UPDATE: Ja Rule tweeted a statement Friday afternoon regarding Fyre Festival’s cancellation, writing he was “heartbroken” by the developments.
“I wanted this to be an amazing event it was NOT A SCAM as everyone is reporting 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 wrote. See the full statement below.
EARLIER: In January, a slate of organizers including Ja Rule announced the advent of Fyre Festival, a high-end, two-weekend musical extravaganza on the Bahamas’ Island of the Exumas that was set to begin its first installment on Friday. Things did not go as planned. After significant backlash and uproar on social media, Fyre Festival has been called off.
“Due to circumstances out of our control, the physical infrastructure was not in place on time,” organizers wrote in a statement posted Friday morning. “At this time, we are working tirelessly to get flights scheduled and get everyone off of Great Exuma and home safely as quickly as we can. … The festival is being postponed until we can further assess if and when we are able to create the high-quality experience we envisioned.”
The decision marked a sudden about-face for Fyre’s organizers who, in an Instagram post published overnight, said that “things got off to an unexpected start at day one of Fyre Festival” and outlined suggestions for festivalgoers.
The statements downplayed the details of the criticisms of the festival, which charged between $1,000 and $12,000 for tickets. One of the event’s slated performers, blink-182, tweeted on Thursday afternoon that they were pulling out of the festival. “We’re not confident that we would have what we need to give you the quality of performances we always give our fans,” they wrote.
Negative accounts from festivalgoers had also started to appear online on Thursday. One Reddit thread lamented that wristband distribution and tent assignments were disorganized; other posts reported looting and made Lord of the Flies references to joke about the situation.
Attendees had even struggled to get to Exumas. One festival hopeful posted an Instagram video taken aboard a plane, where an airline official can be heard saying, “We have been advised by Fyre, the tour operator of your flight, that they can no longer accept any guests in Exuma. Due to overcapacity on the island, we need to cancel the flights to ensure the safety of our guests.”
Other artists booked for the festival, including Migos, Lil Yachty, Major Lazer, Pusha T, Desiigner, and Tyga, have yet to comment on social media regarding the festival’s cancellation. According to a recent Wall Street Journal story, as of the beginning of April, Fyre had yet to compensate some artists per the terms of their contracts.