AEW’s Fyter Fest was the company’s second event following the inaugural PPV, Double or Nothing 2019. A month after the historic first pay per view, AEW announced an oddly titled Fyter Fest event just a month later. Fyter Fest was oddly titled because it was a parody of the infamous disastrous music festival, Fyre Festival. AEW parodied the Fyre Festival name, logo and tagline, with Fyter Fest being advertised as the “Most Luxurious Games and Wrestling Festival Ever!”
The Real Fyre Festival was a notorious disaster
For those unaware, Fyre Festival was a scam luxury music festival that took place in 2017. The event was founded by con artist Billy McFarland and rapper Ja Rule, and they made huge promises that Fyre would be one of the biggest music festivals. all time. The event received huge social media marketing and was heavily promoted on Instagram by social media influencers and models including Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, Hailey Baldwin and Emily Ratajkowski.
With huge promises and hyper hyper surrounding the Fyre Festival, the event turned out to be a complete disaster, with major problems across the board. Attendees had paid thousands of dollars to attend the event on Pablo Escobar’s private island, expecting luxury villas and gourmet food, but what they got instead was c was pre-packaged food and FEMA tents. The entire event had issues with food, security, accommodations, medical services, music acts as well as a plethora of other issues.
Event founder Billy McFarland pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud for defrauding investors and ticket holders, and a second count of defrauding a ticket seller who performed while out on bail, he was sentenced to six years in prison and ordered to forfeit $26 million. Other event organizers have been the subject of at least eight lawsuits, with several seeking class-action status and one seeking more than $100 million in damages.
There were many documentaries about the event, it was a complete disaster show.
So why on earth did AEW choose this to be the focus of their second event as a fledgling promotion?
Fyter Fest was a parody of the Fyre Festival
The first Fyter Fest took place on June 29, 2019, and ahead of the event, AEW talent parodied the infamous Fyre Festival. In heavy rain that day, Kenny Omega and other AEW talent joked that the event might not go ahead. Showing heavy rain outside, Omega posted a video on Twitter detailing how Fyter Fest will continue despite a bunch of tents being lost, collapsing and main roads to the venue being cut off.
Adam Page got into the joke, posting on Twitter, “I just arrived at Fyter Fest. It’s pandemonium. There’s absolutely no room in these ‘locker rooms’ and people are fighting over toilet paper. Nyla Rose commented, “I’m thirsty and there’s literally NO water at #FyterFest…and honestly, I’m scared to ask at this point.”
As the event unfolded, the jokes kept pouring in, there were women in bikinis that AEW couldn’t afford, and the Young Bucks made jokes about how the show was bleeding l money, how they forgot their gear, how they blew the budget, and how they can’t afford the models (who were replaced by models at the end of the night).
Everything was so weird. Dave Meltzer didn’t appreciate the jokes on Wrestling Observer Radio, saying that even though it was a clever parody, AEW shouldn’t have presented itself as a company that has money problems because it gave a bad look at the company, especially if the fans didn’t. I don’t know about the Fyre Festival parody.
Others however saw it differently, with many fans believing they would be in on it as AEW had cultivated a strong fan base on social media thus far, and so they would be aware of the parody.
Further Fyter Fest events have occurred since the first and all Fyre Festival references and parodies have been dropped. The show just became another special event on the schedule.
Whether it was the result of the Fyre Festival parodies not going over well with Tony Khan, as members of The Elite were still under creative control at this point, or the jokes were just old hat by the time a second Fyter Fest happened is unknown. . However, AEW Fyter Fest history will forever be remembered as the event that parodied one of live event production’s greatest failures.