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Music

Fyre Festival Faces $100 Million ‘Hunger Games’ Lawsuit

  • Exclusive event attendees found less-than-luxurious amenities.
  • Class-action status sought for ticketholders in contract case.

A $100 million lawsuit was filed against organizers of the inaugural Fyre Festival, a music festival in the Bahamas that was billed as a luxury experience only to quickly devolve into an island landscape of half-built tents, cheese sandwiches, and a distinct lack of musical talent.

In a lawsuit filed Monday in Los Angeles federal court, Fyre Festival and its organizers were accused of fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and breach of contract. The plaintiff, attendee Daniel Jung, seeks class action status for the thousands of ticket-holders who flew to the remote venue. 

“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 Coachella,” the complaint stated, referring to a similar festival held annually in California. The plaintiff alleged that the organizers knew the Fyre Festival was a “serious danger” to attendees in advance.  

The first aid area at the Fyre Festival in the Bahamas.
The first aid area at the Fyre Festival in the Bahamas.
Source: Dylan Caccamesi

The suit, filed by celebrity Hollywood attorney Mark Geragos, seeks $100 million in damages on behalf of a purported class of concertgoers. Jung’s ticket to the Fyre Festival cost $2,000, according to the complaint.

The event was hyped by ads featuring supermodels enjoying an island paradise and promising luxury unmatched by older name-brand music festivals. Attendees expected “the culture experience of the decade,” a music-filled escape in a tropical utopia of glitzy yachts and ornate villas.

That’s not what they received, according to festival attendees who said they arrived to a dismal city of disaster relief tents. Their baggage arrived piled in a shipping container, and the gourmet cuisine they expected turned out to be ham and cheese sandwiches and a side salad in a styrofoam tray.

The food tent at the Fyre Festival in the Bahamas.
The food tent at the Fyre Festival in the Bahamas.
Source: Dylan Caccamesi

Organized by rapper Ja Rule, whose real name is Jeffrey Atkins, and business partner Billy McFarland, the Fyre Festival was meant to grow global brand awareness for Fyre Media, a talent booking startup the pair founded in 2015. McFarland is also the founder and chief executive of Magnises, a social club for rich millennials.

The lawsuit alleges McFarland and Atkins warned musicians and celebrities not to attend the festival, but didn’t warn attendees of the same. “Defendants only ‘cancelled’ the event on the morning of the first day—after thousands of attendees had already arrived and were stranded, without food, water, or shelter,” according to the complaint. 

Attendees sign up for refunds at the Fyre Festival in the Bahamas.
Attendees sign up for refunds at the Fyre Festival in the Bahamas.
Source: Dylan Caccamesi

“Fyre Festival and its promoters recklessly stranded thousands of consumers in a festival [of] horror, and cost them thousands of dollars on travel, lodging, and time off from work,” Ben Meiselas, an attorney at Geragos and Geragos law firm, alleged in a statement. 

A representative for Fyre Festival didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. McFarland didn’t immediately respond to a phone call requesting comment.

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