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Fyre Festival apologizes for 'unacceptable guest experience,' promises refunds

Billy McFarland, Ja Rule ‘simply weren’t ready for what happened next, or how big this thing would get.’

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Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images; Jimi Celeste/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Organizers of the now infamous Fyre Festival in the Bahamas offered a lengthy explanation and apology for what transpired at the music festival, promising refunds to guests and a charitable donation to the Bahamas Red Cross Society.

“Billy McFarland and Ja Rule started a partnership over a mutual interest in technology, the ocean, and rap music,” a statement posted to the event’s website reads. “This unique combination of interests led them to the idea that, through their combined passions, they could create a new type of music festival and experience on a remote island. They simply weren’t ready for what happened next, or how big this thing would get.”

Attendees, who doled out between $4,000 to $250,000 and beyond for festival tickets, described “mass chaos,” scarce “Styrofoam plate dinners,” “disaster relief” tents, and a hellish departure experience for what was promised to be a “luxury” festival. After Blink-182 pulled out of Fyre Festival, the event was canceled.

“As amazing as the islands are, the infrastructure for a festival of this magnitude needed to be built from the ground up,” organizers explain. “So, we decided to literally attempt to build a city. We set up water and waste management, brought an ambulance from New York, and chartered 737 planes to shuttle our guests via 12 flights a day from Miami. We thought we were ready, but then everyone arrived.”

The statement describes how “wind from rough weather” forced vendors to disassemble tents and set up makeshift ones on the beach. They ultimately decided to cancel festivities believing security couldn’t keep up with the guest load, so the mission then became “getting guests quickly and safely back to Miami.”

“The team was overwhelmed,” the statement continues. “The airport was jam packed. The buses couldn’t handle the load. And the wind from rough weather took down half of the tents on the morning our guests were scheduled to arrive. This is an unacceptable guest experience and the Fyre team takes full responsibility for the issues that occurred.”

RELATED: Fyre Festival: Hellish inside accounts from stranded attendees

Organizers promise “all festival goers this year will be refunded in full. We will be working on refunds over the next few days and will be in touch directly with guests with more details. Also, all guests from this year will have free VIP passes to next year’s festival,” which will “take place at a United States beach venue.”

“We apologize for any inconvenience the past 24-hours has caused and we look forward to making a considerable donation to the Bahamas Red Cross Society as part of our initiatives,” the statement concludes. “We need to make this right. And once we make this right, then we will put on the dream festival we sought to have since the inception of Fyre.”