Fyre Festival attendee gives account of experience, clears up 'untrue' rich kid reports: 'It was carnage'

A first-hand description of what went down at Ja Rule's doomed Bahamas-based festival

Jacob Stolworthy
Saturday 29 April 2017 16:47 BST
Promotional video for Fyre Festival

A person who attended Fyre Festival, the event which descended into chaos amid reports that guests were stranded at an unfinished site, has provided a first-person account of their experience while also clearing up what appears to be some inaccuracies surrounding the saga.

The luxury event, organised by hip-hop star Ja Rule and Billy McFarland, was due to feature performances from acts including Blink-182, Disclosure and Skepta before they all pulled out forcing the whole thing to be postponed.

It had been advertised on social media as a glamorous party involving supermodels including Kendall Jenner and Emily Ratajkowski. What ticket-buyers found upon arrival at the Bahamas-based location, however, was something extremely different.

London-based Olivia McMonagle, who spent $600 on a ticket, provided us with a first-hand account of her experience.

"When we got there, we were put in a yellow school bus and taken to a beach bar. There were a few bagels and fruit shortly followed by a man giving out bottles of tequila and rosé. Still not told much at this point other than the festival site was not quite ready and there had been a setback due to a rainstorm."

She continued: "The school buses took us to the festival. It was a wasteland. Mattresses on the floor, diggers everywhere, no order at all. [We were told to] 'grab a tent' and it was literally a free for all. [They] were awful - they were all damp, had rips in them and wouldn't close at all - totally unsafe."

Below is an inside look at the “uninhabitable” tents people ended up getting.

Fyre Festival tent | Olivia McMonagle

The nightmare didn't end there with McMonagle revealing people even had their luggage kept from them.

“They told us our luggage would be at the tents but it was chaos. We spent about two hours trying to find [it]. It was a free for all! I heard people never got theirs, had stuff stolen, etc.“

McMonagle stated that "no one from the festival knew what was going on at all."

"There was zero communication. After a few hours, we said we wanted to leave and how could we do that. They told us to check our email over the next few hours and flight details would be on there - they weren't. So we got a few hours sleep and got up at five am to go get a bus to the airport."

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The chaos continued to ensue at the airport.

"A lot of people panicked and bought a flight to Nassau and then to Miami (approximately $350) but we waited it out. After nine hours or so, we managed to get on a free flight back to Miami. Swift Air (who ran the Fyre flights) told us that they hadn't been paid a penny by the festival and were doing it to get people home safely - they were heroes!"

While the event was undoubtedly chaos, McMonagle remains confused as to why reports have suggested tickets were going for as much as $10,000.

Fyre Festival attendees locked in airport 'for their own safety'

“It's been so odd to see the coverage,” she said. “It was only $600 a ticket which is so much less than Coachella. They hiked up the prices about a month ago to try and make the money back because they were struggling. I think everyone's blown it out [of proportion] saying people paid $10k a ticket. Everyone we were with paid the basic 600 and were super nice! Not the rich kids they are all talking about.

"The people who paid that would have been fine as they were staying in villas and could just enjoy the beautiful island. It's quite sad it's been portrayed like that! It's just not true - well, from what I saw. Everyone we met was tired and frustrated and didn't have any extra money to buy flights out of there.“

Fortunately, McMonagle - who was flown back to Miami from the festival's Great Exuma Island location yesterday (28 April) - escaped relatively unscathed from the experience.

“I think overall, we were kinda lucky,” she said. “We got a fun first day, got to swim with the pigs and meet some cool new people and then got a free flight home. Yesterday was painful as everyone wanted to get off the island but overall, we had an okay time of it.”

Co-organiser McFarland - who penned an open letter detailing why the festival descended into chaos - has revealed Fyre will take place next year in a US location. Ja Rule has expressed his 'heartbreak' surrounding the events.

Following the news, Seth Rogen announced on social media that he is coincidentally making a film with The Lonely Island about a music festival that goes horribly wrong.

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