The organizers (if we can call them that with a straight face) of the Fyre Festival promised “two transformative weekends” on a “remote and private” island in the Bahamas that was “once owned by Pablo Escobar.”
Kendall Jenner promoted it on Instagram. Ja Rule was one of the organizers. What can go wrong?
Festival-goers paid thousands of dollars for what they believed was going to be a luxury experience. Anyone who could afford the ticket would arrive in paradise on a private jet with their friends, for a taste of the lifestyle that only seems to exist on Instagram.
The first wave of paying guests arrived on Thursday, only to find themselves staring at a chaotic festival site that appeared to be weeks away from being able to host anyone. Blink-182, one of the bands headlining the festival, had canceled at the last minute.The band did not feel the organizers had prepared properly and they would not give the audience a bad performance.
Fyre Festival was supposed to take place over two weekends but it collapsed Thursday night in a quagmire of broken sewer pipes and delayed international flights, as well as the organizers, didn’t have a clue of what they were doing.
Guests who paid thousands of dollars for chartered yachts and planes found themselves stranded with no bands, no luggage and, in some cases, no room at no inn.
To be fair there were tents for some although most were still in the packing crates.
The tents that were set up for guests to sleep in looked like “FEMA tents,” one person said. Not exactly the luxury accommodations they’d paid for.
Guest expected and were promised a gourmet meal and top food from top chefs. What they got was a cheese sandwich.
In fact, Starr Catering Group, a high-end catering company once linked to the festival, said on Friday that their agreement with organizers was “terminated” earlier this month and that they had nothing to do with the food actually served there.
I do want to say thanks to the poor staffer slash volunteer that I will bet never got paid but tried to provide a meal for the crowd. It is hard to please people who have been lied too and are tired and starving.
Overnight, the festival said in a statement posted on social media that it had gotten off to an “unexpected start.” By Friday morning, the festival was “postponed. Really!
On Friday afternoon, Ja Rule tweeted out a statement saying he was “heartbroken” about the whole thing. He apologized to the would-be festival goers, but said that the disaster was “NOT MY FAULT.”
If you are one of the promoters and the event is an exploding port o poddy, yes it is your fault. Man up take your blame along with the other promoters. Tell the truth and shame the devil.
SPY contacted the Fyre Festival earlier on Friday to get some clarity on whether refunds are being issued, and how, but have yet to receive a response.
“ They branded it as the next Coachella,” said a 32-year-old festival aficionado who identified himself as William Finley told me in a phone call from the Exuma International Airport on Friday morning. Finley and his friends paid about $4,000 each for VIP access and “luxury lodge” accommodations at the festival.
How can you have VIP package featuring a “luxury lodge” if you don’t have ah a lodge?
After seeing the actual festival site, Finley decided to get on the next flight out of there. “We’d rather be sleeping at an airport,” he said, “rather than in a tent on a rocky outcropping near a Sandals resort.”
Festival-goers paid anywhere from $450 for a no-frills day pass to up to $250,000 for the full VIP experience.
One widely-advertised festival packages cost $12,000. There were even packages that included a private yacht. The organizers forgot to put in the disclaimer of you may need to inflate your yacht up before placing it in the water.
Finley was still live tweeting his journey back home to Raleigh, N.C. on Friday, sitting along with about 150 other people at the airport who had also given up on the festival.
As we spoke, Finley said they were all “locked in” at the airport, in hour seven of waiting for a flight (he eventually did make it to Miami). Someone had passed out from the heat, and things were kind of tense: “There might be a riot here,” he said at one point. “There’s a lot of pissed off ‘Type A’ personalities.”
“I was a computer programmer, and after computers, the two things I love most are the ocean and, for some reason, rap music.”“So these three hobbies of mine somehow led me to the meeting my partner, Ja Rule. Together, we became friends and business partners. For us, it was always a battle of pushing the limits. Once we got flying lessons together, we got on these really bad 40-year-old planes and flew from New York to the Bahamas – not really knowing the Bahamas very well – ran out of gas and landed in the Exumas and both of us immediately fell in love.“We started this website and launched this festival marketing campaign. Our festival became a real thing and took [on] a life of its own. Our next step was to book the talent and actually make the music festival. We went out excited, and that’s when a lot of reality and roadblocks hit.”“The Exumas didn’t have a really great infrastructure – there wasn’t a great way to get guests in here – we were a little bit ambitious. There wasn’t water or sewage. It was almost like we tried building a city out of nothing and it took almost all of our personal resources to make this happen, and everything we had, to make this festival go on. We thought we were ready and built two different festival sites.” “Maybe we were wrong”
Reality set in as people began arriving in the Exuma islands for the first of two weekends. There is only compost. No fan to hit.
McFarland defecated a statement claiming “circumstances out of our control,” for inability to prepare the “physical infrastructure” for the event in the largely undeveloped Exumas. He is saying this now. Now that people are arriving. It is not as this issues were unknown. The theme song “Take the money and run” seems rather, appropriate right about now.
He is saying this now. Now that people are arriving. It is not as this issues were unknown. The theme song “Take the money and run” seems rather, appropriate right about now.
“I’m heartbroken at this moment,” Ja Rule, whose real name is Jeffrey Atkins, said on Twitter. “I wanted this to be an amazing event. It was not a scam as everyone is reporting.”
The organizers said they were working to arrange charter flights to Miami for people who had already arrived in Exuma and said inbound flights had been canceled. “I don’t know how everything went so left but I’m working to make it right,” the rapper said.
The Bahamas tourism ministry had expected it to be one of the largest such events ever held in the island chain east of Florida. But attendees complained bitterly about disorganization.
On Friday, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism released a statement saying they were ” extremely disappointed” in how the Fyre Festival unfolded, calling the state of things there “total disorganization” and “chaos.” The ministry is now at the Fyre Festival site to “assist with the organization of a safe return of all Fyre Festival visitors.”
Emphasizing that the festival was a “private” event, the ministry says it “offered advice and assisted with communications with other government agencies” to festival organizers, the statement reads. “The event organizers assured us that all measures were taken to ensure a safe and successful event,” they add, “but clearly they did not have the capacity to execute an event of this scale.”
The Red Flags.
The first oh! really bitch moment was the announcement Ja Rule would be the official host of the event and one of its primary promoters.
Now that hurricane Fyre’s big hype wind has calmed down the promoters are trying to do some needed damage control but the media, music fans and those unlucky enough to go to the festival are not having it.
Now Ja Rule and his partner Billy McFarland are claiming things just got out of hand. Can someone please tell me when they actually had things in hand?
Let Us Review Day One: The promoters find this terrific picturesque site and are inspired. After smoking some ganja they deside to bring to this private island a world-class music event. So far so good.
Now after the amazing sunset and the bottle of tequila is passed around a few times it should have become apparent the limitations and challenges in making this event a reality. It is going to take funds and I mean big bucks.
The promoters billed the Festival as an island version of Coachella. But Coachella is outside of Palm Desert and Palm Springs California with thousands of hotel rooms and top restaurants to accommodate the concert goes every need.
So what did the promoters do? They took their solution, right out of the FEMA disaster handbook. They ordered tents. What VIP doesn’t like to camp, I ask you?
I want to be fair in my criticism so with no hotel rooms, no toilets, no power, no real staff to speak of or with, no restaurants or facilities of any kind and most important no music performers, how in the great halls of hell were these two stooges ever going to make this disaster into a success?
Why did they not call it off and refund the money when they realized it was going to be a big fat fiasco? Why?
The answer is easy. The promoters are douche bags. They loved being “the guy”. You know “the guy”. He is the one trying to pick up girls with his bad clothes and stail come on lines. But now he is a producer of the hotest ticket in town and he can hook you up. But wait, if you order now he will double your offer just pay separate shipping and handling. Oh yes watch the handling.
They were seduced by the limelight and the notoriety. The once computer programmer is now playing in the big time. It was intoxicating. But something bad happened……The festival.
I have reviewed the promoters report card and I have some questions I already know the answers to.
Where was the master plan? Did it include stages for the musical acts?
Where was the sound equipment, engineers, technicians, and lighting?
Did you order generators with enough power needed for each band. (Oh yes the bands cancelled thats two problems fixed).
Where were the visual effects and the professionals hired to run them?
Where are the sponsors? Festivals need to sell merchandise. Was merchandise made? Who was going t0 sell it?
How many people were hired to cater to the concert goes?
Was their security?
So who was head of Food and beverage?
What was the over all budget?
Was there a budget?
If the promoters had billed this event as a tent sleeping shit in a bucket hippy inspired music festival on a tropical island with no creature comforts and bring your own cheese sandwich while warming yourself over a dumpster fire they might have gotten away with it at the right price. Sounds like a season of survivor. But no they wanted the yacht and jet crowd. When all is said and done, more is said than done.