An exclusive music festival on a private island in the Bahamas, promoted to jet-setters on social media by the likes of Kendall Jenner and Emily Ratajkowski, came apart in the opening hours of the event on Thursday, prompting organizers to postpone it indefinitely.
UPDATED: The inaugural Fyre Festival, founded by the rapper Ja Rule and the tech entrepreneur Billy McFarland, offered luxury accommodations, food, and amenities at a premium price, with ticket packages reaching upwards to six figures, inclusive of yachts and chartered planes.
However, upon arriving at the island on Thursday, festival-goers found an event that was reportedly in disarray, with damp, unstable tents, a lack of staff and security and Maricopa County Jail level food, according to the New York Times.
By Friday, event organizers were in damage control mode, announcing that the event was postponed indefinitely, and stating that they were ‘working’ to get everyone back off of the island.
“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,” festival organizers said in a statement published on their website.
“At this time, we are working tirelessly to get flights scheduled and get everyone off of Great Exuma and home safely as quickly as we can,” they added. “We are working to place everyone on complimentary charters back to Miami today; this process has commenced and the comfort and safety of our guests is our top priority.”
Ja Rule: “I am heartbroken”
In a separate statement posted on his social media, Ja Rule said: “We are working right now and getting everyone of (sic) the island safe that is my immediate concern…I will make a statement soon I’m heartbroken at this moment my partners and I wanted this to be an amazing event it was not a scam as everyone is reporting. I don’t know how everything went so left, but I’m working to make it right by making sure everyone is refunded…I truly apologize as this is NOT MY FAULT..but I’m taking responsibility. I’m deeply sorry for to everyone who was inconvenienced by this…”
While event organizers seemed surprised by the failure of the event, the Wall Street Journal reported that there were early signs of trouble for the event, including late payments of artist guarantees and customers complaining of a concierge service that was slow to make contact to arrange promised charter flights.
The festival featured a lineup that included Ja Rule, G.O.O.D. Music, Blink-182, Migos, Lil Yachty, Major Lazer and others.
UPDATE: Festival organizers are now promising full refunds, charity donations and free VIP passes to next year’s festival. More updates and commentary here.