KAABOO’s Jason Felts On How the Festival Put Out the Fyre within the Cayman Islands


Jason Felts, CEO of Virgin Produced and Chief Brand and Marketing Officer of the KAABOO music competition, had a dream to stage the primary worldwide KAABOO within the Cayman Islands. Then alongside got here Fyre Festival. It was such a spectacular, public catastrophe that it might simply have broken your entire music competition , and particularly one occasion happening in the identical geographic neighborhood.

But with 4 years of confirmed success in Southern California with the model, KAABOO Cayman shouldn't be solely happening this weekend on Grand Cayman -- it was fully bought out as of Wednesday (Feb. 13).

“Fyre Festival was imagined to be a competition in paradise however it took a flip for the worst when everyone confirmed up and realized it was an overpromise. To name it an under-delivery is an understatement,” Felts tells Billboard. “That was at the back of my thoughts -- and in my enterprise associate and KAABOO founder Bryan Gordon’s thoughts -- once we got down to lengthen the KAABOO model to the Cayman Islands."

KAABOO teamed up with Richard Branson’s Virgin model, which oversaw artist programming and procurement, and collectively they tackled the problem earlier than them: delivering on KAABOO's repute for elevated hospitality and visitor providers and Virgin's normal for leisure to fight the potential hurdles put in place by Fyre's failure.

"It’s very difficult to repeatedly reinforce to the neighborhood, to the and to the patron in North America and England that this isn't the subsequent Fyre Fest," he says. "As you look over our website, you'll be able to see the infrastructure is unimaginable. There isn't any FEMA tent. I problem you to discover a cheese sandwich. The transportation hub is intensive. We have a global airport.  We have three hospitals. We have world-class companions within the Department of Tourism and the Cayman Islands authorities. They have gotten behind us and supported us. I empathize with the failure of Fyre. I really feel horrible for the Bahamians, who actually had the wool pulled over their eyes. They had somebody come down there and primarily run a Ponzi scheme on them and it’s unlucky. We acknowledged a number of years in the past we had the chance to instill belief within the shopper by making historical past with the most important occasion ever within the Caymans and I feel the second largest reside leisure occasion within the Caribbean for the reason that Rolling Stones live performance in Cuba."

Asked to elaborate on the injury Fyre might have prompted, Felts explains how KAABOO confronted the problem of profitable again the belief of customers in that competition's wake, and why it was so essential for them to align with the native authorities, personal sector companies and distributors with "a like-minded mission for our give attention to hospitality and visitor service."

"We’ve entertained a whole lot of 1000's of individuals at KAABOO Del Mar," he continues. "We’ve earned the respect of artists, high 40 artists, bucket listing artists. It’s essential for us to proceed to strengthen and provides consolation to the artists that they weren’t going to enroll in an occasion and fly down right here and be served cheese sandwiches. We have a full-time crew working three festivals a 12 months. We didn’t crew up two months in the past. If we failed right here within the Cayman Islands, it will harm the total, and so we have been over-prepared in order to assist the thrive on the entire."

To that finish, he provides that, from an industry-standpoint, "the success of our rivals breeds success for us and vice-versa. The proven fact that we bought out says that Fyre didn't do any everlasting hurt.”

The success of this weekend’s KAABOO Cayman might be felt everywhere in the islands. In its first 12 months, KAABOO is the nation’s fifth-largest employer. The resorts on Grand Cayman are bought out. The 29-acre purpose-built website is internet hosting 10,000 folks a day for 2 days. Felts estimates an financial affect of $15-20 million in 12 months one.

KAABOO Cayman is the fruits of a long-held dream held by Felts. “The Caymans have a particular place in my coronary heart as a result of my household has been coming right here since I used to be a bit of child," he shares. "I spend as a lot time right here as I can. What was my trip spot is now a spot the place I'm advancing the humanities and creating financial affect by way of my firm, internet hosting the most important social gathering the nation has ever seen.”

KAABOO Cayman kicked off Day 1 on Friday with headliners the Chainsmokers in addition to Maren Morris, Counting Crows, Maxi Priest, Flo Rida, Bryan Adams and comedians Darrell Hammond, Kevin Nealon and Norm MacDonald. Saturday’s Day 2 line-up consists of headliners Duran Duran and Jason Derulo, together with Shaggy, Blondie, Zedd and Sean Paul, with Wanda Sykes taking the Humor Me stage.

Later this 12 months, the primary KAABOO Texas will happen in May at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and the fifth annual KAABOO Del Mar begins in Southern California in September. And there’s extra to return, as Felts reveals: “We’re going to be asserting one other KAABOO by the tip of this 12 months. It will probably be home, however we even have extra worldwide plans.”