Fyre Fest’s iconic cheese sandwich tweet to be auctioned off as NFT

It was billed as an exclusive, luxury music festival in the Bahamas, filled with A-list performers and gourmet meals. It was anything but

In 2017, Trevor DeHaas tweeted a picture of “dinner” at Fyre Fest — two pieces of wheat bread, limp cheese and a sad looking salad in a styrofoam container.

The man who tweeted the infamous photo of the Fyre Fest cheese sandwich ‘dinner’ is auctioning off his tweet as an NFT.

Trevor DeHaas, 30, had first snapped the now-iconic photograph of the sandwich in 2017, during his first night at the Fyre Festival. He claimed, in his tweet, that guests had been promised meals catered by celebrity chef Steven Starr but upon arriving on the island, had instead been handed a styrofoam container with two pieces of wheat bread, limp cheese and a sad-looking salad.

The photo perfectly captured just how badly organized the festival was, which resulted in several lawsuits and jail time for organizer Billy McFarland.

But almost four years later, the former festival attendee is selling his tweet as a non-fungible token (NFT), in order to raise money for his pending kidney transplant, as well as costs for daily dialysis treatment. 

“Meme. Cultural touchstone. Cheese sandwich,” the auction site’sdescription reads. “Two limp white slices on wheat bread lay, like the lifeless body of Icarus, bemoaning the hubris of man. A timeless image of inestimable cultural import sold now as a singular NFT.”

An NFT is a digital file that can contain anything digital, from GIFs to songs and tweets. It has a verified identity and ownership, and this verification is done using blockchain technology — an unhackable system. 

The merit of an NFT is that it provides people with the ability to securely value, purchase and exchange digital art, using a digital ledger

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With how hot the NFT market is right now I figured I’d give it a shot and could hopefully raise enough money that I wouldn’t need to rely on a GoFundMe to pay for my medical expenses,” DeHaas, toldThe Verge.

He is hoping to raise US$80,000 (C$100,490).

The idea 

According to Axios, DeHaas got the idea to sell his tweet as an NFT from Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey. 

In March, Dorsey sold his succinct first-ever tweet, which reads “just setting up my twttr”, for US$2.9 million. The CEO pledged to convert the proceeds from the sale into bitcoin and donate them to people impacted by COVID-19 in Africa.

Instantly I thought of my viral tweet from Fyre festival,” DeHaas told Axios. 

He is selling the Fyre Festival tweet on, a New York-based company that allows “established and up-and-coming artists, celebrities and holders of valuable art” to monetize their work with NFTs, according to itswebsite.

Ja Rule, who had co-founded the Fyre Fest in 2017, is also a partner in Flipkick and has even sold his own Fyre Festival NFT — an oil-painting of the logo — on the site. However, DeHaas clarified on twitter that the rapper is not directly involved in the sale of so-called cheese sandwich NFT. 

The 30-year-old is dealing with end-stage renal disease and only has 10 per cent of his kidneys’ function left, according to his GoFundMe page. He’s currently on the waitlist for a kidney transplant. 

“The last thing I want is to guilt trip someone into buying the NFT and copyright to pay for my medical expenses but I would like the auction winner to know that their money would be going to a good cause,” DeHaas told the Verge. 

The NFT’s auction closes on April 24.

The failed Fyre Fest

The Fyre Fest, which was founded by McFarland, CEO of Fyre Media Inc, and Ja Rule, had been billed as an exclusive music festival in the Bahamas, filled with A-list performers, luxury villas and gourmet meals. 

Literally bread, cheese and salad with dressing

The event was even marketed by models like Kendall Jenner and Emily Ratajkowski — with Jenner being paid $275,000 for a single, now-deleted, Instagram post for the event. Within two days of the festival’s Instagram ad campaign, 95 per cent of its tickets had been sold, many of them for thousands of dollars.

However, when attendees arrived, they found a hastily thrown together concert venue, badly constructed tents with rain-soaked mattresses, and cold cheese sandwiches — all in a remote area without proper bathrooms and drainage. To top it off, none of the music performers advertised by the festival organizers were present at the venue.

The festival organizers became the subject of several lawsuits by guests and festival vendors, who were never reimbursed for their services and, in 2018, McFarland was sentenced to six years in prison for wire fraud.

In the meantime, Fyre Fest turned into an internet sensation, and DeHaas’ tweet became the enduring image of a fraudulently marketed luxury event targeting the young and privileged. 

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