Fyre Festival was supposed to be an epic event. Guests who paid $3,200 to $4,400 for a ticket would be flown on a customized plane from Miami to the site on the island of Great Exuma in the Bahamas, where they would stay in geodesic domes, eat amazing food, and enjoy a lineup of musical acts including Migos, Major Lazer, Rae Sremmurd, and Blink-182. More lavish packages still, costing up to a reported $250,000 per person (paywall), were available. A host of famous models and entertainment moguls promoted the festival, and it sold out within weeks.
But guests arriving for today’s start (April 28) of the two-weekend festival, organized by rapper Ja Rule and business partner Billy McFarland, have reported a categorical disaster. Many of the guest tents have yet to be built, amenities such as food are decidedly less-than-luxurious, and there is little organization to speak of.
The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism has now weighed in, offering an apology to those who traveled to Exuma for the event. ”We are extremely disappointed in the way the events unfolded yesterday with the Fyre Festival,” it said. “Hundreds of visitors to Exuma were met with total disorganization and chaos.”
After the reports from the island, Blink-182 pulled out of the festival, saying in a statement, “We’re not confident that we would have what we need to give you the quality of performances we always give our fans.”
Meanwhile, disappointed guests trying to fly home from the island have encountered massive delays, leaving many stranded.
The festival has responded by canceling its inbound charter flights to the Exumas, leading to uncertainty about whether the festival would go on.
“Things got off to an unexpected start at day one of Fyre Festival,” a statement posted to the festival’s Instagram said. It added that it was “working to comfortably accommodate guests,” would refund those whose in-bound flights it had canceled, and that it would soon post a revised itinerary for the remainder of this weekend and for next.
Update: Fyre Festival’s website now states that the festival “is being postponed until we can further assess if and when we are able to create the high-quality experience we envisioned.” It says:
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. 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.
The jokes and memes are already circulating, including comparisons with the novel of stranded children descending into tribalism, Lord of the Flies. The situation isn’t quite that dire, but it certainly doesn’t look like much fun. And the predicament of the wealthy and beautiful who spent thousands for an exclusive luxury experience, and instead found themselves in a tent city, is inspiring a certain amount of online schadenfreude.