Fyre Festival: When a $12,000 luxury festival turns into chaos

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BAHAMAS — If you turned up at the Fyre Festival wooed by its ads — and many, many fans did — you’d think you were in for a weekend of top-notch acts playing for your entertainment, as models in bikinis paraded around and private jets and yachts ferried you to and from the beautiful Caribbean paradise. Everything any good millennial needs for a strong Instagram post.

The reality, however, has been anything but.

Those who shelled out up to $12,780 for the luxury weekend in the Exumas found themselves Thursday treated to mass disorganization, half-built tents, feral dogs, and catered food that was little more than limp cheese sandwiches.

Oh, and no beer.

“We just realized it was all a complete cluster and nothing was ready, there was no organization, there was no leadership,” said William Finley, from Raleigh, North Carolina.

He and three friends spent $8,000 to attend the festival. But when they arrived, they found the housing was just unmarked tents, and they struggled to figure out where their luggage had been taken.

“It was horrible, (like) summer camp. Everything about it was a sham.”

Not long after arriving, Finley and many other travelers went back to the airport in an attempt to leave the festival early. But there they were greeted by crowds of frustrated festival-goers with similar ideas.

Blink-182, the planned headliner of the event, canceled its appearance.

“We’re not confident that we would have what we need to give you the quality of performances we always give our fans,” the band said.

Festival organizers said in an Instagram post that things “got off to an unexpected start.”

All inbound charter flights to the island have been canceled, tickets refunded, and the event has been postponed, the festival said.

“Thank you for bearing with us as we work through the growing pains that every first-year event experiences,” organizers said.

The Bahamas said it was “extremely disappointed” with the “total disorganization and chaos” that greeted festival travelers.

“The event organizers assured us that all measures were taken to ensure a safe and successful event but clearly they did not have the capacity to execute an event of this scale,” The Bahamas said.

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