Entertainment

This $12,000-a-Ticket Luxury Music Festival Promoted by Instagram Models Was a Total Disaster

Fyre Festival Instagram Models
Fyre Festival

On the surface, the Fyre Music Festival, a luxury music event organized by rapper Ja Rule and tech entrepreneur Billy McFarland that was scheduled to kick off this weekend, had everything an obnoxiously rich millennial could ever want. The exclusive event promised opportunities to hang out with super models, trips on yachts and jet skis, and maybe even some music from acts like Major Lazer, Disclosure, and Blink-182. Instead, the event turned into a Instagram-ready version of Lord of the Flies.

Tickets for the inaugural Fyre Music Festival, which was scheduled to take place over two weekends on an island in the Bahamas that one promotional video noted was "once owned by Pablo Escobar," ranged from $1,000 to $12,000 and promised "a cultural moment created from a blend of music, art, and food." Leading up the event the NY Post and the Observer wrote articles about the potential issues plaguing the festival -- and headliner Blink-182 dropped out the night before it started -- but that didn't keep festival attendees away from a weekend of fist-pumping.  

According to accounts on social media and Reddit, here's what they found when they arrived on the island: luxury lodging that looked more like disaster relief tents, meals that consisted of bread and slices of cheese, a lack of security, trash everywhere, no cell phone chargers or electrical outlets, and even a pack of possibly feral dogs snarling in the distance. Not exactly the reality show like experience promised by the beautiful, carefree "influencers" featured in the ads.

Here's a taste of what spending thousands of dollars to go to a music festival looks like: 

As news of the chaos spread on social media, many festival-goers decided to hightail it off the island and were met with long delays at the airport. "We could barely find a way to get to the [back] airport and when we finally did, we waited for hours," festival-goer Lamaan Gallal told Business Insider.  "They got us on a plane at 1:30 [a.m.]. We stayed on the plane and they stalled us for five hours for no reason, going down and up the rows checking passports."

The festival's Twitter account finally made the following announcement: "After assessing the situation this morning and looking at best options for our guests, we cannot move forward as we hoped we could. At this time, we are working tirelessly to get flights scheduled and get all travelers home safely."

They have yet to tweet anything about refunds. 

Update: Ja Rule has spoken. The "Put It On Me" rapper and Fyre Festival co-founder broke his silence about the controversy this afternoon on social media, using the Notes app in an effort to set the record straight. "We are working right now on getting everyone off the island SAFE," he wrote on Twitter. "That is my immediate concern. I’m heartbroken at this moment. My partners and I wanted this to be an amazing event. It was NOT A SCAM."

Read Ja Rule's full message below:

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Dan Jackson is a staff writer at Thrillist Entertainment. He's on Twitter @danielvjackson.