Promoters of a planned exclusive music festival on a small island in the Bahamas cancelled the event at the last minute Friday after many attendees had already arrived and paid thousands of dollars for tickets.
“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,” said a statement announcing the event’s cancellation.
Organizers of the Fyre Festival promoted it as a “once-in-a-lifetime musical event” on a remote island “once owned by Pablo Escobar,” the infamous Colombian drug lord.
Revelers paid between $450 and $12,000 for tickets to the two-weekend festival and were expecting to arrive and find sun and luxury. When the first guests reached the island Thursday, though, they found a festival site in disarray and none of the things that were promised.
Social media posts from people on the island showed the luxury accommodations they paid for were actually small tents, some of which were still in boxes. The gourmet catering promised by organizers turned out to be “literally bread, cheese, and salad with dressing,” one person wrote.
In a statement released Friday, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism said it was “extremely disappointed” at the way organizers handled the event and said it had representatives at the festival site assisting people as they try and get home.
“The event organizers assured us that all measures were taken to ensure a safe and successful event but clearly they did not have the capacity to execute an event of this scale,” the statement said.
Organizers said they were trying to arrange charter flights to Miami for people that had already arrived on the island and officials in the Bahamas cancelled all inbound flights to the island.