Inside Fyre Festival’s sublime meltdown: ‘It’s worse than a refugee camp’ [Updated]
There were many reasons for Fyre Festival hopefuls to get excited while booking their $13,000 travel packages. The fledgling festival’s site boasted chef-curated culinary pop ups, swanky geodesic cabanas on the beach, and luxury lodgings on 85′ yachts–a steal at $100,000. High profile influencers like Emily Ratajkowski and Bella Hadid had flown in to the Bahamas to consult on the sold-out festival’s upscale atmosphere. Celebrity organizer Ja Rule promised “madness.”
He wasn’t wrong.
In one of the most sublime meltdowns of recent memory, Fyre attendees arrived late Thursday night to find stacks of mattresses sitting in piles of trash, half assembled emergency disaster tents, local thugs looting luggage crates, accommodations “covered in rat shit,” and feral dogs roaming throughout the grounds. Still others failed to arrive at all as flights were cancelled hours after their scheduled departures from Miami International. Some passengers were forced to sweat out the anxiety on the Bahamanian tarmac for hours while government officials struggled to make sense of the festival’s apparently non existent game plan. Festival headliners have announced they’ll no longer play the festival as they haven’t even been paid. Unsettling footage has shown festival attendees being locked down inside facilities in conditions described as ”worse than a refugee camp.”
The US Embassy has offered to help stranded guests who are reporting they have been hamstrung without food, water, or adequate shelter. Guests have reported that in spite of some in attendance experiencing severe sunburn, dehydration, and heat stroke, the medical staff has vacated the premises.
Amidst the mayhem one thing was consistent; Festival staff were no where to be found.
— William N. Finley IV (@WNFIV) April 28, 2017
Within 24 hours of their arrival, attendees and social media savages have made international headlines and have laid out the strongest possible case for naming Fyre the worst festival of all time.
Guests had been told they would be staying on a “private island previously owned by Pablo Escobar.” The actual festival grounds turned out to be steps from a widely visited Sandals Resort on Great Exuma–an island with a population of several thousand.
— FyreFestivalFraud (@FyreFraud) March 29, 2017
New reports from guests highlight the festival’s “chef-driven” menu. Gourmet.
— Tr3vor (@trev4president) April 28, 2017
Video taken on the grounds showcases “luxury lodgings” and panoramic beach views on private tropical estate. Except those are mattresses, stacked on the ground in piles of trash.
— FyreFestivalFraud (@FyreFraud) April 27, 2017
Most bizarrely, attendees weren’t given their luggage until well after night fall. Reports continue to roll in that stranded attendees have seen their luggage looted by local thugs.
— William N. Finley IV (@WNFIV) April 28, 2017
The villas that guests were promised appear to be literal disaster relief tents–the same kind used in Haiti earthquake relief efforts.
— Olivia Bannock (@OliviaIvey) April 17, 2017
A particularly concerning tweet from an attendee shows numerous guests being locked inside of a building with no food or water.
— Lamaan (@LamaanGallal) April 28, 2017
The festival has released a statement on Instagram and on their website in response to the calamity, urging guests on the island not to arrange travel home:
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. We ask that guests currently on-island do not make their own arrangements to get to the airport as we are coordinating those plans. 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 Bahamanian government has also issued an apology and is working to accommodate stranded guests.
— The Bahamas (@VisitTheBahamas) April 28, 2017
Update [14:00 PM EST, 4/28/2017]: One citizen journalist on the ground snapped photos of guests being asked to sign what appear to be legal papers in exchange for bus trip and airfare accommodations home in addition to their alleged ticket refunds.
By all confirmed accounts event security was poorly equipped to deal with the mayhem on the ground and SWAT teams arrived shortly after. Statements from festival organizers indicate that Bahamanian government was eager to shut the festival down once the unsafe conditions on the ground gained social media traction. The government has since issued a statement.
Update [14:23 PM EST, 4/28/2017]:
Artists and organizers are starting to speak out about the events. Dancing Astronaut spoke exclusively with Zero Founder, Richard Hooban who had organized a stage at the star crossed festival. Said Hooban:
“Zero organized the best stage that never happened… But it’s all true.
Daniel Cowel played the first and only set of the festival. Halfway through, the Bahamian government called the festival off and forced the music to stop. I told Daniel to keep playing and he did, but the sound was turned off.
I thought ‘this is crazy!’ At least give these poor people music and a chance to escape from the chaos and cancelled festival.”
DA will continue to update on the situation at Fyre Festival as new information becomes available.