The first annual Fyre Festival was supposed to be a luxurious experience but instead turned into a disaster and many are hoping the Bahamas‘ tourism industry remains intact.
Established by rapper Ja Rule and entrepreneur Billy McFarland, the music festival was touted as an exclusive two-weekend event on Great Exuma, which offered VIP packages of up to $250,000, according to Billboard. Performances by Major Lazer, Lil Yachty and Blink-182, who canceled its appearance a day before the Friday, April 28, kickoff, were scheduled, Rolling Stone reported.
Promises of catered meals and deluxe sleeping accommodations were not realized as attendees documented a to-go box of sandwich bread and cheese with a salad, and disaster-relief tents instead of upscale lodging.
— Trevor DeHaas (@trev4president) April 28, 2017
The venue was also in disarray.
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(It’s real. I made it up) (@WNFIV) April 27, 2017
— William Needham Finley IV(It’s real. I made it up) (@WNFIV) April 28, 2017
A passenger hoping to make it to the festival from Miami captured the moment an airline crew member informed them that the flight would be canceled.
“We have been advised by Fyre, the tour operator of your flight, that they can no longer accept any further guests in Exuma,” he tells passengers before reading the statement from Fyre organizers. “Due to overcapacity on the island, we need to cancel the flights to ensure the safety of our guests.”
Fyre issued a statement on its website explaining “circumstances out of our control” meant infrastructure wasn’t set up in time for the event, which caused safety concerns.
“At this time, we are working tirelessly to get flights scheduled and get everyone off of Great Exuma and home safely as quickly as we can,” it read. “We are working to place everyone on complimentary charters back to Miami today; this process has commenced and the safety and comfort of our guests is our top priority.
“The festival is being postponed until we can further assess if and when we are able to create the high-quality experience we envisioned. We ask for everyone’s patience and cooperation during this difficult time as we work as quickly and safely as we can to remedy this unforeseeable situation.”
The Bahama’s Ministry of Tourism also issued a statement saying it is aiding efforts to get attendees back to the U.S.
— The Bahamas (@VisitTheBahamas) April 28, 2017
Ja Rule tweeted he was working to ensure everyone is safe and gets a refund.
— Ja Rule (@jarule) April 28, 2017
Twitter users swiftly defended the Bahamas and hoped that the country’s tourism wouldn’t be impacted by an operation established by a private organization independent of the government.
The organizers of the #FyreFestival owe The Bahamas and the Bahamian people an apology for damaging our tourism brand. We need to sue.
— Francis K. Poitier (@FrancisPoitier) April 28, 2017
— Shauna Bain Smith (@sdotbain) April 28, 2017
— dannica (@longlivedannica) April 28, 2017
#FyreFestival the sad thing is the Brown People will get the blame; JaRule and Bahamas travel and tourism. Go find the scamming yt boy.
— Lady Dedlock (@keykeydoodle) April 28, 2017
Coming from a tourism-dependent country my heart hurts for The Bahamas in all this #fyrefestival mess, I really hope it doesn't hurt them
— Halfro Caribbean (@HalfroCarib) April 28, 2017
Many made fun of the wealthy white youths who spend money to go to an overseas music festival.
Rich guy on Twitter: your health/safety is not our responsibility
Rich guy at #FyreFestival: HELLO POLICE MY SANDWICH IS BAD SEND EVERYONE
— Dan Sheehan (@ItsDanSheehan) April 28, 2017
— ree (@queenree___) April 28, 2017