Fyre Festival, a music festival in the Bahamas organized by Ja Rule's Fyre Media company, descended into chaos on Thursday after headlining acts cancelled appearances, and attendees arrived to find few of the luxury amenities they had paid up to $12,000 for. Below, 22-year-old festival attendee Dylan Caccamesi relates his nightmarish experience.
As told to Michelle Lhooq
I decide to come to Fyre because I wanted to take a luxurious vacation for the weekend and have a good time. We were promised a once-in-a-lifetime, fairytale festival of the century, with authentic luxury cuisine and a million-dollar scavenger hunt. It turned out to be a disorganized free-for-all with ham and cheese sandwiches instead.
My friend sent me the link the day the festival announced that GOOD Music was playing, and they had a discount code—if you bought it that day, you got 25 percent off. At that point, they hadn't announced the full lineup, but the organizers were like, "Buy now, it's going to be awesome, trust us." They had all these big people on the internet announcing it to make it look like it was going to be a banger.
The minimum price for a single ticket was $1600, so my friend and I paid $2700 instead of $3200 after the discount. I justified spending the money because what I figured what I paid for was about the same as what you would get for a regular vacation for the Bahamas, but you got free food, music, and the chance to hang with people my age. Despite what the media has reported, the lodging they provided was what we paid for: a tent with two beds and furniture. But I think the people who paid extra for VIP packages got fucked. They ended up with tents too, and none of the upgrades they were promised.
I left New Jersey on Wednesday and flew into Miami. They said private chartered planes were going to take us to the island for the festival, but it was regular planes—Swiss airlines—and my flight was delayed. On the plane, I found out that Blink 182 had cancelled, making it clear that the rumors were true that the festival wasn't paying artists. Still, everyone was very psyched to get the hell to the Bahamas.
The second we got off the plane, Instagram models were trying to get us hyped up. We were waiting for a shuttle that was supposed to bring us from the airport to the festival grounds on the beach, but it turned out there were no scheduled shuttles, so we had to take local taxis. Amidst this confusion, the Instagram models were like, "Oh my god guys, you're not excited enough, get pumped! We're like, in the Bahaaaamas!"
The "gourmet cuisine" this weekend was included in the ticket cost. We are being fed salads and ham and cheese sandwiches out of this tent pic.twitter.com/MRv7U0RiyM
— dylan (@DylanACOP) April 28, 2017
When we get to the festival, there was a giant line to check in at this glorified frat house near the stage. People were getting agitated, so the models started running around, pouring tequila down our throats to distract us. Eventually, some guy said, "Hey, if you got a duo package, follow me." Then he led us somewhere and said, "OK, just pick a tent." We didn't get one assigned—it was a free-for-all. Meanwhile, we heard that Miami officials weren't letting any more planes leave because the festival was so disorganized, it was a hazard.
My friend and I got our tent, put our shit down, and were like, let's go get drinks. We went to the bar—a little shack next to the frat house and the stage (I believe they said there would be one stage, but evidently that also fell through). Drinks were $14, crazy expensive, and served in tiny cups the size of the ones you spit into at the dentist. But we were like, whatever. Then we got to the point where we started wondering what we were gonna do for food.
There was a giant tent they were serving salads and ham and cheese sandwiches in to-go containers—definitely not the luxury cuisine we were promised. You could tell the staff were locals who had no idea what they were in for. There were also local musicians playing on stage, which was cool, but none of the headliners showed up, and things were quickly going to shit. Everyone was like, WTF is going on?
People started looking for ways to get back home—some people stayed overnight at the airport to catch the first flights back. The festival staff made us sign these papers so they could keep track of who was flying in and out. They said we're going to get refunds, but I don't know if I can trust anything they say anymore—there's talk about a class-action lawsuit now.
We decided to stay in the tent overnight and go home in the morning. Today I woke up and we still don't know where our plane is, or if we're getting our money back. Everyone stuck here is just partying on the beach and getting wasted. They're giving us free drinks to keep us happy and occupied, but they won't tell us when our plane is coming. Everyone running this festival is hiding in the glorified frat house right now trying to figure it out, but they won't speak to anyone.
When I bought tickets to Fyre, I was going along with the luxury narrative they were selling—I thought I'd find all these rich, young, snobby kids. Sure, the Instagram models and influencers are rich fuckers, but the majority were hard-working people in their late-20s or 30s, who paid with money they'd worked hard to earn at their jobs. I'm 22 years old, and my boys and I are among the youngest people here that I've seen so far.
In the beginning, I thought the festival would be cool and everyone was going to be assholes —but it turned out to be the opposite. Everyone was so genuine and nice, and the people running the festival who fucked us over were the real assholes.