As I have expressed many times on this blog, I am a fervent musical festival goer. I have attended dozens of different festivals over the past several years across six different states (and two countries!). This very weekend, I will be making my second trip to Memphis for the Beale Street Music Festival.
Being able to mix two of my passions – live music and travel – in a setting where you are surrounded by thousands of people who share that same joy is an exhilarating experience for me that I will always find time for.
Having attended numerous such festivals, I fully appreciate how massive of an undertaking it is to organize one. The coordination between obtaining artists and vendors, acquiring equipment, selling tickets, ensuring proper sewage and drainage, arranging accommodations and first aid can only be accomplished by an entertainment company that knows exactly what it is doing.
And I can safely say that of all the different festivals I have attended, I have never been disappointed by the accommodations. They may cost a lot of money when you account for tickets, travel and lodging, but you certainly get your money’s worth.
So when it was announced that Ja Rule and some 25-year-old entrepreneur were creating their own music festival on an undeveloped private island in the Bahamas, well, let’s just say that I was skeptical that this would end up being a success.
But even I could never have predicted that it would become a horror show.
With all due respect to the attendees who suffered this weekend, reading an article detailing the festival’s shortcoming was pretty damn hilarious. You really couldn’t make this stuff up.
The exotic beach playing host to the festival, rather than being lined with upscale cabanas and luxurious food, was replaced with rain-soaked tents and folding chairs. And that luxury food? Slices of bread and cheese.
Cabs were so scarce that people had to hitch rides to get to nearby hotels. And since the festival was promoted as cashless (people were encouraged to upload money to their digital wristband), no one had any money to get anywhere.
If this festival cost something like $200, then it would be something you could just laugh at. Unfortunately, some people paid up to $3,500 for deluxe packages, and were essentially scammed.
Ja Rule and his 25-year-old partner, Billy McFarland, blamed inclement weather and poor planning for the mess, and promised to refund everyone’s money.
But to add insult to injury, on Monday, the festival organizers were hit with a $100 million class-action lawsuit by festivalgoers.
There’s not many things in this world in which I would ever place trust in Ja Rule. In fact I can only think of one, and that’s for him to repeatedly say the word “Holla” over and over again.
And I sure as heck wouldn’t entrust him with planning an international getaway.
People expected to hear music in paradise. Instead they got Lord of the Flies.
I guess it was aptly named though, because these people got “fyre” alright. Just not in the way they expected. What they really got was fyre in the form of a music festival from hell.
All that said, who’s down for Fyre Fest 2018?!