Fyre Festival 2.0: how will fan experience shape up at the Qatar World Cup?
As well as issues around LGBTQ+ rights and the treatment of migrant workers, early glimpses at the fan infrastructure at the Qatar World Cup show a place woefully underprepared to host the biggest footballing celebration in the calendar, writes Laura Lawrence.Embed from Getty Images
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been watching Netflix’s documentaries about Fyre Festival and Woodstock 99. These were disastrous, large-scale events sold on the grandiose visions of ill-equipped organisers who were more interested in the perception of their event than the safe development of it.
And so, to Qatar we go…
As the media arrives for the World Cup, photos and footage are appearing online that have a very familiar feel.
Both Fyre and Woodstock lacked safe preparation and infrastructure; they traded these things for marketing and celebrity influencers. What the likes of David Beckham might want to look at is the level of supporters’ accommodation on offer at the World Cup, and the quality and price of food in the fanzones.
Where the Fyre Festival attendees lived in used hurricane tents after being promised luxury tents and private yachts as accommodation, the Qatar organisers were upfront about their lack of lodgings and the need to build more hotels and temporary guest spaces. The reality of what that consists off got lost in the concerns about safety for LGBTQ+ fans and migrant workers.
The Times have reported on rooms that look like Portacabins from a building site going for £370 a night. Snapchat footage has surfaced of the around £100-a-night option that can be best described as a Pakamac with twin beds and a nightstand. The latter option has no toilet nor cleaning facilities nor anywhere to keep valuables safe. Do fans have to carry their suitcases with them for the duration?
And it doesn’t stop at where supporters will sleep. The ‘fan festival’ zones were starkly described by Sean Ingle in The Guardian.
“In truth, at 1pm on Wednesday afternoon the festival did not look like a venue poised to charge up the TripAdvisor tourist charts. At a media showcase hours before a Michael Jackson tribute act launched a test event to iron out any late teething problems, it mostly resembled a giant concrete car park with overpriced food (a tiny Greek salad cost £10, a slice of pepperoni pizza £8) and little escape from the 32C heat.”Embed from Getty Images
At £12 a pint, with single line queues to beer stands and corporate sponsor, Budweiser, claiming there are issues with the Qatari organisers about the visibility of the sale of alcohol, you couldn’t help but think there was going to be trouble. And so it transpired, as alcohol sales were banned at World Cup stadiums in Qatar less than 48 hours before the start of the tournament on Sunday.
Where the tensions started to rise at Woodstock 99 and Fyre Festival was when the attendees started to feel like they were being taken advantage of. With 32-degree heat, overinflated prices, and inadequate facilities, how long do we think it will take before the tempers of football fans will fray, Lord of the Flies-style? If Blink 182 are playing the opening ceremony, then get the hell out of Doha, dudes.
Follow Laura on Twitter @YICETOR
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