Fyre Festival: Organiser Ja Rule apologises after 'luxury' Bahamas music event descends into chaos

Hatty Collier
Fyre Festival: The festival was organised by a partnership that includes rapper Ja Rule: Getty Images for Barstool Sports

The organisers of a luxury musical festival in the Bahamas have apologised and promised full refunds after the event descended into chaos.

The much-hyped Fyre Festival, on the private Exuma islands, was cancelled at the last minute on Friday after many people had already arrived and spent thousands on tickets and travel.

It had been billed as a "once-in-a-lifetime" concert along the lines of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Southern California.

Festival-goers had already begun arriving in the Exuma islands for the first of two weekends that was to include performances by Blink-182 and others.

In a statement, organisers cited "circumstances out of our control," for their inability to prepare the "physical infrastructure" for the event in the largely undeveloped Exumas.

People who had already arrived at the event complained about disorganisation, a lack of accommodation and inadequate food.

Photos published on social media showed tents, wooden stalls and portable lavatories had been brought in for the festival, which was produced by a partnership that includes rapper Ja Rule.

The rapper, real name Jeffrey Atkins, said on Twitter: "I'm heartbroken at this moment; I wanted this to be an amazing event. It was not a scam as everyone is reporting."

The organisers said they were working to arrange charter flights to Miami for people who had already arrived in Exuma and said inbound flights had been cancelled.

"I don't know how everything went so left but I'm working to make it right by making sure everyone is refunded," the rapper said.

The Fyre Festival had promised "culinary delights and luxury" over this weekend and the second one in May.

Organisers had relied on models and other minor celebrities to heavily promote the festival as a glitzy destination event. It was unclear from the website if the second weekend would also be cancelled.

The Bahamas tourism ministry had expected it to be one of the largest such events ever held in the island chain east of Florida. But attendees complained bitterly in social media posts about disorganization, a lack of accommodations and inadequate food.