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Festival-goers paid up to $49,000 for Ja Rule's bash in the Bahamas, and got chaos instead

  • Fyre Festival was supposed to be a picture-perfect music festival and "a departure from the familiar." Tickets ranged from $450 to $49,000 per person.
  • Instead, festivalgoers say, the event had subpar accommodations and food, and performers have cancelled. Many claim they are stranded in the Bahamas.

People who paid for a "luxury" concert called Fyre Festival in the Bahamas that cost up to $49,000 a ticket are angry that the pop-up tents, band cancellations and sliced bread with cheese are not what they expected.

The Fyre Festival was billed as "your secret hideaway in the Exumas" and "a departure from the familiar" in Great Exhuma, Bahamas. The supposedly high-end festival was put together by Fyre Media, which was co-founded by rapper Ja Rule (real name is Jeffrey Atkins) and tech entrepreneur Billy McFarland. Artists including Blink 182, Migos, Lil Yachty, Matoma, Claptone, and Le Youth were scheduled to perform.

With many wanting picture-perfect experiences to share on social media, some were willing to pay top dollar. Tickets cost up to $49,000 per person, according to the website, a price which included round-trip flights from Miami to the festival, staying on a VIP Island with performers, backstage access and entrances, and a dinner with an artist. Day passes started at $450.

The event was heavily promoted with highly produced Instagram and Twitter imagery featuring models like Bella Hadid and Emily Ratajkowski, although the website did note the pictures and videos were "conceptual" and "the actual site layout may vary."

"This is a world of surreal experiences and inspired curiosity that touches the sweet spot between imagination and possibility," said a statement on the website, which has since been replaced with an apology. "A place where the tropical sun shines all day, and our celebrations ignite the night. This is an invitation to unplug, connect with something deeper, and hunt for something bigger."

But, festival goers are saying the reality was very different.

Reddit users claimed instances of looting and theft, as well as being kicked out of their accommodations.

The Fyre Festival Team posted an apology on its website saying "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." The team is working on getting flights to get people off the island and to Miami, and is postponing the festival until a later date, they added.

However, some festivalgoers on Twitter said authorities have chained the doors of the local airport to prevent people from leaving.

The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism said on Twitter it was "extremely disappointed" in the way Fyre Festival was organized, and apologized to tourists. It reiterated it was not an official sponsor of the event, but its Ministry of Tourism lent support to the organizers.

Ja Rule said in a statement on Twitter he was "heartbroken" over how the event turned out, and stated the event was "NOT A SCAM," as well as "NOT MY FAULT."