The first year of a boutique festival is notoriously hard for most organizers, but there might be no topping Fyre Festival's experience.
The event found its first break in the public eye through a major social media campaign that called upon the likes of famous celebrities like Kendall Jenner, Emily Ratajkowski, and Bella Hadid to post on Instagram, showing off the festival's beach paradise offerings. It had a price tag to match its glamour, selling tickets anywhere from $4,000 to $12,000, which included a chartered flight from Miami to the "private island", villas and access to a yacht.
The festival, organized by Ja Rule and Billy McFarland’s Fyre Media company, also came equipped with a music lineup, which boasted artists like Major Lazer, Disclosure, Skepta, Kaytranada and hip hop-tipped names like artists from Kanye's G.O.O.D. Music, Rae Sremmurd and more.
The bad news began when news of Blink-182, a scheduled headliner, cancelled their performance at the festival. "Regrettably, and after much careful and difficult consideration, we want to let you know that we won't be performing at Fyre Fest in the Bahamas this weekend and next weekend. We're not confident that we would have what we need to give you the quality of performances we always give fans," a statement on the band's Twitter explained.
It seems the band might've been onto something, as shortly after Twitter began to explode with live information from attendees that had just arrived at the supposed luxury escape, finding the bare minimum set-up in replacement of promised top-tier accommodations and amenities.
The first attendees to arrive were quick to spread the word about the dismal conditions and shortly after, incoming flights were cancelled immediately, including one that had already boarded passengers who were removed from the plane and told to "go home".
Users on a Reddit page dedicated to the event described disturbing unconfirmed "live" updates, explaining that security would not allow attendees back to their tents with their belongings (including expensive equipment like laptops and cameras) and other security members punched an attendee and stole his wallet.
Mixmag reached out to several artists listed on the lineup who had yet to depart for the show. Sources close to the festival explained that organizers were aware that essential festival production was uncompleted as close as four weeks out from the event.
Fyre Festival has since provided official instructions for attendees via their Instagram page, explaining that "things got off to an unexpected start at day one of Fyre Festival". All incoming flights to the Exumas site have been cancelled according to the post and tickets and any money uploaded to RFID bands will be refunded.
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.