Fyre Festival failed to live up to its most modest expectations. Now the ambitious organizers face a $100 million lawsuit.
What a train wreck. When music lovers across the country signed up to attend the Fyre Festival, they expected a weekend full of partying and fun they wouldn’t soon forget. What they got, however, was a bitter disappointment. The festival was so disappointing that a class action lawsuit was filed Monday, May 2, seeking an attention-grabbing $100 million from the organizers.
Florida-based entrepreneur Billy McFarland and rapper Ja Rule founded Fyre Media Inc in 2015. The company originated as a talent booking app. After seeing modest success early, McFarland and Ja Rule got a little ambitious. They began planning a luxury music festival in the Bahamas. Thanks to exceptional advertising and marketing, the show seemed like it would be a success.
Here is a glimpse of what the festival goers believed they were signing up for:
In addition to the over-the-top advertisements, Fyre also booked some well-known artists. Among them were Tyga, Blink-182 and Major Lazer. Festival goers were also promised a luxury all-inclusive trip: top-notch lodging and world-class food in a breathtaking destination.
On their website, Fyre bragged about its high quality food, saying “Fyre is tirelessly working with a variety of local and international chefs to create a one-of-a-kind culinary experience for all our guests.”
For all the hype, festival lovers forked over anywhere between $450 and $12,000 for their premium tickets. Most tickets fell into the $4,000-$5,000 range. For a price like that, it was hard to imagine the weekend could be anything short of spectacular.
Fyre was great at convincing people they would have a fun time, but they failed miserably at following through. Attendees could tell from the get-go something was off. The tents and lodging were incredibly cheap, the concerts weren’t set up yet, and no one who worked at the festival seemed to know how to check people in.
As it quickly became clear the festival wasn’t going live up to the hype, people took to social media en masse. Here are some of the best tweets from the Fyre Festival to give you an idea:
— Lamaan (@LamaanElGallal) April 28, 2017
— ISABEL VENTO (@ISAVENTO) April 28, 2017
— 👌🏻Garrett Garner🎺 (@garrettgarner12) April 28, 2017
— FyreFestivalFraud (@FyreFraud) April 27, 2017
The company was scrambling to deliver on all of its promises during the weeks leading up to the festival. They fell short dramatically, however.
Visitors to the ‘exotic’ island wanted to return home but could not book an airplane. The lack of readily available planes forced guest to remain in the airport for up to 24 hours. Soon after the weekend, Billy McFarland tried to enact some damage control by offering guests their money back. “All festival goers this year will be refunded in full. We will be working on refunds over the next few days and will be in touch directly with guests with more details. Also, all guests from this year will have free VIP passes to next year’s festival.”
There’s more, though. The email sent to everyone who paid offered them a refund, but it also says you can forgo repayment and get a free VIP pass to the Fyre Festival in 2018. Fyre hasn’t declared the next festival’s destination, but they were reportedly banned from doing business in the Bahamas.
For many, the refund wasn’t enough. High-ranking lawyers across the country scrambled to file the lawsuit on behalf of all attendees. Ben Meiselas from California filed first one Monday for a shocking $100 million.
The Fyre Festival sparked a hilarious stream of social media posts. Here are some of our favorites so far:
— ChUnKy🍑 (@CutieeKellss) April 30, 2017
— Nikeya Wilson (@DJNikNak24769) April 29, 2017
— ari🌹 (@ilaysah) April 29, 2017
What do you think of the Fyre Festival? Let us know in the comments!