Only a few days after organizers of the highly hyped Fyre Festival were forced to cancel the two-weekend event after the event totally fell apart, leaving many people stranded in the Bahamas, one person who shelled out thousands for a ticket has filed a $100 million lawsuit claiming that attendees were subjected to a hell more akin to The Hunger Games or Lord of the Flies than the posh version of Coachella they were promised.
Instead of the “first-class culinary experiences” and “luxury atmosphere” attendees were promised, the lawsuit [PDF] filed today in California claims festival goers were lured into “what various media outlets have since labeled a ‘complete disaster,’ ‘mass chaos,’ and a ‘post-apocalyptic nightmare.’”
“The festival’s lack of adequate food, water, shelter, and medical care created a dangerous and panicked situation among attendees—suddenly finding themselves stranded on a remote island without basic provisions—that was closer to ‘The Hunger Games’ or ‘Lord of the Flies’ than” than Coachella,” the lawsuit reads.
While festivalgoers were promised high-end cuisine from world-class chefs, the plaintiffs say they “survived on bare rations,” consisting of “little more than bread and slice of cheese.”
When they tried to escape the elements, the festival only provided “small clusters of ‘FEMA tents,’ exposed on a sand bar, that were soaked and battered by wind and rain.”
And as for that claim that the “private island” was once owned by drug kingpin Pablo Escobar? The island isn’t private, says the lawsuit, noting the existence of a Sandals resort down the road, “and Pablo Escobar never owned the island.”
In any case, the lawsuit claims that organizers Ja Rule — legally known as Jeffrey Atkins — and Billy McFarland — knew for months that that their festival was “dangerously under-equipped and posed a serious danger to anyone in attendance,” and yet they “continued to promote the event and sell ticket packages.”
Festival organizers allegedly tipped off performers and celebrities about the substandard situations at Fyre and warned the A-listers not to attend, but gave no such warnings to attendees “about the dangerous conditions awaiting them on the island.”
According the lawsuit, this “outrageous failure to prepare” and the organizers’ “deliberate falsehoods” in promoting the luxury event shows that the festival “was nothing more than a get-rich-quick scam from the very beginning.”
“Defendants intended to fleece attendees for hundreds of millions of dollars by inducing them to fly to a remote island without food, shelter or water—and without regard to what might happen to them after that,” the complaint claims.
And what happened next wasn’t ideal, either, the lawsuit says, claiming festivalgoers were “unable to escape the unfolding disaster because of their reliance upon Defendants for transportation.”
Making things even tougher was the fact that organizers had promoted the event as a “cashless” shindig, urging attendees to upload money to a wristband instead of carrying cash around.
“As such, Attendees were unable to purchase basic transportation on local taxis or busses, which accept only cash,” the lawsuit reads. “As a result of Defendants’ roadblocks to escape, at least one attendee suffered a medical emergency and lost consciousness after being locked inside a nearby building with other concert-goers waiting to be airlifted from the island.”
The suit claims fraud, breach of covenant of good faith, and negligent misrepresentation, and is asking for a minimum of $100 million in damages. It’s seeking class-action status seeks on behalf of all ticket buyers and festival attendees. Though around 6,000 people were expected to attend, notes Variety, it’s unclear how many tickets were sold.
Last week, McFarland and Ja Rule apologized, and said they would refund ticket goers.
“I truly apologize as this is NOT MY FAULT … but I’m taking responsibility I’m deeply sorry to everyone who was inconvenienced by this,” Ja Rule said.
“We were overwhelmed and just didn’t have the foresight to solve all these problems,” McFarland told Rolling Stone, adding that he was “a little naive” to think he could pull off the festival.