Like being president, event organizing is a job that only looks easy to people who don’t know anything about what it takes. “All I need is lots of shameless promotion and the money will just roll right in!” Those poor misguided fools probably think to themselves. “It can’t be that hard, right?”
Well, yes, as it turns out, it is very hard. Just ask the people currently stranded in the Bahamas for Fyre Festival, which was supposed to be a luxury music festival co-created by Ja Rule, and has instead evolved into Stanford Prison Experiment-style real life reenactment of Lord Of The Flies.
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 N. Finley IV (@WNFIV) April 27, 2017
On the website (which, of course, is currently down) Fyre Festival promised to be an incredible two-weekend experience for the wealthy and Instagram obsessed. Guests were promised they would arrive on an exclusive private island that was once reportedly owned by Pablo Escobar; take in performances by Blink 182, Major Lazer and Migos; dine on gourmet cuisine “from some of the world’s most renowned chefs and mixologist talents;” sleep in “signature tents” and private villas; have brunch on rented yachts (although that will cost you extra); and participate in a scavenger hunt all across the island that boasted $1 million in prizes. And all for the low, low price of about $4,000 to $12,000 a head!
Oh, and did I mention that it was being promoted by supermodels?
Of course, there were hints that all was not well if you knew where to look. But the real trouble began yesterday when ticket holders arrived to an unfinished, empty campsite that was steps away from a Sandals Resort (so much for “exclusive”), populated by relief aid tents, and staffed by a mostly non-existent skeleton crew.
The food was… well, it was food!
And the service was … well.
The entire medical team is gone. THE MEDICAL TEAM. MISSING. pic.twitter.com/2vy23SF626— dylan (@DylanACOP) April 28, 2017
Then Blink 182 rightly cancelled:
And now they are apparently offering refunds to those who are still trapped on the island:
UPDATE: they are having us sign papers for full refunds. They are just pieces of computer paper but I mean…refunds pic.twitter.com/oNa8EIojl1— dylan (@DylanACOP) April 28, 2017
Oh, oh man, and this is my favorite part. This is like the sort of expository BS flavor text you find on the ground in a video game, and it’s real.
The Notebook: Fyre Festival edition. pic.twitter.com/gjUvDvUKhW— William N. Finley IV (@WNFIV) April 28, 2017
Fyre Festival organizers are calling this “growing pains that every first year event experiences,” and have cancelled all inbound charter flights to the island from here on out. Outbound flights, in the meantime, are few and far between — one airplane spent all night on the runway before passengers (who’d had no food or water at this point) were ushered off and back into a locked airport, where one man reportedly passed out.
Thankfully, we know at least one flight has made it back to Miami. But the damage is certainly already done.
So far, Ja Rule and the Fyre Fest organizers do not appear to have reached out to anyone for comment.
The truly schadenfreudic and internet-obsessed among us might be experiencing flashbacks to a similarly disastrous event called Dashcon, a fan-led Tumblr convention hosted in 2014, which quickly dissolved into chaos when the organizers could not pay the hotel, or their guests (who knew Blink 182 and the cast of Welcome To Night Vale would ever have something in common?) And just like Dashcon — which was populated mostly by over-eager teenagers — the disappointed and displaced guests of Fyre Festival simply had no idea what they were getting themselves into. Many of them were not entitled trust-fund kids (according to one person on the ground, some even bankrupted themselves to be there); they simply believed the lies and put trust in the wrong people, and now they’re much worse off because of it. Seems like there’s a lot of that going around, these days.