In this day and age, the young and beautiful live and die on social media.
In the case of the ill-fated Fyre Festival — a multiday music, art and culture party that promised “an invitation to let loose and unplug with the likeminded” on the Bahamian island of Exuma — it’s been a sudden and ugly death, chronicled in real-time on YouTube and filtered through Facebook.
Organizers canceled the event at the last minute after poor planning, disorganization and lack of accommodations. Most of the A-list acts had pulled out of the festival days before, citing a lack of payment.
It was supposed to be a sun-soaked experience filled with yachts, gourmet food and models. Ticket prices ranged from $500 to $12,000.
But by Saturday morning, the partygoers had decamped, many of them to hotels in Miami in hopes of salvaging a weekend. People decried the festival accommodations as being like a “disaster tent city” and a “refugee camp.”
The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism expressed its deep disappointment in a statement sent to the media. “Hundreds of visitors to Exuma were met with total disorganization and chaos,” the tourism office wrote.
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In a statement posted on the Fyre Festival website Saturday, co-organizer Billy McFarland said festivalgoers will be refunded in full. “We will be working on refunds over the next few days and will be in touch directly with guests with more details. Also, all guests from this year will have free VIP passes to next year’s festival,” he wrote.
The hype for Fyre Festival began months ago, marketed with slick videos on social media.
“I saw it on Instagram and booked it before the lineup was announced,” said Mitch Purgason, a 25-year-old menswear designer in Charlotte, N.C.