When a captivating video touting a chance to experience ‘the best in food, art, music, and adventure’ on a remote cay in the Bahamas circulated on social media in January, plenty of people paid attention. Promoted to partygoers with deep pockets, the Fyre Festival promised “two transformative weekends” to a limited number of participants who were willing and able to shell out big bucks for an experience “on the boundaries of the impossible.” Now a lot of people want their money back.
The promotional Fyre Festival clip used the fact that the secluded islet upon which “something that is hard to put into words” would happen once belonged to the late Pablo Escobar as a selling point. The narrator calmly assures potential partygoers that “the actual experience exceeds all expectations.”
Festival attendee Brett Linkletter said that everything that could go wrong did go wrong. He and his friends expected to see Blink 182, Migos, Major Lazer, and other musical acts while exploring tropical splendor on a grand scale. Instead, they and plenty of other perturbed partiers found themselves living The Hunger Games in “sketchy little tents held up with pipes.” The Laguna Beach native, whose great-grandfather was 20th century TV personality Art Linkletter, described the chaotic and ill-fated island event to People magazine.
“Someone even lit their tent on fire because they were so pissed. From a girl’s perspective, it’s kind of sketchy because the tents don’t lock up, they’ve very janky, everyone’s drunk — it’s just not a safe environment at all. Not to mention, they had these little makeshift lockers every 100 yards or so; people were kicking them in, and they fell over. It wasn’t even a real thing. It was insane. I didn’t get anything stolen and none of my friends did, but I could totally see that happening.”
According to numerous verifiable reports, nobody who showed up for the party got what they paid for. In fact, many people took one look at the festival site and headed back to the airport. Festival headliner Blink 182 cancelled their scheduled appearance just days before the event some now describe as a scene from Lord of the Flies, explained the San Diego Gay and Lesbian News.
Several hundred well-heeled partygoers paid as much as $250,000 for VIP admittance to what they expected to be the luxury concert experience of the decade. Eye-pleasing celebs such as Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, and Hailey Baldwin hyped the Fyre Festival, and tickets soon sold out. Taylor Ghrist paid $10,000 for a VIP wristband that, as he tearfully outlined in a YouTube video blog, merited him nothing but a hellish experience on Exuma island where he and other concertgoers were fed cheese and bread that wasn’t even toasted. Fellow festival attendee Trevor DeHaas shared an actual pic of the less-than-gourmet cuisine foisted upon disappointed concertgoers.
— Trevor DeHaas (@trev4president) April 28, 2017
How to get your money back
If you were one of those allegedly flimflammed by the promoters of the Fyre Festival fiasco, you may be wondering how to get your money back. Shortly after it became clear that Fyre Media co-founders Ja Rule and Billy McFarland were not going to throw the “party of a lifetime,” Ja Rule tweeted a dubious apology in which he denied the event was a scam and accepted zero culpability for the chaotic events on Exuma cay.
— Ja Rule (@Ruleyork) April 28, 2017
Didn’t get the refund form? You might want to call a lawyer
At least one disappointed festival attendee is suing Fyre Media for breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation, breach of covenant of good faith, and other legal no-nos. Represented by California attorney Mark Geragos, Daniel Jung seeks $5 million in damages from the promoters as well as from the glamorous models who touted the trip in the Fyre Festival promotional video. Geragos anticipates at least 150 additional litigants will join the class action lawsuit. The country of the Bahamas may also file suit against festival promoters for unpaid import taxes, reports Consequence of Sound.
Documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on April 30 describe dangerously inadequate conditions at the festival site:
“Lack of adequate food, water, shelter, and medical care created a dangerous and panicked situation among attendees suddenly finding themselves stranded on a remote island without basic provisions. That was closer to The Hunger Games or Lord of the Flies than Coachella.
“Faced with the complete lack of even the most basic amenities, as well as no assistance from Defendants, festival attendees began to panic. Predictably, attendees began attempting to leave the island en masse, but found themselves trapped, even locked inside an airport awaiting delayed flights.”
The festival website announced that all ticket holders would receive a form via email with which to request a refund. Refund options include return of monies paid or a two-for-one VIP deal for an anticipated 2018 Fyre Festival. At the time of this writing, the Fyre Festival website is offline. If you have not received the official refund form, you may find legal remedy through other means.
A bit about Exuma, Bahamas
The Bahamian district of Exuma comprises numerous small islands, or cays. The relatively undeveloped island cluster provided plentiful scenery in the James Bond cinematic thriller Thunderball. Easily accessed from Nassau, the Exuma cays are home to hundreds of wild swimming pigs.
[Featured Image by Bearacreative/AP Images]