Every music festival runs the risk of things going wrong. Bands may cancel, venues may have issues, and food vendors may not arrive, but in the grand scheme of things, that’s just small potatoes to what’s happened at Ja Rule’s luxury Fyre Festival yesterday. Scheduled to take place over this weekend in the island of Great Exuma in the Bahamas, the festival has descended into chaos on its first day, with some fans labelling the event a complete “shit show”.

As Pitchfork reports, the festival, whose price tag for a weekend ticket could run you between $1,000 to $12,000 USD, was off to a bad start as the first ticket-holders trickled in, being exposed to an unfinished campsite. To make matters worse, one of the festival’s headliners, Blink-182, cancelled their appearance at the festival, claiming that they doubted they could give “the quality of performances we always give fans”.

Things were far from being over though, as supposedly private planes (which turned out to be chartered flights) that were supposed to depart from Miami, Florida for the festival were grounded, with airline representatives telling these stranded passengers that the island was over capacity. However, festival-goers who did manage to get to the island are probably envious of those who didn’t, with organisers poorly handling luggage, and discovering that the ‘luxury accomodation’ which was promised turned out to be strikingly similar to tents constructed during disaster-relief efforts.

As Vice reports, the festival was produced as a joint venture between Ja Rule and Billy McFarland, founder of credit card company Magnises. In addition to a lineup which featured the aforementioned Blink-182, acts such as Desiigner and Tyga were announced, alongside activities such as jet-ski rentals and swimming with pigs.

The festival’s website has now been changed to feature a statement from the organising team, stating that much of the issues were out of their hands. “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,” it reads.

“At this time, we are working tirelessly to get flights scheduled and get everyone off of Great Exuma and home safely as quickly as we can. We ask that guests currently on-island do not make their own arrangements to get to the airport as we are coordinating those plans. We are working to place everyone on complimentary charters back to Miami today; this process has commenced and the safety and comfort of our guests is our top priority.”

The statement also reads that the festival has been postponed, until “until we can further assess if and when we are able to create the high- quality experience we envisioned.”

At this stage, you can imagine festival-goers are pretty bitter about the whole debacle, and rightly so. Let’s just hope that other festivals can learn from this and that we don’t see another failure of this magnitude in the future.

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