I’m not rich. I’ve never really “influenced” anything. And my desire to see Migos live is about the size of a small hamster. So for all intents and purposes, I really had no business being at Fyre Fest. The festival was Ja Rule’s (yes, that Ja Rule) brainchild. The Bahamas was supposed to play host to an ultra-luxe weekend getaway for the young and the wealthy.
In the weeks leading up to the festival, there were murmurs that organizers were “in over their heads”. Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid — just two of the models who helped promote Fyre Fest on Instagram — went silent. An entire Twitter account devoted to exposing the festival as a fraud warned travelers that they were being duped as early as February.
So when I was offered a chance to go to Fyre Fest, my curiosity overruled my skepticism. I wanted to see the kind of people who would pay $12,000 for a weekend of Blink 182 on the beach. Hell, maybe I’d even meet the band. If turned out to be a total shit show, well, at least I had a great story.
If you’ve checked social media in the past 24 hours, you probably know that “shit show” is a polite way of describing what Fyre Fest devolved into. The festivalgoers who arrived Thursday were greeted with chaos. The geodesic domes that were promised as accommodations looked like discarded FEMA tents. The gourmet cuisine looked like bad cafeteria food (and that’s an insult to bad cafeteria food). Charter flights from Miami to Exumas were either delayed or cancelled altogether. Headliners pulled out and, of course, Kendall and Bella were nowhere to be seen. They’ve also deleted all mention of Fyre Fest from their social media accounts, which seems like a bad sign. The glamorous, yacht-dotted paradise that was promised looked like a dystopian hellscape.
I am happy to report that I did not go to Fyre Fest. Just six hours before my scheduled flight to Miami, I got a frantic call from a publicist: “DO NOT GET ON THAT PLANE!” she said. “They don’t want media there anymore.” After checking Twitter, it was easy to see why. The festival was eventually cancelled and the Bahamian government issued the following statement: “We are extremely disappointed in the way the events unfolded yesterday with Fyre Festival.”
While there’s a faint disappointment that I won’t be drinking a Mai Tai along shimmering water this weekend, I’m relieved and, frankly, not the least bit surprised that Fyre Fest was a sham all along. A week before I was scheduled to depart, I received an email notifying me that my accommodations had been “upgraded” from a luxury villa to a luxury cruise liner, equipped with Wifi, a fully stocked bar and, yes, even air conditioning! This is what the boat looks like. Their spin was transparent and just one in a series of peculiar emails I received leading up to the festival.
The one thing I am surprised about is the degree to which they failed. No one said running a music festival is easy, especially not one with these kinds of logistics. But seriously. In an era when news spreads across the globe in a matter of seconds, did the organizers really think they could mess up this bad and no one would notice? Do better, Ja.