Whenever I wonder about deleting my Instagram profile I remember that had I done so I would have missed those initial Fyre Festival posts from famed influencers targeting my fellow millennials and I and I am glad.
With the recent release of the two high profile documentaries – Netflix and Hulu – concerning the whole fiasco, the idea that I remember where I was when I saw those first posts go up on social media has, I think, an element of modern cultural capital to it.
Do you remember where you were?
Considering that I do remember seeing the now famous shots of models looking incredible, contorted and posing on stripes of white sand or laughing as they buzzed passed one another on jet skis, I also realise that because of the very fact that these posts appeared on my Instagram, means that I am – or I was – a Fyre target.
So hmmm, was I taken in by it all?
What I remember about my reaction is that I felt physically inadequate. This is not an abnormal reaction for me to have having spent any time on Instagram. My feed (I hate this word – it makes me think of being in hospital, drip fed content that deliberately keeps me alive just enough to wonder what’s next?) is frequently full of advertising which does what all good advertising does: makes me aware of what I lack. In most cases what I realise I lack are not the clothes or the money but a sense of creativity, humour or phenomenal attractiveness. Where can I buy those?
Which is really how I felt about Fyre Festival. It didn’t appeal to me because of my own realisation that what I might have felt attracted to wanting from their advertising was what they couldn’t sell: a life of attraction and wealth. I knew that buying tickets to a festival would never make me into a model nor would it eradicate any issues of self-esteem or, in fact, make my own house materialise in my desired spot.
This millennial is perhaps a little too self-aware to be duped into thinking that going to a festival will make me into someone I am not.
But let’s not forget the other issue: I was never wealthy enough to go. If I had had money would that have been a different story? Might I have turned around to my boyfriend and said let’s do it!. Heaven knows I am a sucker for an adventure and the only reason I have backpacked around Europe and in Thailand is because I have never been able to afford to it any other way.
Or is there little truth in saying that? The choice to travel light is not always a choice made out of what we have not but rather what we wish to have. In my case travel has always been about letting go of that which I carry around with me day-to-day and learning to live with just what I need. This often turns out to much less than what I’d ever thought. I find that many travellers – older, younger and millennial alike – have a similar mentality.
Millennial mentality is an interesting one to consider especially when so much of what has been written has attacked our generation for being susceptible to the likes of Fyre Festival because of, presumably, our obsession with getting our lives to look perfect; our fears of FOMO.
Interesting when what I have seen in people of my generation, and what I feel myself, is far from this. Ours and the next generation are moving away from social media, distancing ourselves from traditional roles, questioning structures that have existed for far longer than we have. The people I have met and talked to in my generational circle would not, I feel, have been taken in by this advertising nor coughed up the money to attend.
Millennial anxiety kind of prevents festival going. And there is a lot of millennial anxiety.
No doubt, because we’ve all seen the pictures, that there were people who bought into the fantasy and had their dreams crushed but what I wonder is whether or not the millennial stereotype is being used correctly in describing the people who had Fyre happen to them?
Being able to afford to buy the tickets and get time to fly to a private island in the Bahamas seems very un-millennial to me.
What seems millennial about the whole thing is that it ended up very differently to how we were promised, which does an excellent job, I think, of summing up the act of being a part of this disenfranchised generation.