The tragic trajectory of Fyre Festival erupted Thursday, April 27, but the smoldering embers of its wreckage are far from extinguished. For the past several days, estival founders Billy McFarland and Ja Rule have been on a publicized damage control campaign for their Bahamian blunder; the former promised there would be makeup dates at a new location for attendees in 2018, while the latter claimed yesterday, April 30, that all guests have been extended the form to apply for a refund.
Relieved to share that all guest are safe, and have been sent the form to apply for a refund. Our deepest apologies… #fyrefestival
— Ja Rule (@Ruleyork) April 30, 2017
However, the unprecedentedly poor execution of the festival surpasses the standard necessities for a PR recovery. At best, Fyre has quickly earned a reputation for being the most dramatic gaffe in recent event production, while at worst, it’s been labeled as the most egregious scam since the dawn of music festivals.
Whether Ja Rule and McFarland were deliberately fraudulent or irreparably underprepared in their endeavor, the end result of their shoddily-composed “luxury” festival led onlookers and attendees who had paid thousands of dollars for the weekend to widely liken the situation to Lord of the Flies, The Hunger Games, and a “disaster zone.”
— William N. Finley IV (@WNFIV) April 28, 2017
Now, these unflattering allusions have transcended from informal dialogues into the courtroom.
Variety reports that lawyer Mark Geragos filed a lawsuit on April 30 on behalf of his client, Daniel Jung, which seeks “$5 million in damages for alleged fraud, breach of contract, breach of covenant of good faith and negligent misrepresentation.”
Reportedly, Geragos intends for the suit to reach class action status to represent 150 plaintiffs, seeking a minimum of $100 million. The attorney’s suit alleges the following:
“[Fyre] festival’s lack of adequate food, water, shelter, and medical care created a dangerous and panicked situation among attendees — suddenly finding themselves stranded on a remote island without basic provisions — that was closer to ‘The Hunger Games’ or ‘Lord of the Flies’ than Coachella.”
Given the vast number of attendees who feel defrauded by the disparity between the festival’s glamorous advertising and refugee camp-echoing reality after paying between $1,000 and $125,000 for one of the festival’s various tiers of packages, it seems practically inevitable that Geragos will swiftly succeed in accruing the 150 plaintiffs he seeks to join the suit.
Via Variety, Plaintiff Daniel Jung states that “festival-goers survived on bare rations, little more than bread and a slice of cheese, and tried to escape the elements in the only shelter provided by Defendants: small clusters of ‘FEMA tents,’ exposed on a sand bar, that were soaked and battered by wind and rain.”
Variety also notes the possibility of the Bahamian government – who provided an official apology for the quandary of the event – joining in on the lawsuit, citing a TMZ report which states that the country “stands to lose out on millions with the festival being called off … and tourism officials are devastated.”
Geragos’ suit also makes claims regarding the dangerous, captive state which attendees were put into by Fyre Festival:
“Faced with the complete lack of even the most basic amenities, as well as no assistance from Defendants, festival attendees began to panic. Predictably, Attendees began attempting to leave the island en masse, but found themselves trapped—even locked inside an airport awaiting delayed flights.
“[Efforts to escape] were hamstrung by their reliance upon Defendants for transportation, as well as by the fact that Defendants promoted the festival as a ‘cashless’ event—Defendants instructed attendees to upload funds to a wristband for use at the festival rather than bringing any cash. As such, Attendees were unable to purchase basic transportation on local taxis or busses, which accept only cash. As a result … at least one attendee suffered a medical emergency and lost consciousness after being locked inside a nearby building with other concert-goers waiting to be airlifted from the island.”
Read Variety’s full report here.