Attendees seem to have had a terrible time at Fyre Fest, the disastrous Bahaman music festival that turned out to be a shoddily produced fiasco that had to be canceled a few hours in. But gawkers on the internet have subsequently had a great time mocking the chaos on social media.
With ticket prices ranging from $450 to $12,000 (not counting upgrades), and some ticket levels reportedly topping out at a $250,000 group rate, Fyre Fest was sold as a lavishly produced luxury vacation held over two weekends on a “private island once owned by Pablo Escobar” in the Exumas district of the Bahamas. There, attendees could attend concerts from headlining artists Blink 182 and Tyga.
Co-founded by Ja Rule and promoted heavily on Instagram and Twitter by a litany of supermodels, Kendall Jenner, and other low-level celebrities, the festival advertised glitzy perks like VIP tents on the beach, each complete with luxury king beds, gourmet meals prepared by celebrity chefs, and a VIP jet party. The festival boasted that attendees could also stay in “modern geodesic domes” or on yachts just off the shore.
Despite early rumblings that the fest had run out of money and artists were not being paid, a nebulous, vague list of performers that seemed to change from moment to moment, alleged weird behavior from promoters, and changing last-minute itineraries, the festival was supposed to be in full swing by Thursday. And to some extent, it was:
From the moment we stepped off our planes in the exumas we had Instagram models dancing around and pouring tequila into our mouths— dylan (@DylanACOP) April 28, 2017
But what the hardy travelers found when they got to the Exumas was a chaotic nightmare of misinformation, disorganization, and apparent fraud.
The “private” island turned out to be a small wedge of public island right next to a Sandals resort. Staff was inadequate or missing altogether, while performing artists didn’t show up. “The disorganization consumed me,” one attendee wrote. Headliner Blink 182 canceled on Thursday. The gourmet food turned out to be cafeteria-level or worse. The bar had no beer. The security lockers had no locks. And the “modern geodesic domes” and “luxury tents” were soggy, wet disaster-relief tents.
The "gourmet cuisine" this weekend was included in the ticket cost. We are being fed salads and ham and cheese sandwiches out of this tent pic.twitter.com/MRv7U0RiyM— dylan (@DylanACOP) April 28, 2017
I'm out here at #fyrefestival and some guy found a conch shell and blew into it and everybody is listening to him— Juicero Investor (@Robbie_gr) April 28, 2017
As guests arrived, assessed the damage, and quickly left again in droves (or retreated nearby), the overwhelmed Exuma authorities delayed some outgoing flights for hours, reportedly locking in some frustrated travelers trying to return to their destinations.
Meanwhile, the official Fyre Fest organization steadily melted down over the course of Thursday, ultimately canceling all incoming flights to the festival due to “overcapacity” on the island — meaning that some delayed flights into the Bahamas were halted literally on the runway.
The entire festival was ultimately canceled on Friday amid mounting ridicule — or rather, “fully postponed.”
Due to unforeseen and extenuating circumstances, Fyre Festival has been fully postponed (con't)— Fyre Festival (@fyrefestival) April 28, 2017
After assessing the situation this morning and looking at best options for our guests, we cannot move forward as we hoped we could (con't)— Fyre Festival (@fyrefestival) April 28, 2017
For social media gawkers, Fyre Fest is a dream come true
Onlookers have almost universally greeted the Fyre Fest fiasco as a hilarious morality tale. It’s a perfect storm of scorn, featuring rich millennials, bad investments, and marketing schemes gone haywire in a kind of international tourist comeuppance.
And granted, some attendees contribute to this narrative without even trying:
However, other attendees have cautioned that things aren’t that simple, and that the fest-goers who will be most hurt by Fyre Fest were the ones who don’t fit the stereotype.
And all of the people here who are younger, myself included, really busted their asses and scraped the barrel to pay to be here.— dylan (@DylanACOP) April 28, 2017
I met a boy, HERE BY HIMSELF, who literally told me that this trip bankrupt him. And he paid bottom tier GA just like me. Absolutely sad.— dylan (@DylanACOP) April 28, 2017
But for most internet spectators, the event has turned into an opportunity to bask in the schadenfreude of seeing the proverbial “rich kids of Instagram” get duped.
more tricks on rich people like this please https://t.co/NDJFoxZ7Cc— Jessica Roy (@JessicaKRoy) April 28, 2017
Most of us only dream of putting the wealthy in a gulag, Comrade Ja has actually gone and done it #fyrefestival— netflix & phil ☭ (@PaleCompanion) April 28, 2017
The manner in which the foolish were lured to their doom is also too mythical to go without commentary.
.@WNFIV So to recap? Some Instagram kids just paid between $450 & +$12k... to be stranded... in a tropical tent city. Cuz some models told them to.— Iron Spike (@Iron_Spike) April 28, 2017
I think one striking thing about #fyrefestival is models on Instagram luring partygoers to their doom like modern-day sirens— Rachel Jane Andelman (@rajandelman) April 28, 2017
i don't understand, beautiful women luring you with music toward an island has always worked out well in the past— Ariana Lenarsky (@aardvarsk) April 28, 2017
Many have compared the scene to 2014’s notorious geek festival gone wrong, Dashcon, which infamously offered duped fans “an extra hour in the ball pit” to make amends for a massively botched convention:
But mostly, people just want to laugh at the gullible and use Ja Rule as a symbol of class tension:
We've just confirmed the GoFundMe for #fyrefestival is a scam, but Doctors Without Borders is there on the ground now with avocado toast.— Jacob B McCarthy (@ExLuxTenebris) April 28, 2017
In reality, Ja Rule appears to have been nowhere on the grounds at the fest, though he eventually did apologize, vaguely, by insisting none of it was his fault:
Meanwhile, the Bahaman Ministry of Tourism has issued an official statement declaring that it was “disappointed” visitors to Exuma had such a terrible time.
Oh well: Maybe Fyre Fest 2018 will be a different story.