A luxury festival on a private beach in the Bahamas has descended into chaos and now people can't leave

Rosie Fitzmaurice
fyre festival

@LamaanGallal / Twitter

A luxury festival on a private beach on Great Exuma, the Bahamas, has descended into chaos with reports of festival goers trying to leave the site being locked in the airport.

The three-day Fyre Festival, co-organised by Ja Rule and tech entrepreneur Billy McFarland's Fyre Media company, was promoted via Instagram by a host of supermodels, including Hailey Baldwin and Bella Hadid.

It was due to take over the Exumas for two weekends (April 28-30 and May 5-7) of music, art, and food.

Tickets to the luxury event included a return flight from Miami on a custom, VIP-configured Boeing 737 and guests were to stay in eco-friendly geodesic domes.

Planned activities include morning yoga and meditation on the beach, as well as fitness classes. Pusha T, Tyga, Major Lazer, Disclosure (DJ set), and Blink 182 were all booked to headline at the event.

But Fyre Festival, which was due to start on Friday, has been deemed a "disaster" and a "scam" via social media, with images from the site not matching the luxury that customers were promised.

Fyre Festival is yet to respond to Business Insider's request for comment. The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism said it was "extremely disappointed" with the problems.

It is not the first time a Billy McFarland venture has stoked controversy. Business Insider revealed this year that his private club for 'elite' millennials, Magnises, did not deliver what was advertised.

The club promised access to hottest tickets in New York, but members recounted stories of not receiving tickets on the timeline promised, of having to rearrange plans multiple times because of the startup's scheduling snafus, and of trips being cancelled outright.

William N. Finley IV has been documenting his experience via Twitter. The customer landed to a scene of "chaos," he said.

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So Fyre Fest is a complete disaster. Mass chaos. No organization. No one knows where to go. There are no villas, just a disaster tent city. pic.twitter.com/1lSWtnk7cA

 He posted images of the on-sight storage facilities and "luxury food court."

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These are the secure lockers at Fyre Fest. They forgot to tell us we needed locks. #fyrefestival #fyrefest pic.twitter.com/Tqyjqbg2Gy


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A view of the luxury food court with some luxury school bus transportation at Fyre Festival. #fyre #fyrefestival pic.twitter.com/XL3PtRw8q0

The festival goer reported that people were attempting to leave the site in their "droves." But many are reporting problems with departing flights.

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Just waiting with my Fyre Fest pals to get on the flight out. The plane hasn't left Miami yet. It's lit! #fyre #fyrefestival pic.twitter.com/glIYmIG0dc


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Welcome to Exuma! Sunrise at Fyre Fest. Still on the same plane we've been on since 1:30 am. My stomach is eating itself. #fyrefestival pic.twitter.com/dammDl4auy


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Hey @delta and @AmericanAir, not you United, can you come to the Exuma airport and save us? I have an Artist Pass. #fyrefestival pic.twitter.com/WFdEWcvuZm

 Footage from someone at Exuma International Airport appears to show festival-goers being locked in.

All inbound flights have been cancelled, according to tweets from Fyre Festival's official account earlier on Friday morning. 

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Due to circumstances beyond our control, inbound flights have been canceled. We're working to refund your ticket

Headline act Blink 182 announced they will no longer be performing at the event.

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A host of supermodels including, Hailey Baldwin and Bella Hadid, had been promoting the new festival via Instagram in the lead up to this weekend.

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On Friday afternoon, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism apologised for the problems. Below is its statement in full:

"We are extremely disappointed in the way the events unfolded yesterday with the Fyre Festival,” said the statement.

"We offer a heartfelt apology to all who travelled to our country for this event. Tourism is our number one industry and it is our aim to deliver world class experiences and events.

"Hundreds of visitors to Exuma were met with total disorganisation and chaos. The organisers of Fyre recently asked the Minister of Tourism for support for their private event.

"The Ministry of Tourism is not an official sponsor of Fyre Festival. Given the magnitude of this undertaking, the MOT leant its support as we do with all international events.

"We offered advice and assisted with communications with other government agencies. The event organisers assured us that all measures were taken to ensure a safe and successful event but clearly they did not have the capacity to execute an event of this scale.

"A team of Ministry of Tourism representatives is on the island to assist with the organisation of a safe return of all Fyre Festival visitors.

"It is our hope that the Fyre Festival visitors would consider returning to the Islands of the Bahamas in the future to truly experience all of our beauty."

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