This is the story behind Vestiville a.k.a. Fyre Festival 2.0
Aaand it's over… For months, many of us have been watching the fresh Belgian festival Vestiville, which was supposed to take place from June 28 till 30 in Lommel, Belgium, with a lot of scepticism. Hearing about a new festival (a spin-off from the Dutch Vestival) bringing the top of the international hip-hop game to Belgium made us excited and confused at first. "How is it possible for a festival to pull out such an all-star line-up on its first edition?" we all thought. But after closely watching the festival roll out during the past few months and thanks to our friends at veto.be, who did some impressive research together with HBVL, we're able to bring you a whole lot of details. So here you go: a list of shady things about Vestiville that should've warned us all from the beginning.
Let's start off with the beginning, shall we? Vestiville, who took Belgian social media by storm with its monster line-up, started selling its tickets before even getting approval from the municipality of Lommel. Anyone seeing any similarities with GOAT festival in Bree, which tried to pull the same trick?
Okay, so no big deal right? We'll see how it goes! Let's just go to their website and check out if we can get any press entrances so we can cover this event for you guys. Or not… After scrolling through their poorly designed website (sorry but it's true), we noticed there's no press email or contact on the website. Even big Belgian media such as Humo and De Standaard were not welcome at first. It feels like press in general was not welcome. Fair enough…
TINY VESTIVILLE SPONSORS FOR A HUGE LINE-UP
Vestiville was supposed to happen during the same weekend of one of Belgium’s biggest festivals such as Rock Werchter and Couleur Café. To be able to compete with them for some huge international hip-hop artists probably means you have some nice sponsors. We don't know about you but we're seeing some brands we've never heard of before. Biggest name on the list: Pi Pay. According to the journalists of Veto it's a Cambodian mobile payment app which can only be used if you have a Cambodian SIM card. Sounds a bit strange as a sponsor for a Belgian festival, doesn’t it? After weeks of no clear answers from Pi Pay, HBVL got an answer explaining the ties between Cambodia and Vestiville CEO Ravuth Ty. There were plans of organising a Cambodian Vestiville in the future. (We truly hope they have a better Vestiville than ours).
Second sponsor: Rocabella. This one was tricky to find, but all Google search results pointing to a Greek hotel aside, this is the Rocabella we’re talking about. A make-up brand with virtually nothing to show aside from a website that looks like it has been made by a kid who just made his first account on Wix. The poorly designed website tells us they’re launching soon and it shows 3 pictures of women assumingly wearing their make-up products. But after some reverse searching done by the Veto journalists, those pictures seemed to be copied from a website about ADHD, another website about hair extensions, etc.
ALMOST SOLD OUT, GET YOUR TICKETS FAST!
Other Vestiville partners include Feathers Events, who are very experienced and have been previously responsible for Daydream Festival in Belgium and The Netherlands. Next on the list: Manik, a booking agency ran by one of Vestiville’s founders Nik Chawda with an estimated value of about 160.000 pounds. Something tells us they’re also not the ones who were responsible for the big budgets you need for Cardi B, Migos and more? Last one on the bill: New Nation Group. This company without a website was started in March this year, 3 months after the festival started. When a journalist of Veto called the company, a Vestiville employee picked up the phone. We’re starting to see a pattern here, aren’t we?
So a few partners of the event don’t seem to be ‘real’ businesses. But the founders of the festival did Vestival in the Netherlands, right? They surely know what they’re doing. Well, partly… We should also mention the fact that the third and last edition of the Dutch Vestival in 2015 was left in financial ruins. And CEO Ravuth Ty, he was nowhere to be found.
In case you were still in for the party after doing some research, you had to act quickly, because they were running low on tickets! At least, that’s what Vestiville had been saying for weeks on their social media channels. Although they promised us ticket prices were going up, they were suddenly throwing “late bird” ticket sales with 10% off at us during the last week. The Vestivilla-packages were also for sale at a whopping -40%. What a deal!
THE SITUATION ON THE FESTIVAL SITE: WHO NEEDS WATER ANYWAY?
Now all jokes aside, this is bad. According to Het Nieuwsblad there’s already an investigation running for fraud against Vestiville in the Netherlands. Our sources on site on the first day of the festival reported that there is no water available on the camping site. Not for drinking nor for the toilets or showers, leaving the camping with an unbearable stench. The villas which are located in Sunparks Mol were apparently not paid for by Vestiville. This although the people flying over from different countries did pay Vestiville for this in advance, with the expected chaos as a result.
We truly hope every attendant is safe tonight and will find a way to sort out this whole thing this weekend. We regret that the festival took this turn. We hope Vestiville will take its responsibility in paying for the damage they inflicted on these people.
Make sure to follow us on Instagram, we’ll keep you updated on everything happening at the Belgian festivals! You can find more onsite coverage of what went down at Vestiville in our Instagram Stories.