Flying to the Bahamas for what was advertised as an “experience of a lifetime” quickly became a disastrous and potentially dangerous situation — one that would be known as one of the greatest scams of the decade. The biggest takeaway from this PR nightmare? Things are not always as they seem.
The Fyre Festival, created by Billy McFarland and rapper Ja-Rule, had been heavily marketed through numerous social media channels and captivated millennials with lofty promises of famous attendees, gourmet food, unforgettable musical performances, top of the line accommodations- all taking place on a private island previously owned by Pablo Escobar. After paying upwards of $200,000 for tickets, guests flew out to Great Exuma, Bahamas to find a “refugee-like” environment filled with half-built hurricane tents, rain-soaked mattresses, no medical personnel, and barely any food to share amongst the guests. Even after Fyre Festival was cancelled, guests were left stranded at the airport without nourishment or even a way to get home.
Through documentaries like Netflix’s Fyre Festival: The Greatest Party That Never Happened, we are seeing first hand how aware the event’s organizers were of the poor and unsafe conditions on the island well before the attendees arrived. Their alleged negligence and fraud has lead to more than nine different lawsuits against the Fyre Festival organizers and promoters. This past July, Seth Crossno and Mark Thompson were these first to be awarded a settlement of $1.5 million each in compensatory damages, and $1 million in punitive damages for not only the tickets ($13,000) but for the mental anguish they suffered as well. With more class action lawsuits making their way through the justice system, this will not be last we hear of Fyre Festival.