Behind the scenes of what looked like festival paradise was pure chaos.
The fifth annual VIP Revolve party took place at Coachella this year.
An invite-only event to the clothing brand’s festival meant free food, free drinks, free shopping experiences, a bar serving only Kendall Jenner’s 818 tequila (free, too), an old school carnival-style swing ride perfect for a photo-opt, and exclusive performances from Jack Harlow and Post Malone. Sounds pretty sweet, right?
Unfortunately, people have been labelling it Fyre festival 2.0 – only this time, it wasn’t the festival itself that was non-existent, it’s that the people who were invited couldn’t even get there in the first place.
In case you’re not aware, Fyre festival, aka the biggest flop in the history of festivals, was a so-called luxury event on a private island set up by con man Billy McFarland. People were scammed out of hundreds of thousands of dollars only to turn up to a festival that was never organised in the first place.
Invitations to Revolve’s annual festival at Coachella are like gold dust – some high-profile influencers and celebrities get invited directly, while others are invited to make sponsored content for the brand.
This year, some smaller online creators and Revolve customers were allowed to purchase a ticket for $2000. But unless you’re an A-list celeb, the only way to get there was via shuttle bus.
This is where the chaos set in – the entire bus system was extremely disorganised, unable to cope with the number of guests, and, according to one TikToker, genuinely “dangerous”.
@laurenashleybeck I love @revolve I truly do but this is def not what I was expecting ? #revolvefestival #revolve #revolvefestival2022 ♬ original sound – Matthew Rincon
People rushed to social media to share images of excruciatingly long lines at the bus pick-up point and described scenes of people pushing and shoving each other to get onto buses – some even claimed they’d nearly been trampled.
LA Mag journalist Joseph Kapsch was the first to report the disaster on Twitter, writing: “Drama going down at Revolve Festival, that ‘sinks to level of Fyre Festival’.
“Influencers stranded in the dirt with no water, under the hot sun for HOURS waiting for buses that aren’t coming to bring them to the actual festival. Security had crowds of influencers yelling how ‘important they were and why they deserved the first seat.'”
BREAKING @LAMag #Coachella Dispatch: Sources on the ground telling us there is apparently drama going down at Revolve Festival, that "sinks to level of Fryre Festival." Influencers stranded in the dirt with no water, under the hot sun for HOURS, waiting for buses that aren't…
— Joseph Kapsch (@JosephKapsch) April 17, 2022
Content creator Kristi Howard claimed she waited five hours in long lines only to be told to leave before she could even get on a bus. She added that she had spent thousands of dollars in order to be able to go to the festival, thinking it was “a big opportunity” for her influencer career.
TikToker Averie Bishop said “very few” buses were in rotation and that they picked up guests from the VIP line, while disregarding the general admission line.
“People from different lines began jumping gates, hopping into the road in front of buses and shoving each other out of the way to get on one of the buses,” she said.
“My friend and I decided to simply bail as the conditions worsened.”
@averiebishop I hope you made it to the festival @kate bartlett !! #revolvefestival @revolve ♬ original sound – Aves
Revolve has since issued an apology, via a statement to E! News, saying the lack of buses was because the festival had reached capacity by Saturday afternoon. Compliance with safety requirements meant “longer wait times for entry, resulting in some guests not being able to attend the festival”.
It said the safety of guests is of the utmost importance and promised to do better next time.
Lauren-Ashley Beck, a lifestyle creator who attended the festival, pointed out that, if nothing else, we can all take one important lesson from Revolve festival: “Do not let the internet fool you.”
“A lot of influencers and people in general want to show you the ‘highlight reel’ of their lives,” she wrote on Instagram. “I promise their lives aren’t any cooler than yours…”