NORMAN’S CAY, BAHAMAS
On first blush, it appeared festival organizers Billy McFarland and rapper Ja Rule were merely in over their heads. They promoted a big music festival in a faraway location without planning for adequate infrastructure. Closer examination revealed early warning signs. The Fyre Festival was billed as a luxury event on a private island formerly owned by Pablo Escobar. The island booked was not private, and Escobar never owned an island in the Bahamas. Just a few days before the festival, many performer slots were still billed TBA while one of three headliners, Major Lazer, was actually booked in Texas. Another headliner, Blink-182, pulled out two days before opening night. Festival-goers paid up to $250,000 apiece for luxury villas and gourmet meals that turned out to be refugee tents in a gravel lot with cold cheese sandwiches served in styrofoam, leading some media wags to label the event “Hunger Games for rich people.” The event was cancelled the day before, but many fans had already arrived. Class action lawsuits began with one for $100 million led by celebrity lawyer Mark Geragos, and the duo has been banned from holding another festival in the Bahamas. Top “influencer” Kendall Jenner, who was reportedly paid $250,000 to plug Fyre on Instagram, may also be in hot water for running afoul of federal regulations that require individuals to disclose when they are being paid for their endorsements.