Update: Fest organizer Ja Rule has apologized in a brief statement on his Twitter page, explaining that he is working to get everyone off of the island and that the event was “not a scam.”
“I wanted this to be an amazing event it was NOT A SCAM as everyone is reporting I don’t know how everything went so left but I’m working to make it right by making sure everyone is refunded,” he wrote.
Original story below…
The inaugural Fyre Festival in the Bahamas — billed to offer the “best in food, art and music” and promising celebrity chefs, supermodels, and top-tier musical acts — has been cancelled after a chaotic start that left many ticket buyers stranded, hungry and angry after having shelled out tens of thousands of dollars to attend.
As the organizers of Fyre Festival, rapper Ja Rule and entrepreneur Billy McFarland had promised performances from Blink-182, Major Lazer, and rappers Tyga and Desiigner, plus “first-class culinary experiences.” Meanwhile, an enticing promotional Youtube video featured models Bella Hadid and Hailey Baldwin and promised a “premium” experience with five star resort-style villas and accommodations.
Tickets for the event ranged from a few thousand dollars for the most basic accommodations and reportedly reached as high as $200,000 for luxury villa rentals and private plane charters.
But after arriving Thursday for what was to be the first of two weekends of an unparalleled island music festival experience, ticket buyers were instead greeted with half-erected tents, incomplete festival infrastructure and bread-and-cheese sandwiches in the “luxury” food court.
One disappointed Twitter user, who had expected gourmet meals prepared by celebrity chef Steven Starr, shared a photo of a styrofoam box with a cheese sandwich and a soggy salad.
— Trevor DeHaas (@trev4president) April 28, 2017
Complaints quickly piled up on social media, with some festival-goers claiming to have had their phones and wallets stolen by thieves. After taking stock of the situation, many guests simply headed right back to the airport to attempt to catch a flight home.
— Janan Buisier (@JananBuisier) April 28, 2017
On Friday, the festival’s official Twitter account notified ticket buyers that the event had been “fully postponed.”
“After assessing the situation this morning and looking at best options for our guests, we cannot move forward as we hoped we could,” the statement read. “At this time, we are working tirelessly to get flights scheduled and get all travelers home safely.”
The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism said it was “extremely disappointed” for those people who traveled to Exuma Island expecting a luxurious weekend of high-end entertainment.
— The Bahamas (@VisitTheBahamas) April 28, 2017
Meanwhile, cheated ticket buyers used sarcasm and humor on social media to defuse the situation.
“Best ad for a FEMA death camp ever,” one commenter wrote of the Youtube video, which was ultimately nothing like the finished event.
“That’s right folks for just $10k, you too can have the “refugee fleeing war torn region” treatment at #fyrefestival,” one Twitter user joked.
— 🍁Garrett Garner🍂 (@garrettgarner12) April 28, 2017
So Fyre Fest is a complete disaster. Mass chaos. No organization. No one knows where to go. There are no villas, just a disaster tent city. pic.twitter.com/1lSWtnk7cA
— William Needham Finley IV (@WNFIV) April 27, 2017
The planning of the festival was apparently so poorly executed that video posted to social media showed would-be attendees suffering through hours of delays on their initial flight to Exuma from Miami, a flight that was eventually canceled.
“We have been advised by Fyre, the tour operator of your flight, that they can no longer accept any guests in Exuma,” an airline representative said in one video. “Due to overcapacity on the island, we need to cancel the flights to ensure the safety of our guests.”
Once on the island, guests attempting to leave were reportedly stuck at the airport.
There were some early warning signs. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that Fyre Festival organizers were in disarray, and had provided flight information to guests several weeks behind schedule.
On Thursday afternoon, scheduled headliner Blink-182 backed out the their performance.
“Regrettably, and after much careful and difficult consideration, we want to let you know that we won’t be performing at Fyre Fest in the Bahamas this weekend and next weekend,” the band said in a Twitter post. “We’re not confident that we would have what we need to give you the quality of performances we always give fans.”
Event organizers wrote on Friday promising refunds, due to “circumstances beyond our control.”
Representatives for festival organizer Ja Rule did not immediately respond to Breitbart News’ request for comment.
Follow Jerome Hudson on Twitter: @jeromeehudson