#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 15°C Saturday 16 October 2021

A Ja Rule-organised festival promised music and models on the beach, instead it turned into chaos

Tickets for the festival cost up to $12,000 with VIP packages rising to $250,000.

Source: Fyre Festival/YouTube

ORGANISERS OF A music festival in The Bahamas that was billed as a luxury getaway but collapsed in chaos has promised and said they would try again next year.

The Fyre Festival was abruptly aborted on Friday after hundreds of party-goers — who had paid for tickets costing up to $12,000 and VIP packages that rose to $250,000 — arrived only to be welcomed by relief-camp style tents and rudimentary sandwiches rather than the promised lavish experience.

The festival, led by New York rapper Ja Rule and tech entrepreneur Billy McFarland, one day later apologised and said all festival goers would be refunded.

“Also, all guests from this year will have free VIP passes to next year’s festival,” said a statement on its website.

The 2018 festival, it said, would take place on a beach destination in the United States.

While thanking the government of The Bahamas, the organisers said they had tried to create a festival on a private island where there was insufficient infrastructure.

“The team was overwhelmed. The airport was jam-packed. The buses couldn’t handle the load,” the statement said.

“This is an unacceptable guest experience and the Fyre team takes full responsibility for the issues that occurred,” it said.

Such problems were fully apparent to guests who had made it to the island on the VIP packages that were supposed to feature exclusive villas as well as chartered planes from Miami.

Numerous festival-goers posted pictures of shambolic scenes as they arrived and quickly turned around — setting off mockery in corners of the internet over the high prices many had handed over.

The festival had promoted itself on Instagram with sensual images of famous models lying on the sand. But after finding out that the promised “cultural moment created from a blend of music, art and food” was not to be, some visitors also turned to social media to vent fury.

“This has been one of the most ridiculous things I have ever experienced and if you know me, that is saying a whole lot,” Twitter user DylanACOP wrote.

It is complete and total chaos. Everyone is running around frantically looking for answers and none of the staff can help. Even they are in the dark.

The government of The Bahamas, a country of more than 700 islands and cays where tourism is the largest industry, also apologized and assisted in evacuations — but stressed it was not involved directly in the event.

Ja Rule also tweeted an apology saying that he is “taking responsibility” but insisted that what happened “is not my fault”.

The festival, which had been due to take place over two weekends, abruptly announced in an online statement Friday that it was being “postponed” with no new date.

“Due to circumstances out of our control, the physical infrastructure was not in place on time and we are unable to fulfill on that vision safely and enjoyably for our guests,” it said.

The festival said it was offering charter flights back to Miami to festival-goers, whose packages included transportation.

The chaos had started to become apparent Thursday, when one of the headlining acts, rockers Blink-182, said it was not coming.

“We’re not confident that we would have what we need to give you the quality of performances we always give our fans,” the band wrote.

Other acts in the lineup were electronic favorites Major Lazer and rising hip-hop acts Migos and Desiigner.

© – AFP 2017 with reporting by Rónán Duffy 

About the author:


Read next: