For some, an outdoor music festival means portable toilets, camping, and braving the elements in the name of a good time with good tunes. But for music lovers who shelled out anywhere from $1,500 to $200,000 for a ticket to a “luxury” festival experience in the Bahamas that promised famous faces and fancy food, they were expecting a much more lavish experience than what reality provided.
The Fyre Festival — organized by ‘90s rapper Ja Rule — was billed as “an immersive music festival” held over “two transformative weekends” on a “remote and private island” (that was once owned by Pablo Escobar, a fact no doubt relished by the hipster) in the Exumas district featuring “the best in food, art, music, and adventure.”
On social media as well as in its own promotional video, the event — nay! Experience — appears to take place in a land where everyone looks good in a bikini and they can spend all day jumping off yachts and all night partying with their fellow beautiful people before sleeping it off in an “eco-friendly, geodesic dome.”
For the chance to attend this luxury event, hundreds of festivalgoers reportedly paid anywhere from $1,500 to $12,000 per ticket, depending on the package. The Washington Post notes that there was even a $250,000 pass for a full VIP experience.
But when ticketholders showed up, they say they found themselves not in paradise, but in some kind of island hell from which they could not escape: One festival attendee says things started going wrong as soon as people started to arrive Thursday morning: Villas were just tents, no famous musical acts were on the bill, and top chefs were nowhere to be found.
“The food they served was like a soup kitchen, and there wasn’t enough of it,” she told CBS Dallas-Fort Worth.
Others Tweeted photos of the promised event versus the real one:
Even Blink 1-82 dropped out, points out Buzzfeed, and Ja Rule was nowhere to be found, despite promoting the event just days before:
Those geodesic domes? Not as promised, either, and more like tents:
A writer who was on the island told Buzzfeed that although people had suspicions the event would disappoint in the weeks leading up to it, they gave Fyre the benefit of the doubt. That was a mistake.
“It was complete chaos,” he told Buzzfeed, saying that lodging hadn’t been set up when they arrived, and that the food court “was reminiscent of a state fair and not the ‘world class international culinary experience’ that they advertised.”
Many people had had enough, by this point, including the festivalgoer who spoke with CBS DFW. She was in a group of more than 100 people who grabbed a bus to Nassau Airport. They say they were promised a plane out on Friday morning.
“Everyone was ready to go, but they checked our passports a million times, said things weren’t matching up,” she says. “They asked us to step out of the plane.”
Others noted that airport officials had chained the doors to keep people from going anywhere:
As of this morning, people were still waiting in the Bahamas:
Some people couldn’t get to Exumas in the first place, despite Fyre’s promise of a roundtrip flight from Miami to the district, as the festival announced it had to cancel all inbound charter flights.
“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,” Fyre said.
Festival officials say they are “working tirelessly to get flights scheduled and get everyone off of Great Exuma and home safely as quickly as we can.”
“We are working to place everyone on complimentary charters back to Miami today; this process has commenced and the safety and comfort of our guests is our top priority.”
Soon after, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism apologized to travelers, and said it was “extremely disappointed in the way events unfolded” with the festival.
UPDATE: Rapper Ja Rule has issued a statement on the festival fail, telling Rolling Stone that festival customers will get refunds, and insisting that he’s heartbroken, and that Fyre “was not a scam.”
He said his first priority is to make sure attendees who are still stuck in the Exumas can get off the island.
“We are working right now on getting everyone off the island safely; that is my immediate concern,” he told RS, adding, “I truly apologize as this is NOT MY FAULT … but I’m taking responsibility I’m deeply sorry to everyone who was inconvenienced by this.”
Source: Consumer Reviews