Esteemed Festival Producer Danny Melnick Says Another Fyre Event Is a Huge Risk

Jun 6, 2019

The 2017 Fyre Festival in the Bahamas was the subject of a Netflix documentary entitled: "The Greatest Party that Never Happened."
Credit NPR

Co-organizer of the 2017 failed Fyre Festival in the Bahamas and NYC hip-hop entertainer Ja Rule said earlier this week that he was thinking about getting involved in a sequel. 

That came as a surprise to many knowing that Fyre Festival founder Billy McFarland was sentenced in 2018 to six years in prison for defrauding 80 investors out of millions of dollars.

Danny Melnick, President of Absolutely Live Entertainment, has produced many music festivals, including the Saratoga Jazz Fest.  Melnick says if Ja Rule had new partners or people did it without McFarland he does think it's possible.

"The biggest issue at the end of the day is the safety of the audience, the artists and the staff and reality of being able to produce an event in a remote location.  It's very difficult, it's very challenging, it's very expensive.  You have to have the right infrastructure.  You have to know that all of these different areas of consideration are either available to you or you can bring them in.  Everything has to be done way in advance by professional people who know what they're doing and who take their responsibilities very seriously because at the end of the day it's really about the safety of everyone you know who would be there."

Danny Melnick is the President of Absolutely Live Entertainment in New York City
Credit JazzTimes

Melnick thinks a new Fyre Festival woud be a risky venture.

"They would really to have create a whole new model.  The biggest challenge would be to try and explain to explain to the potential audience, that this wasn't going to be what that was.  I probably wouldn't name it the same thing.  It's a huge risk but in this day and age there are so many weird events that take place in such unique places around the world, not just musical festivals, but other mass-gathering activities that I think it can be done.  I think that people have to be very careful.  A lot of things out there that happen with new festivals is they lose money the first few years.  You have to be able to understand what that financial risk is."   

Melnick says there's a reason why jazz festivals have been able to survive for many years.

"They are evergreen events.  They have been able to be managed by professional people.  They sell enough tickets to handle the budgets.  People are dedicated to coming to these events.  The artists are fantastic and there's always new artists coming.  That's been a really beautiful thing for jazz.  That we've been able, as a community throughout the world, to produce hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of festivals that have had staying power."

Click above to hear the entire interview with Danny Melnick.