What can BIGSOUND learn from the Fyre Festival’s Andy King?
Can the Australian music industry learn from the festival’s answer to the Titanic?
Well, yes, if it’s Andy King who is announced as the latest keynote speaker for next month’s BIGSOUND conference in Brisbane.
For 25 years, King was Hollywood’s greatest event directors, whether it was an Oscar after-party or a launch bash for Leonardo di Caprio’s environmental initiative.
But the 57-year old has become a cult hero, especially among millennials since Netflix’s Fyre documentary on the Fyre Festival, which promised A-listers a seven-star paradise weekend in the Bahamas and instead offered such a curdling disaster that its millennial founder, Billy McFarland ended up in jail on scam charges.
King doesn’t agree McFarlane was a rip-off merchant.
According to King: “Billy was the ultimate dreamer, but he was too deep in with the investors to turn back.”
The Netflix doc highlighted King as the person who steps in when there’s a disaster – something that happens in the music industry on a regular basis.
He didn’t save the situation, obviously, but he was asked by McFarlane to “take one for the team” as the event collapsed.
Four massive trucks of Evian water were stuck at customs in Bermuda, McFarland didn’t have the $175,000 to unfreeze the cargo.
Instead, he apparently asked King — “our wonderful gay leader” — to offer oral sex to the main customs official.
He could have complained about sexual harassment in the workplace, but said he “couldn’t abandon all those young kids who were working tirelessly to save the festival.”
In any case, no sexual favours had to be performed because the custom officials agreed to a payment extension.
He summed up for the Los Angeles Times, “At the end of the day, I demonstrated something which was: You know what? Sometimes you’ve gotta do whatever you’ve gotta do to get the job done.
“Did I actually end up doing it? No. Would I have done it? Maybe.
“And in today’s culture, it’s hard to find people that are gonna go that extra mile to get something done properly.
“I think that really resonated with so many people.
“Like, ‘Oh my gosh, you need someone like Andy King on your team, because he’s gonna do whatever it takes to make your event successful.’”
King told the paper that when the Netflix documentary screened, he thought his events company, Inward Point, would be negatively damaged.
Instead, he said, three festivals have asked him to come on board and there’s talk of a reality TV series based on his event building.
Even today he works tirelessly to crowd-fund to raise money to pay back the workers at Fyre.
MORE BIGSOUND SPEAKERS
Andy King joins a list of keynote speakers Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino, music writer and industry figure Vivien Goldman, Frontier Touring’s Sahara Herald, acclaimed artist Mojo Juju, and Nettwerk Music’s Terry McBride, as well as a keynote featuring four First Nations voices to unpack cultural resurgence and working within a global settler-led music industry
BIGSOUND yesterday dropped 70+ more speakers and buyers, including representatives from Spotify, ARIA, triple j, The Fader, Sony Music, Unified Music Group, Secret Service, X-Ray Touring, and more.
Catch up on the full schedule and list of speakers at bigsound.org.au