After the flights from Miami were canceled, the performers refused to show up for fear of the horrific conditions, and the cheese and bread sandwiches were doled out, the organizers of Fyre Festival have finally spoken. On Saturday, a lengthy statement was released addressing the attendees who spent between $1,000 and $12,000 for the now-canceled music festival experience that was created by Ja Rule and being promoted by Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid. The good news is: the rich kids are all getting their money back. The bad news is: there's going to be a Fyre Festival 2018.
"Yesterday was a very challenging day for all of us," the statement begins. "But we would like to fully explain what happened." Please do, because something hasn't gone this wrong since...okay lots of things have been going wrong lately, never mind. They continue:
Billy McFarland and Ja Rule started a partnership over a mutual interest in technology, the ocean, and rap music. This unique combination of interests led them to the idea that, through their combined passions, they could create a new type of music festival and experience on a remote island.
They simply weren’t ready for what happened next, or how big this thing would get. They started by making a website and launching a viral campaign. Ja helped book talent, and they had hundreds of local Bahamians join in the effort. Suddenly, they found themselves transforming a small island and trying to build a festival. Thousands of people wanted to come. They were excited, but then the roadblocks started popping up.
The next part reminds me of what happened when the Summer Olympics were hosted in Rio and the state of Rio de Janeiro declared a "state of public calamity,"or when there were stray dogs running around the hotel at Sochi during the Winter Olympics of 2012. When you try to build a massive city in a place with very little existing infrastructure it rarely goes well:
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 team was overwhelmed. The airport was jam packed. The buses couldn’t handle the load. And the wind from rough weather took down half of the tents on the morning our guests were scheduled to arrive. This is an unacceptable guest experience and the Fyre team takes full responsibility for the issues that occurred.
Those bolded parts are my own emphasis, purely because they make this press release sounds like it was written by a 25-year-old. Later in the statement, the organizers discuss the most insane outcome of the entire thing: that they're going to do it again, next year:
Then something amazing happened: venues, bands, and people started contacting us and said they’d do anything to make this festival a reality and how they wanted to help. The support from the musical community has been overwhelming and we couldn’t be more humbled or inspired by this experience. People were rooting for us after the worst day we’ve ever had as a company. After speaking with our potential partners, we have decided to add more seasoned event experts to the 2018 Fyre Festival, which will take place at a United States beach venue.
Then, they discuss the refunds that will be issued to all of this year's attendees:
All festival goers this year will be refunded in full. 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.
If you ask me, that VIP pass for the 2018 festival sounds like a death wish. But some people just really love the wild, unpredictable experience of a music festival. You can read the full statement here.