A private dinner with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Front-row tickets to the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. A seat at the invitation-only, $30,000-a-plate Met Gala. The offers sound almost too good to be true — and the people on the Fyre Festival email list receiving them should know.
The emails started in December, said Seth Crossno, who attended the ill-fated festival last April and reported on the disaster under the satirical Twitter persona “William Needham Finley IV.” They haven’t stopped since. “I get them pretty much every week. It’s hilarious," he said, adding that he knows of at least four people who attended the doomed festival and are now receiving the emails. Another attendee, who did not want her name on the record, also confirmed she was on the mailing list.
The offers are extravagant, even for people who willingly shelled out thousands of dollars for a music festival that never existed. The tempting emails all came from a Frank Tribble at NYC VIP Access.
One January 9 email sent to Crossno offered the chance to eat dinner with LeBron for just $2,999 ("sold separately from game tickets".)
“We stepped up our game today for you, big time. The Cleveland Cavaliers come to Madison Square Garden on Monday, April 9, to play the New York Knicks. We have seats to the game and invitations to the Cavs team dinner and club after the game, where Lebron [sic] will be in attendance,” the email read.
Contacted by phone, Tribble — who says he’s a 20-year-old from California — explained the deal.
“They’ll rent out a restaurant, they’ll be having a team dinner and you’ll be at this dinner with them, you will be able to take an individual picture with LeBron, and then pictures with the other teammates, and then you have access to go to the club after, so they go out to a club, it will be hosted by a famous artist, and you’ll be at the club with them — all VIP access,” he said.
He was vague on how he came to acquire the tickets, saying only that the courtside seats were procured through the “player pool” and the dinner access was granted by “the player agents.” A rep for James did not immediately return a request for comment.
Recipients of the emails say they feel like they’re being hit with yet another scam after paying thousands of dollars last spring to attend what they thought would be a celebrity-studded concert weekend in the Bahamas — only to be left stranded on the island with inadequate food, water, and shelter.
For those who attended the Fyre Festival, the latest offers have a familiar ring. One recipient, who asked not to be named, said he communicated with Tribble about obtaining 2018 Met Ball tickets but stopped short of paying because of a gut feeling.
"The 2018 Met Gala is on Monday, April 30, at The Met in NYC. We partnered with the sponsoring brands to get you a chance to buy tickets. Tickets include red carpet, seats for the event/dinner, and an invitation to the after-party," read the email from Tribble, sent December 17. "Tickets are extremely limited. Please respond with your brief bio and number of guests you'd like to have attend, and we'll follow up with a call."
Tickets to the gala are typically $30,000 each, and according to the New York Times, Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour has "final say over every invitation and attendee, which means that even if a company buys a table, it cannot choose everyone who sits at its table: It must clear the guest with her and Vogue."
But Tribble said the offers are real, and that he didn’t know why the emails appeared to be targeting Fyre Festival attendees.
“I’m just an agent for the company, but I do know that we’re partnered up with ticket organizations for higher-end clients, VIP access. So whoever I reached out to, whoever referred you, they were on a list of people that I was reaching out to, on a list that I received from the company,” he said.
Tribble said NYC VIP Access was founded by “a couple hip-hop managers and their artists, top artists that have all combined and taken their connections and kind of all came together to see what they could do.” The company doesn’t have much of a digital record, and its website was only created in November, according to Whois records. Tribble wouldn’t give names, but he said “none of the people were involved in the Fyre Festival.”
“I can’t tell you who I work with; I’ll lose my job,” he said. “There’s a major press release on it. So I guess you’ll just have to wait until that time.”
Asked for a copy of the release, he demurred. “That’s going to be in about a month to two months. I’d say half the world’s going to know about it. So I mean, it’s something that without me even sending you something, you will know about it.”
He’s certainly offering the kind of access you might read about in headlines — in one email, dated January 17, he appeared to break news about one of the most secretive events of the year: the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, which typically announces its date and location in August.
“Fashion week is coming up in NYC, so we got a little motivated to give you one of the most anticipated fashion and social events of the year - The Victoria Secret [sic] Fashion Show (and after party, of course). A few of the models gave us their ticket allotment, so we are excited to offer them to you,” he wrote. “Rumor has it the show is returning back to the US this year (second week of November) but you didn’t hear that from us ;). Tickets are $1.5k/person, and confirmations today receive a 15% discount.”
Victoria’s Secret did not respond to a request for comment, but it’s not clear how any models would know they were confirmed for the show or have any tickets to donate to the company. Auditions for the fall show typically begin about two months in advance; last year, top-tier models like Shanina Shaik, Hilary Rhoda, and Aiden Curtis began auditioning in August, and final callbacks can stretch until days before the show.
Tribble, however, seemed confident in the details, telling me each model is allotted three tickets, located in the fourth of “about ten rows,” which the company is selling for $1,500 each. He also offered me “two open seats in the first row, which gives you backstage access to mingle with the models during the show” — for $5,000 a seat. Both ticket options, he said, come with access to the after-party.
But shelling out all that money won’t get you an actual ticket until the day of the event.
“For the actual tickets, we will send you instructions. You do pick them up at will-call. So we give you confirmation stuff before any money is sent. There will be a contract in place, and the reason why you have that contract is because you don’t get the tickets upon purchase, you pick them up at will-call,” he explained, adding that I could pay any way I wanted. “You know, first-time clients feel a little bit more comfortable paying with their American Express credit card, but that’s why you do have the contract in place.”
When I pressed him for more information about the company and its dealings, he shut the interview down.
“So, before I even give you any more information, it seems like you’re just taking out a bunch of information to write articles, which, I mean, I only get on the phone with people who are interested in being clients and purchasing tickets to events and getting access,” Tribble said.
“I’m a very busy person, and I don’t have time to be interviewed. You’re interrogating me, asking me a bunch of questions. None of my clients have ever done this, I have clients all over the world,” he added, before hanging up.
This article originally appeared on VICE News US.