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HomeArts & CultureJa Rule’s chaos-hit luxury festival promises refunds – and comeback

Ja Rule’s chaos-hit luxury festival promises refunds – and comeback

Organisers of a music festival in The Bahamas that was billed as a luxury getaway but collapsed in chaos promised refunds on Saturday – and said they would try again next year.

The Fyre Festival was abruptly aborted Friday after hundreds of party-goers – who had paid for tickets costing up to $12,000 (Dh44075) and VIP packages that rose to $250,000 – arrived only to be welcomed by relief-camp style tents and rudimentary sandwiches rather than the promised lavish experience.

The festival, led by New York rapper Ja Rule and tech entrepreneur Billy McFarland, one day later apologised and said all festival goers would be refunded.

“Also, all guests from this year will have free VIP passes to next year’s festival,” said a statement on its website.

The 2018 festival, it said, would take place on a beach destination in the United States. While thanking the government of The Bahamas, the organisers said they had tried to create a festival on a private island where there was insufficient infrastructure.

“The team was overwhelmed. The airport was jam-packed. The buses couldn’t handle the load,” the statement said.

“This is an unacceptable guest experience and the Fyre team takes full responsibility for the issues that occurred,” it said.

Such problems were fully apparent to guests who had made it to the island on the VIP packages that were supposed to feature exclusive villas as well as chartered planes from Miami.

Numerous festival-goers posted pictures of shambolic scenes as they arrived and quickly turned around – setting off mockery in corners of the internet over the high prices many had handed over.

The government of The Bahamas, a country of more than 700 islands and cays where tourism is the largest industry, also apologied and assisted in evacuations – but stressed it was not involved directly in the event.

The Fyre Festival was one of the biggest disasters amid a boom in music events across the world and particularly the United States, where festivals have become a rite of passage for millennials of sufficient means.

* Agence France-Presse

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