Last year, Fyre Festival made headlines for failing on its promise of a luxury music festival experience in the Bahamas. Instead of high-end accommodations, jet skis and headlining sets by Blink 182, Tyga and Desiigner, attendees faced refugee-like conditions, cancelled performances and food shortages. The organizer now faces up to 20 years in prison.
And now, new reporting about XO Fest—an ambitious first-time festival slated to take place in the East Bay town of Antioch in July—has caused industry insiders to ask whether the festival's over-the-top promises are also too good to be true. Dave Brooks, executive editor of the live entertainment industry publication Amplify, looked into the festival in a recent report titled 'Is XO Fest in Northern California the Next Fyre Festival?,' and discovered several inconsistencies and red flags.
XO Fest is scheduled to take place July 13–15 at Contra Costa County Fairgrounds, and promises a lineup of top performers like T.I., Bone Thugs-n-Harmony and Ludacris, with the cast of Jersey Shore and Carmen Electra as hosts. The festival website boasts seven stages, carnival rides, two silent discos, the world's biggest bounce house, an indoor skating rink, and a house made out of candy. Also advertised are "celebrity chefs" and a "sky lounge" where VIP guests can watch performances from the air. Festival organizers also claim they can officiate your wedding at the event.
That's a lot for a first-year festival, but not implausible for an experienced promoter. The problem is that when Brooks first contacted XO Fest, the person answering his email wouldn't reveal the organizer's identity—which Brooks found odd, since promoters are typically eager to talk to the press for their events.