Fyre Festival Fiasco: Luxury Music Experience Turns Into Vacation Nightmare
ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:
It was supposed to be an exclusive luxury music festival on a tropical island. Instead it became a target of ridicule and a social media feeding frenzy.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
The brand new Fyre Festival - that's F-Y-R-E - was supposed to be held this weekend and next in the Bahamas. Major Lazer, Ja Rule and Blink-182 were scheduled to perform.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
SHAPIRO: The promotional video showed famous models on jet skis by day, pounding music by night. But when guests arrived yesterday, this is what they found.
SETH CROSSNO: It looked like a disaster relief area. There were just tents everywhere. It's, like, if you had gone on that island, you would think, oh, this is a festival that'll be ready in about a month.
SHAPIRO: That's Seth Crossno of Raleigh, N.C. He says he spent around $4,000 to attend, and he was there about two hours before he knew he had to leave.
CROSSNO: There was no coordination. There was nobody in charge. There was no signage. There was nothing. And you just get dropped on this island.
CORNISH: After 11 hours, Crossno was among the first attendees to make it back to Miami. Others never made it to the island at all. Flights were canceled. In retrospect, maybe those people were the lucky ones. Janan Buisier of Dallas returned to Miami this morning, too.
JANAN BUISIER: You're promised safety. You're promised to be taken care of. You're promised an experience of a lifetime. And yes, it was quite the experience but not in a positive way.
CORNISH: Buisier spent more than $1,300 to go to the festival. She said at first, she and her friends wanted to make the best of a bad situation.
BUISIER: But then we saw how it started getting dangerous.
CORNISH: She says there wasn't enough security or electricity or lights or food. She's worried about the people who are still at the festival site. When she left last night, it looked like more than a thousand people were still there.
SHAPIRO: Festival organizers didn't respond to our request for comment. A statement on their website says in part, (reading) Fyre Festival set out to provide a once-in-a-lifetime musical experience. Due to circumstances out of our control, the physical infrastructure was not in place on time, and we are unable to fulfill on that vision safely and enjoyably for our guests. At this time, we're working tirelessly to get everyone home safely as quickly as we can.
CORNISH: The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism called the festival total disorganization and chaos and said they've sent a team to help people get home.
SHAPIRO: Social media reveled in the implosion. Twitter called it a luxury party that turned into "The Hunger Games."
CORNISH: Comedian Mike Drucker wrote, Fyre Festival is an art installation where mediocre people realize what their lives would be like without rich parents.
SHAPIRO: And Elle magazine columnist R. Eric Thomas wrote, I almost feel bad for enjoying it so much, but then I remember that schadenfreude is an important part of a healthy breakfast.
CORNISH: This was supposed to be the first of two weekends of the festival. The second weekend has been canceled.
(SOUNDBITE OF DJ MAKO SONG, "ASH") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.