The Fyre Festival was sold to Millennials as a luxury Coachella in the Bahamas. The final result was one of the great music debacles of all time. Vanity Fair takes a look at what might be the biggest scam of 2017.
The first chartered jets came in low over the island of Great Exuma’s aquamarine waters that Thursday morning. Most of those who clambered down onto the tarmac were young and excited, anticipating a once-in-a-lifetime weekend adventure on the sparkling white beaches of the Bahamas. There would be rock bands, private villas, celebrity chefs, all promoted by the rapper Ja Rule and a gaggle of supermodels on Instagram. For tickets costing up to $12,000 apiece, the inaugural Fyre Festival, its organizers promised, was to be an ultra-chic “Coachella in the Caribbean.”
Shivi Kumar, a 33-year-old North Carolina sales executive, landed with a group of her girlfriends around six P.M. on a flight from Miami to celebrate a birthday. One or two of the group were already nervous. They had heard Internet rumblings that the festival was having organizational troubles. A friend who had arrived on the island earlier called, saying the festival site wasn’t ready. “We kind of had a feeling something was not right,” Kumar recalls, “but you thought, This is the first time they’re doing this—you expect some glitches.”
Oh, there were glitches. Plenty of them. Keep reading.