As festival season is upon us, we see events become a pilgrimage for anyone and everyone, spanning from the humble music lover to the renowned rich and famous. It is quite common for people to attend events such as Coachella, Lollapalooza, and Burning Man not solely for the music, but alternatively to seek out and emulate the lifestyles of their famous idols. Dubbed the Coachella for the younger bourgeoisie, American rapper Ja Rule alongside mogul and entrepreneur Billy McFarland sought to re-create a more exclusive and luxurious festival targeted towards young adults pertaining to higher economic classes, thus creating the Fyre Festival.
Promoted by notable It-Girls such as Bella Hadid, Emily Ratajowski, and Kendall Jenner, Fyre promised to be a ritzy 2 weekend getaway on a private island boasted to have been once owned by Pablo Escobar. Ticket prices started at $1000 dollars to as much as $250,000 VIP packages. Included with these tickets would be five-star accommodation, extravagant wine and dining, and a lineup that promised: Skepta, Tyga, Pusha T, Blink 182, and G.O.O.D Music just to name a few.
Patrons were shocked to find the island accommodations to be less than sub par, as most tents had not yet been assembled, leaving many ticket holders without a bed nor shelter. Additionally, the food served resembled nothing pertaining to luxury and were merely plain sandwiches. This in return prompted many to label the debacle as “The Hunger Games” or “Lord of the Flies” as altercations and disarray flooded the scene when people began fighting for what little was left on the island.
Though arguably one of the worst festivals in music history, the music industry has seen its fair share of catastrophic events. To mention one, the historic Altamont Free concert back in December of 1969, saw the notorious motorcycle gang Hells Angels hired as security for the concert which only resulted in major altercations, anarchy and even a few deaths. Though Fyre is far from this level of severity, it can be seen as the Altamont of this generation.
People waited hours to be brought off the island, only to be stranded without their luggage at connecting airports. Though all parties involved have issued separate statements apologising for the occurrences, lawsuits have already been filed, citing breach of contract, fraud, negligent misrepresentation and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing.
This is not the first “elite” scheme that has fallen through for Ja Rule and McFarland, as in 2013 the duo launched the luxury credit card, Magnises, that sought to provide socialite perks for members. However, just like Fyre, customers have complained about the product lacking to provide what it promises, going as far as calling it a “glorified credit card that merely transferred the data from an existing card onto a piece of shiny metal”.
In all, many of the young elite were disappointed by the event that was being promoted as the festival of the year, promising exclusivity and extravagance, which in turn played out more accurately as the disaster of the season.
Written by Devon Potter