The Green Room

I was involved with the Fyre Festival. AMA

Hello,
I’m Andy King and I have built a 30-year career as the “Concierge of New York City,” throwing some of the city’s greatest parties with leading talent. All with a focus on sustainable events and promoting a positive impact to our society.

You may know me from Netflix’s Fyre Festival documentary. Remember that scene when Billy McFarland asked me to “take one for the team” to gain access to the Evian Water bottles which were being withheld? Since then, I have been directing Netflix’s viewers to donate to the Exumas Foundation, which has helped raise funds to pay back the hardworking, unpaid locals from Fyre.

I’ll be here to answer your questions live on 2020-10-13T16:00:00Z2020-10-13T17:00:00Z.

You’ll need to sign up to the forum to take part. Once you have signed up, add this event to your calendar by clicking the three dots in the invitation above.

Talk soon!

Hi Andy,
Thanks for doing this AMA and look forward to chatting on Tuesday! Our question is, at what point did you suspect that the Fyre Festival was going to turn into the fiasco it ended up being?

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Hi Andy, when planning an event with a sustainable focus, what is the first thing to start with? Where does one begin to incorporate sustainability?

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Hi Andy, In your career what innovation do you see as have having the biggest impact on the events industry from an organisers perspective?

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How was your experience of event planning in the Bahamas? How does it compare to New York?

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Hi all,
Andy is here and ready to roll! Please keep your questions coming.

Andy, over to you!

Hi Andy, Great to get an opportunity to ask you a question! I watched the documentary and really felt for you! We’re in a very different world now for event planning in the wake of the pandemic, most events are now virtual. What are your top tips for achieving attendee satisfaction and keeping people engaged throughout the day when running an online event. Thanks Lau.

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As good event planners, there are two things that we all know we cant control; traffic and the weather! 48 hours before the first guests were due to arrive on the island for the festival, an incredible storm blew in in the middle of the night with high winds and heavy rains practically destroying the tent village that we had worked to hard to destroy! It was at that point thatI knew the festival was probably doomed…

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Hi Andy, its a great opportunity to meet you virtually. When you were working on the Fyre Festival was sustainability a big consideration for Billy McFarland during the planning and organization or not really as much of a priority for him? I can imagine how to handle waste and rubbish was a big concern on the remote island?

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Hi Michele,

As you know, the amount of waste that large events create is mind boggling! I encourage people to start with baby steps…the first being, eliminate plastic at your event. How do you do this? Compostable plates, cups and cutlery for larger events & glass wear and china for smaller events. This really helps on reducing waste and it is a great first step!

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Hi Andy,
Thanks for doing this AMA! How has your experience of Fyre Festival changed your approach to planning events? And what would your advice be to someone planning a luxury music festival in the Bahamas?

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Hi Suzie,

Eventbrite and Social Tables have been incredibly helpful in producing our large events the last few years. The technology that they have developed is incredible. It has relieved so much stress for us for back of the house operations.

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Hi Claire,

Planning an event in the Bahamas, taking Nassau out of the equation, is quite challenging. The smaller islands have very little infrastructure; proper plumbing, electricity, skilled local labour and access to crucial local vendors (rental companies, caterers, floral designers etc…). When planning an event in New York, we take all these things for granted. It’s much easier to plan a good event with good infrastructure at your finger tips. But the Bahamas are absolutely beautiful and I love to support those islands in any way I can. So bring your infrastructure with you and spread love down there with those wonderful people!

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HI Lau,

As you may have seen, I hosted a virtual music festival in late May to raise money for Covid-19. I partnered with Trap Nation and Chill Nation and we had over 100 performers from several countries around the world participating. It was a great success! The entire virtual festival appeared to be live streamed but the secret truth is that we shot several short videos the week prior to continuely inject into the content of the three day festival. This gave the viewers and attendees a variety of content besides just the music. Example of a few videos; me out in my garden picking vegetables, me with a few cute cooking tips in my kitchen, me at my bar mixing some fun cocktails, me dancing by myself in my living room to fun music…you see where this is going, mix it up and make it fun! These crazy Covid times are quite stressful on everybody and people want to smile and have fun, even with corporate projects.

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Hi Andy,
Thanks for your time and for sharing your knowledge on this AMA session.
Which would be your top piece of advice to a person new into the sustainable events industry?

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Hi Andrea,

Sadly, sustainability was not as big of a priority as I wanted it to be for the festival. Billy fired his original production team and brought me and the new production team in with only 6 weeks to plan the festival. There wasn’t enough time to plan a good sustainable waste program unfortunately. On the other hand, the construction and design crew, were all about sustainability and focused on reuse, recycle and reclaim for everything that was built. Example; driftwood from the beaches to make tables and bar tops, palm fronds for roofs, ceilings and decorations, fallen trees and branches to create interesting art sculptures etc…So at the end of the day, we did our best with the time constraint that we had but you know the end of the story :slight_smile: sometimes your best just isn’t good enough.

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Hi Jonny,

Great question! The top four things I learned from FYRE festival about planning a luxury music festival are these;
1 - make sure that you have 9 months to properly plan the festival
2 - make sure that you have the proper infrastructure in place i.e. housing and accommodations, plumbing, electricity and good local skilled labor.
3 - select a venue that covers as much of the above as possible like a resort.
4 - last but not least, at most importantly… make sure you have the proper funding in place.
let me know if you need any help…i’m your man :slight_smile:

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Hi Andy. Not all events go to plan, what process do you follow to track and apply meaningful learnings to improve future events? Lau.

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Hi Andy,
What is it like organising events for celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio and Beyoncé?

Hi Nuria,

In planning a sustainable event, I feel the most important key to success is locating and partnering with like-minded vendors. For example; production and AV companies that are embracing sustainability by utilizing LED lighting and solar generators for a start. Finding farm to table caterers that are supporting local farmers who are embracing regenerative farming. Keep it local, organic and in season. Also, utilizing every bit of “waste” e.g. using every part of vegetables and not throwing any away - making vegetable stock etc. Find a design production company partner who is all about reusing, reclaiming, repurposing and recycling! It’s amazing how someone else’s “junk” can be created into something beautiful.
But for your first step if this all sounds intimidating, just try elimination plastic at all of your events to start and continue to try find others like you in the event world who want to make the world a better place :slight_smile:

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