Fyre Festival Organizers Apologize for ‘Unacceptable’ Experience, Promise Refunds: What Went Wrong

Fyre Festival
 Getty Images

Fyre Festival organizers issued a lengthy apology on Saturday, April 29, to the fans who attended the disastrous, unorganized music event in the Bahamas, which was touted as a “once-in-a-lifetime musical experience.”

As previously reported, festivalgoers shelled out up to $12,780 and traveled to the Caribbean to enjoy what was supposed to be a luxury weekend, only to find themselves surrounded by mass disorganization, bland food and a half-built festival site. Many attendees spent hours trying to leave the island of Exumas at a small local airport on Thursday, April 27, after headliner Blink-182 canceled their scheduled gig. Some people even compared the hectic scene to The Hunger Games and Lord of the Flies.

“Yesterday was a very challenging day for all of us. But we would like to fully explain what happened,” Fyre Festival organizers said in a statement on the event’s website on Saturday morning.

Festival cofounders Billy McFarland and Ja Rule “simply weren’t ready for what happened next, or how big this thing would get,” the statement continued. “As amazing as the islands are, the infrastructure for a festival of this magnitude needed to be built from the ground up. So, we decided to literally attempt to build a city. We set up water and waste management, brought an ambulance from New York, and chartered 737 planes to shuttle our guests via 12 flights a day from Miami. We thought we were ready, but then everyone arrived.”

The coordinators said the team behind the festival “was overwhelmed” and blamed the “wind from rough weather” for the collapsed tents across the site. “This is an unacceptable guest experience and the Fyre team takes full responsibility for the issues that occurred,” they wrote. “Everyone was very concerned for our guests. They needed a place to sleep and everyone did their absolute best to rebuild. We took everyone to the beach and built as many tents and beds as fast as possible, but as more guests arrived, we were simply in over our heads.”

The organizers postponed the festival and sent thousands of disappointed attendees home. To make up for the failed experience, the Fyre team plans to host the festival “at a United States beach venue” in 2018 with the help of “more seasoned event experts,” according to Saturday’s statement.

“All festivalgoers this year will be refunded in full,” the statement continued. “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. … We need to make this right. And once we make this right, then we will put on the dream festival we sought to have since the inception of Fyre.”

The organizers concluded, “Thank you all for your continued patience and understanding. We apologize for what all of our guests and staff went through over the last 24 hours and will work tirelessly to make this right. Please check our official social media channels (@fyrefestival) for further important updates.”

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