due to a WhatsApp-based messaging system that would allow attendees to sign up for a time slot and never wait in a line. When that system failed immediately, 3,000 people were left waiting for hours in lines just to register, let alone get their books signed by any authors. Many didn’t even get the books they’d pre-ordered, the paltry number of employees ran out of swag bags and even bottled water in a hurry, and security corralled the masses so aggressively that at least one attendee posted evidence of a black eye resulting from getting shoved around. Author Rebecca Yarros condemned the event on Facebook, which would have been the wildly bestselling nail in its coffin if it hadn’t already been canceled for 2025.

Willy’s Chocolate Experience

If you used social media during the last week of February, it was hard to escape images of a starkly lit concrete warehouse sparsely decorated with a handful of candy canes and a “half-inflated bouncy castle” and forlorn Oompa Loompas carefully rationing out jelly beans. Willy’s Chocolate Experience in Glasgow was advertised with A.I. images of a magical candyland that didn’t at all match the facility children showed up to see, and actors claimed the script was unintelligible and sometimes physically impossible nonsense that seemed to be written by A.I., too. The event’s organizer claimed they were “last minute let down” by suppliers, as if this was a Tinder date and not an event people paid $44 to attend.

The World Scout Jamboree

“Be prepared” is literally the Scout motto, and maybe the 2023 World Scout Jamboree in South Korea was meant to test that principle, because it became what some attendees described as a “nightmare,” or even a “survival game.” There was a lack of food and water, overflowing toilets, no hygiene supplies and ill-equipped medical tents with no electricity, which became dire when kids started passing out in the heat and getting bitten by all kinds of insects. Then a typhoon flooded out tents and forced an honest-to-goodness evacuation. The Scouts blamed the South Korean government, and the government blamed the Scouts. But what’s important is we all remembered that Troop Beverly Hills had the right idea.

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