Today’s big story is the hilarious slow-motion car wreck that has been Fyre Fest, the luxury festival in the Bahamas that basically descended into a highly memeable Lord Of The Flies. Ja Rule, who organized the festival alongside tech entrepreneur and possible scam artist Billy McFarland, has already issued an apology, insisting that the event was “NOT A SCAM” and “taking responsibility” for the fiasco while still clearly maintaining that it was “NOT MY FAULT.” Now McFarland has given his own account of how it all went wrong in a new interview with Rolling Stone, claiming that some unfortunate weather and a lack of infrastructure conspired to bring his dream of a musical island paradise down:
The Exumas didn’t have a really great infrastructure – there wasn’t a great way to get guests in here — we were a little bit ambitious. There wasn’t water or sewage. It was almost like we tried building a city out of nothing and it took almost all of our personal resources to make this happen, and everything we had, to make this festival go on. We thought we were ready and built two different festival sites.
The morning of the festival, a bad storm came in and took down half of our tents and busted water pipes. Guests started to arrive and the most basic function we take for granted in the U.S., we realized, “Wow, we can’t do this.” We were on a rush job to fix everything and guests were arriving and that caused check-in to be delayed. We were overwhelmed and just didn’t have the foresight to solve all these problems.
We made sure all guests got a place to stay and had a really long conversation overnight last night after everyone was housed about what to do next and realized we couldn’t risk the safety challenges. So that was the decision that we made — the first thing for us was making sure all these guests get refunded [and] all the vendors get taken care of. All the guests are going home, the refunds are being processed.
But this debacle isn’t deterring McFarland from trying again next year, as he’s already announced make-up dates for the festival in 2018:
There will be make-up dates, May 2018 in the U.S., free for everybody who signed up for this festival. We will donate $1.50 [per ticket] to the Bahamian Red Cross. It’ll keep the theme of being on water and beach. It’ll be not just music, but all forms of entertainment. The one change we will make is we will not try to do it ourselves. We will make sure there is infrastructure in place to support us.
What could possibly go wrong?