Ultra-Wealthy Young Concertgoers Duped, Stranded and Growing Hungry on an Island in the Bahamas

It was billed as an Instagram-worthy luxury festival in the Bahamas – but the supposedly glamorous Fyre festival seems to be anything but.


Tickets for the festival, which was co-organised by the rapper Ja Rule, cost up to $12,780 for a luxury four-person package. Festivalgoers were promised “a cultural moment created from a blend of music, art and food”.

Ticketholders have called Fyre festival a “complete disaster”, saying the tents were half-built and the luxury food also failed to meet with their expectations. Now, some are stranded in the Bahamas.

Overnight, reports came in over social media from disappointed festivalgoers who expected an event to rival the ever-popular Coachella in California. Among them was the writer William N Finley, who paid for an artist’s pass:

He told the Guardian: “In the week leading up to it some things seemed like they weren’t as advertised. We gave them the benefit of the doubt and figured they’d pull things together before we got there.

“And we were dead wrong. It was chaos. No organisation, no one was in charge, there was just a line and no one knew what to do.”

Some at the festival, including Finley, are attempting to leave the site but have reported long waits.

Blink-182 was to headline the festival, but pulled out on Thursday as the reports of chaos at the campsite rolled in:

On Instagram, the festival’s organisers wrote: “Things got off to an unexpected start at day one of Fyre festival.”

They added all inbound flights to the Exumas had been cancelled “due to circumstances beyond [their] control”.

Things got off to an unexpected start at day one of Fyre Festival. FOR THOSE CURRENTLY ON GREAT EXUMA We are working to comfortably accommodate guests and deliver a great experience. If you have needs, please head to the "BLUE HOUSE" on the main festival site. Security, first aid, and Fyre Festival staff are here to assist immediately, 24/7. FOR THOSE WITH PENDING TRAVEL TO THE EXUMAS TOMORROW Due to circumstances beyond our control, and in line with a culture of safety, all inbound charter flights to the Exumas have been canceled. Your ticket and any funds uploaded to your RFID band will be refunded. Thank you for bearing with us as we work through the growing pains that every first year event experiences. Revised itinerary information will be shared soon for the remainder of this weekend and weekend two.

A post shared by FYRE FESTIVAL (@fyrefestival) on

The official Twitter account for the Bahamas released a statement addressing the controversy, saying: “We are extremely disappointed in the way the events unfolded yesterday with the Fyre Festival.”

Fyre festival was set up by Fyre Media, a startup run by Ja Rule and the US tech entrepreneur Billy McFarland.

In December, it was promoted by a slew of models on Instagram, showcasing what Fyre would have to offer. All the social media buzz from these “influencers” and Instagram models meant general admission tickets sold out before the music lineup was released.

The price of a ticket ranged from $450 for a day pass to $3,995 for “curated tented accommodation”. Some packages included chartered flights to the Exumas from Miami.

According to Vanity Fair, McFarland and Ja Rule paid more than 400 social media influencers to plug the festival, which is set to be held over the next two weekends. None of them have yet commented on the posts now coming from the festival site.

While it had a buzz on the web, according to reports earlier this month, organisation of the festival was not going so well. Page Six reported concerns that the organisers were “out of their league” as they had not yet seen pictures of the luxury villas promised on site. At the beginning of April, the Wall Street Journal reported delays to paying artists scheduled to perform at the festival.

  • This article was amended on 28 April 2017 to clarify the prices of the tickets.
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