Ja Rule has responded via Twitter to the firestorm of criticism he and other organizers have received over the chaos of the Fyre Festival in the Bahamas. The fest was organized by the rapper and investor tech entrepreneur Billy McFarland. Concertgoers arrived on the island of Exumas to find not the luxurious setting they’d been promised, but flimsy tents instead of beautiful bungalows, boxed lunches, and a near-complete lack of organization, with many concertgoers virtually stranded on the island.
“We are working right now on getting everyone [off] the island SAFE that is my immediate concern,” he wrote. “I will make a statement soon. I’m heartbroken at this moment, my partners and I wanted this to be an amazing event. It was NOT A SCAM as everyone is reporting. I don’t know how everything went so left but I’m working to make it right by making sure everyone is refunded… I truly apologize as this is NOT MY FAULT … but I’m taking responsibility. I’m deeply sorry to everyone who was inconvenienced by this.”
This weekend’s event was postponed Friday morning, and it’s difficult to envision the concert scheduled for next weekend happening.
Fyre Festival had promised “a cultural moment created from a blend of music, art, and food.” Tickets ranged between $1,000 and $12,000 — with some VIP packages as high as $250,000 — with amenities including private plane and boat rentals, massages, and local beach tours.
In the weeks leading up to the festival, the Wall Street Journal reported that several of the headliners had not been paid their advances, although later this was rectified. On April 17 the New York Post published a story headlined “Are Fyre Festival organizers in over their heads?,” which cited a source as saying “attendees have not yet seen pictures of their ‘villas’ on the fest’s private Bahamian island,” while another sours said, “It feels like they have good intentions, but are out of their league. … Several companies bailed on working with them because they were very disorganized. They don’t return calls.”
While the festival’s website continued to feature advertising for the event as the chaos unfolded, by late Friday morning the site bore an official statement instead:
“Fyre Festival set out to provide a once-in-a-lifetime musical experience on the Islands of the Exumas.
“Due to circumstances out of our control, the physical infrastructure was not in place on time and we are unable to fulfill on that vision safely and enjoyably for our guests. At this time, we are working tirelessly to get flights scheduled and get everyone off of Great Exuma and home safely as quickly as we can. We ask that guests currently on-island do not make their own arrangements to get to the airport as we are coordinating those plans. We are working to place everyone on complimentary charters back to Miami today; this process has commenced and the safety and comfort of our guests is our top priority.
“The festival is being postponed until we can further assess if and when we are able to create the high- quality experience we envisioned.
“We ask for everyone’s patience and cooperation during this difficult time as we work as quickly and safely as we can to remedy this unforeseeable situation. We will continue to provide regular updates via email to our guests and via our official social media channels as they become available.
-The Fyre Festival Team”