The cancellation is a blow to Fyre Festival organizers and raises serious doubts about whether the lavish two-weekend festival with VIP packages up to $250,000 will be able to open on Friday with headliners from the G.O.O.D. Music crew, including Tyga, Desiigner and Pusha T. Created by rapper Ja Rule and entrepreneur Billy McFarland, Fyre Festival was announced with a buzzy Instagram video that showed models Bella Hadid, Hailey Baldwin and Emily Ratajkowski sailing on a yacht and swimming off the waters of the tropical festival site, luring in fans spending thousands of dollars on the promise of private beaches, pirate cays and six-figure accommodations.
Concerns that the organizers were in over their heads have been trickling out for weeks -- one agent who has an act playing a top slot at the festival tells Billboard that organizers had to renegotiate the guarantees they were offering some artists after the cost of hosting the ambitious festival began to spiral out of control. Attendees have taken to Reddit and Twitter to complain that the festival site was not ready upon their arrival Thursday (April 27) and that many had not yet seen their rooms. An article earlier this month in the Wall Street Journal said that as of late March, "Some artists still hadn’t been paid what they were owed based on the terms of their contracts," although "the event’s promoters in recent days made progress in catching up with payments, and in some cases have paid acts in full." It also reported that fans who had purchased VIP ticket packages including air travel to and from the festival were "nervous as the festival’s 'concierge' team has been slow to provide them with logistical details."
Billboard reached out to representatives for Fyre Festival and have not yet received a response.
Update (11:05 p.m. EST): Fyre Festival appears on to be on the brink of collapse with flights to Exumas canceled as organizer struggle to deliver basic accommodations to festival-goers, some who paid thousands of dollars for to attend the three-day festival.
Earlier today, Instagram user @dropout.bear posted this video of what appears to be a flight cancelation of passengers headed to the festival site.
"We have been advised by Fyre, the tour operator of your flight, that they can no longer accept any guests in Exuma," an airline representative tells passengers, reading a statement from Fyre officials. "Due to overcapacity on the island, we need to cancel the flights to ensure the safety of our guests."
Despite the promise of a tropical paradise with private beaches, high-end sleeping accommodation and celebrity chef prepared meal, several fans on the ground tell Billboard they arrived in Exumas to find a half-finished festival site and woefully indicate conditions.
"There's no communication on the island," William Finley tells Billboard. The North Carolina resident paid $2,700 for an artist pass that was supposed to grant him access to the artist village along with catered food an open bar and overnight villas that Finley said were little more than badly erected tents.
"They're basically disaster relief tents," he said. "With a mattress on some sort of bed frame. They're not that uncomfortable but the tents are so poorly made that they'd blow over in a second if there was any wind or rain."
As midnight approached on Thursday, Finley tells Billboard that many Fyre atttendees are now boarding buses and heading back to the Exumas airport.
"We aren't even sure if it's open," he said.