Fyre Festival attendees were promised paradise on a private island, only to arrive in the Exumas, Bahamas, on Thursday to find a half-finished festival site, uninhabitable accommodations and hundreds of fans pleading to get out.
The images of what was promised and what was actually delivered have dominated coverage of the failed festival, with many in the media turning to a Twitter feed run by a 32-year-old blogger named Seth Crossno from Raleigh, N.C., who uses the pen name William N. Finley IV.
Crossno’s photos on Instagram and Twitter were some of the most widely shared images from Fyre Festival, giving the rest of the world a peak at the train-wreck festival that vastly under-delivered and was eventually canceled.
Billboard tracked down Crossno to discuss his experience on Exumas and learned how his images and social media posts resonated with hundreds of thousands of people watching from afar.
Why did you decide to attend Fyre Festival?
I needed a vacation. I haven’t been on one in a year and thought, ‘Cool, look at all this stuff I get to do at Fyre Festival.’ I think of myself as an influencer through my blog, which started out as a satire on the whole Raleigh scene.
But once I landed at Exumas and saw the festival site, I was like, ‘All right, there’s no satire here. This is all real.’ So, I just started reporting what I was seeing.
Then the media started reaching out, like rapid fire. I was just like, ‘Yeah, you can use this.’ I didn’t think my photos and tweets would pop up on the front page of every single site covering Fyre.
— William N. Finley IV (@WNFIV) April 28, 2017
Your photos were everywhere. At times it seemed like you were the only one there posting images.
That’s what I don’t understand. When we first got there, I asked myself, ‘Am I the only one who had higher expectations for this event?’ but it wasn’t long before my friend turned to me and said, ‘We’re getting off this f-ing island.’
I was like, ‘No, let’s give it an hour or two’ before admitting, ‘Okay, this really is terrible.’ Why did nobody else tweet out that this was such a shit hole? I don’t know.