Photography via Instagram

Everything You Need to Know About the Fyre Festival Disaster

One look at the crystalline waters of Bahama’s Exuma Islands is enough to make anyone book a plane ticket, but imagine that plus a promise of quite possibly the best festival that ever existed? Well that was enough to make thousands of people jump on board.

In a statement released on the Fyre Festival website, co-founders Billy McFarland and Ja Rule had dreamed up the event—a two weekend luxury music festival planned for April 28-30 and May 5-7—because of a “mutual interest in technology, the ocean, and rap music. This unique combination of interests led them to the idea that, through their combined passions, they could create a new type of music festival and experience on a remote island.”

What began as an idea quickly turned into a nightmare when the concept went viral. “They simply weren’t ready for what happened next, or how big this thing would get,” according to the aforementioned statement. Back in December 2016, photos of Bella Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski and a handful of Victoria’s Secret models frolicking in paradise started popping up on Insta feeds. The models and influencers were allegedly paid $20,000 for each post. (FYI, Hadid shared a total of five posts, so you do the math.)

by @hoskelsa ?

A post shared by Bella Hadid (@bellahadid) on


A post shared by Lais Ribeiro (@laisribeiro) on

Engage your senses

A post shared by FYRE FESTIVAL (@fyrefestival) on

The video campaign itself, featuring Bella Hadid, does a great job of selling the concept.

But all of this festival foreplay was just a tease—with a huge price tag. Though ticket prices ranged greatly, with some starting at $500, the L.A. Times reported that they could cost as much as $250,000 for a group package. In its coverage, the newspaper said that one writer “shelled out $8,999 with a group of his friends for ‘the lodge’ package, which was to include four king beds and all-inclusive meals. After upgrading to all-access artist passes, their total cost was about $3,000 a piece.”

In addition to the luxury accommodations, festival-goers were also promised a lineup of performances, including Blink 182, Migos, Major Lazer and Disclosure, as well as a luxury treasure hunt with $1 million in prizes to be found.

But the dream of jumping off yachts and mingling with models was quickly shattered on Thursday, April 27 when performers (read: Blink 182) informed their guests that they would not be attending and guests began arriving on the island via Miami. Wet tents and limited food made it a game of survival.

One guest documented the whole debacle live—from kitchen views to finding their “assigned” living quarters—via Twitter:

Other Twitter users showed off the food that was being given out—bread and processed cheese slices that even a toddler would scoff at.

Understandably, a lot of the guests were getting fed up and made plans to get off the island—stat. However, the drama followed the angry attendees to the airport. Judging from the below Twitter user, there was even more chaos trying to catch a flight back to Miami, including being locked in by officials. Are we even surprised at this point?

Then, on Friday, April 28, Ja Rule shared an apology statement via the Notes app stating the festival was “NOT a SCAM” and this was “NOT [HIS] FAULT.” *eye roll*

After having said they would be supporting the festival via a press release, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism posted an updated statement on their website, re-affirming that though the board was not the official sponsor of the event, they are doing what they can to help the guests.

One former festival worker, Chloe Gordon, who was the festival’s talent producer, lived to tell the tale and penned typed out a juicy tell-all on The Cut. Dishing on how she knew the festival was going to be a disaster months before the guests’ arrival, Gordon revealed that they would have needed $50 million to pull this off, which clearly no one had. Maybe it had something to do with the aforementioned note regarding the pay rate for the promotion models? Who really knows. For all we know, they didn’t even have the money to supply basic necessities (read: toilets and showers). However, no one cared when she brought up her concerns. Instead, she overheard one guy from the marketing team irresponsibly say, “Let’s just do it and be legends, man.”

On Saturday, April 29, 25-year-old McFarland attempted to do some major damage control via an as-told-to column for the Rolling Stone, admitting that they were naive in thinking this was possible. How he had time to do this we have no clue.

“We were a little naïve in thinking for the first time we could do this ourselves,” McFarland told writer Steve Knopper. “Next year, we will definitely start earlier. The reality is, we weren’t experienced enough to keep up.”

Not too long after, Bella Hadid spoke tweeted out her thoughts (via Notes) regarding the debacle and how she was truly unaware that the events would unfold like this. May we also note the model typed her non-apology with only 2 per cent battery left on her phone.

According to Page Six, the organizers are already promising we’ll see a better festival next season (read: “more seasoned event experts” and will take place at a “United States beach venue”). #thanksbutnothanks

On Sunday April 30, Fyre Festival apologized (again) in a series of tweets.

Ja Rule also gave his followers the latest update and said all the guests are safe and have been sent an application form for a refund.

But clearly, these apologies were not enough to make up for the way the attendees were treated at this so-called “luxury” festival. Apparently, a $100 million class action lawsuit is in the works, fronted by celebrity trial lawyer Mark Geragos. On behalf of plaintiff Daniel Jung, who is seeking $5 million in damages for alleged fraud, breach of contract, breach of covenant of good faith and negligent misrepresentation, Geragos will be leading the class action of “more than 150” plaintiffs.

So in summary…

? #poorjarule #stefan #fyrefestival #fyre #happysunday

A post shared by Emily (@carpe_diemily) on

We’ll just leave you with that.

More Celebrity