It was supposed to be a “once-in-a-lifetime musical experience” on a remote island in the Bahamas. The organizers of the much-hyped Fyre Festival promised “two transformative weekends” of Instagram-ready luxury — world-class cuisine, private jets, yachts.
Oh, and Blink-182 was set to perform. What could possibly go wrong?
Well, apparently everything.
Miserable festival-goers, some of whom shelled out as much as $250,000 for premium tickets, tweeted images of shoddy sleeping tents, paltry security and boxed meals that won’t earn any Michelin stars. It appeared there were no bikini-clad models cavorting on the sand.
Blink-182 seemed to sense impending disaster. The band bailed on Fyre almost a full day before its Friday kickoff.
G.O.O.D. Music, Lil Yachty, Major Lazer and Migos had also been slated to perform at the glitzy two-weekend festival, which had been hyped on social media by Kendall Jenner and other celebrities.
As of Friday afternoon, several attendees claimed they were stranded on the Exuma Cays — scenes that sounded like Coachella meets “Lord of the Flies.” (The island was “once owned” by Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, organizers have said.)
“It’s every man for himself,” Tom Knight, 21, told NBC News on Friday. “As of right now, we have no plans — like, we don’t know if they are keeping us here, if we’re flying back today. There is nothing set up.”
“There’s just chaos right now,” said Knight, who said he paid $1,600 to attend. “Everybody is standing around. No one knows when the flights are leaving.”
The festival, co-founded by rapper Ja Rule and entrepreneur Billy McFarland, was on hold — at least for now.
“The festival is being postponed until we can further assess if and when we are able to create the high-quality experience we envisioned,” organizers said in a statement, adding that they were “working tirelessly to get flights scheduled and get everyone off” the island.
In an exclusive interview with Rolling Stone, McFarland said the organizers “were a little naïve.”
“We were a little naïve in thinking for the first time we could do this ourselves. Next year, we will definitely start earlier. The reality is, we weren’t experienced enough to keep up,” said McFarland, citing bad weather and busted water pipes as the root of the trouble.
Ja Rule, for his part, insisted the event was “NOT A SCAM” and the reported chaos was “NOT MY FAULT.”
There were signs that Fyre was in trouble before it started. The Wall Street Journal reported in early April that festival organizers had “missed a series of deadlines to make advance payments to performers.” A spokeswoman for Fyre Media Inc. told the paper that “artists have been paid according to terms.”
In a statement, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism said it was “extremely disappointed in the way the events unfolded,” and apologized for the “total disorganization and chaos.”