Look, when you’re Ja Rule and your name isn’t getting the same kind of ink it did back in the Ashanti “Mesmerize” days, sometimes you need to make splashy moves to stay afloat. And what’s a splashier (but still safe) move than helping to put on your own music festival in the Bahamas and charging a shitload of money (as much as $12,000)? What if you use models like Bella Hadid, Chanel Iman and Emily Ratajkowski to promote the thing? Foolproof. People love them.
How could you say no to such a festival? And it’s on a Bahamian island (Exumas) once owned by Pablo Escobar? That’s super edgy. G.O.O.D Music, Disclosure, Major Lazer, Migos and Blink-182 are going to perform? Perfect. Those are some stalwart festival acts. Done deal. This is going to work out just fine.
It didn’t work out fine.
Blink-182 canceled their appearance a day before the Fyre Festival was supposed to start, as organizers were already promising refunds to people who’d never even made it to the island.
2px); width:calc(100% 2px);">
And believe it or not, Blink canceling was basically the least of any rich millennial's trouble when they got to this supposed tropical paradise. Not getting to see Travis Barker rock out on drums does suck. But it doesn't suck as much as feral dogs running loose through the festival grounds (which is reported to have happened;). It's not quite as bad as locals allegedly stealing wallets and luggage en masse. And the luggage that didn't get swiped was still reportedly being thrown off of the back of a truck.
Rough start, sure, but luggage problems and travel issues can be expected. At least the top-notch cuisine was fine.
The top-notch cuisine wasn't fine, and there's probably never been a more compelling picture of a cheese sandwich in the history of cheese sandwiches.
Okay, so food is iffy, a top-level act has canceled, luggage is allegedly swiped by locals and a wild pack of family dogs is reportedly running through the festival grounds. That's bad, but at least guest services is there to help. Those people are saints and when something goes wrong at a high-profile festival, those people are seemingly there in an instant.
Guest services didn't seem to be there to help, and now there's a trend developing. From all reports, nothing that was supposed to work actually did, so much so that someone started a “FyreFraud” account on Twitter (which is never good press for a burgeoning festival).
Not extensively covered in that clip is that some guy was allegedly punched out by security and had his wallet taken from him. So even the security that did actually exist didn't seem to be too friendly.
At this point in the story that's been described as “Rich Kids of Instagram Meets Hunger Games,” it's natural to wonder why people didn't just immediately high-tail it out of there. Well, so many people were swamping the nearest travel office that it started to look like the most first-world version of the Fall of Saigon.
Fortunately for those in attendance going through such a harrowing experience, a refund system exists.
No refund system exists—the festival website verbatim says: “All sales are final. There are no refunds.”
Effectively, Fyre Festival attendees (who spent at least $4,000 to go) were promised this:
Photo by Rochelle Brodin/Getty
And they got this:
The festival has now been postponed amidst all the chaos, but if you want even more of the Fyre Festival debacle, head to Twitter for even more #FyreFestival absurdity and plenty of Ja Rule jokes.