It was supposed to be the year's hottest new luxury festival experience, but, as social media reports flood in, it instead sounded like the most Apocalyptic. Guys, what happened at Fyre Festival? Co-created by rapper Ja Rule, the event was announced via Instagram by models Bella Hadid and Emily Ratajkowski. Prices ranged from $450 a day to $12,780 total, and it was billed as offering “the best in food, art music and adventure." But attendees have reported feral dogs, accommodation that hasn't been built yet, canceled flights (leaving them stranded in the Bahamas), and inadequate food.
Fyre Festival has already released a statement suggesting the event is being canceled:
"Due to circumstances beyond our control, we must postpone this experience. We are working tirelessly to ensure each guest leaves the island safely and ask for everyone’s patience and cooperation as we continue to provide ongoing updates via email and our official social media channels as they become available, including refund information."
UPDATE: Friday afternoon, Ja Rule released a statement about the events on his Twitter account. "I truly apologize as this is NOT MY FAULT," he wrote. "But I'm taking responsibility and I'm deeply sorry to everyone who was inconvenienced by this."
EARLIER: Writer William N Finley, who paid for an artist’s pass, was disappointed in the proceedings. “In the week leading up to it some things seemed like they weren’t as advertised. We gave them the benefit of the doubt and figured they’d pull things together before we got there," he said. “And we were dead wrong. It was chaos. No organization, no one was in charge, there was just a line and no one knew what to do.”
There were further hints that even the acts booked to play at the festival were slowly becoming aware that the event wouldn’t be as advertised. On Thursday April 27, one of the headliner acts, Blink-182 canceled.
Similarly, while Ja Rule had announced he was on his way to the festival two days ago with a picture of the plane he was allegedly taking, there’s been no further mention of the event on his social media channels.
On top of that, emails to the organizers are responded to with an automated message declaring that, "We apologize for the inconvenience as we are experiencing overwhelming demand. We will get back to you just as soon as we can."
Even more light is shed on the festival's issues by the Vanity Fair coverage of the event, two days before it was set to take place. Their article suggests that the event was only ever intended as a way to publicize Ja-Rule's entertainment booking startup, Fyre Media. Event co-creator and tech entrepreneur Billy McFarland told the magazine:
“We didn't just want to be a tech company that was a pure enterprise with no consumer awareness. So a festival was a great way to go and do that and beyond people who are attending.”
Chanel Iman, one of the models involved in the campaign promoting Fyre also sounded tentative leading up to the Festival, stating, “I know that this is their first time doing this, so I’m hoping that everything will go as planned."
In short, this was a festival organized by people who don't usually organize festivals. Bustle reached out to Ja Rule's manager for comment on the Festival events, but have yet to receive a response.
The Bahamas' Twitter account tells a similar story; they released a statement arguing that, despite the organizers reassuring them they had taken all possible measures for a safe event, "clearly they did not have the capacity to execute an event of this scale."
Whatever the true reasons behind what happened at Fyre Festival, the fact of the matter is that, apparently, the reality didn't match the expectations of the attendees.