The creators of Fyre Festival – an event billed as an exclusive, luxury music festival for affluent party-goers – have been hit with a massive $100 million class action lawsuit on behalf of attendees who endured a lack of food, clean water, and shelter on arrival to the festival’s far-flung location.
According to the complaint filed April 30th in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, festival organizers Billy McFarland and rapper Ja Rule “…promoted their “Fyre Festival” as a posh, island-based music festival featuring “first-class culinary experiences and a luxury atmosphere.”
However, what guests discovered on arrival was called “a “complete disaster,” “mass chaos,” and a “post-apocalyptic nightmare.”
The suit was filed by attorneys from the Los Angeles based firm Geragos & Geragos, which has a history of representing high-profile clients such as Michael Jackson, Winona Ryder, and Sean “Diddy” Combs. The suit accuses Fyre Festival organizers of fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and breach of contract.
Just days after the original complaint filed by Geragos & Geragos, a second class action lawsuit was initiated in the Superior Court of California County of Los Angeles by attorney John Girardi of Girardi & Keese.
According to a statement posted on the Fyre Festival website on April 29th, festival organizers are promising disappointed attendees a full refund, although ticket holders were also offered free attendance at next year’s festival in lieu of a refund.
Despite the offer to refund tickets, other funds, such as money placed in accounts linked to wireless “Fyre Bands” intended for use at the cashless festival, have not been addressed by festival organizers.
The festival was heavily promoted by celebrities and social media “influencers” in the weeks leading up to the event, and a promotional video featuring a number of famous models partying at the festival’s island location helped drive sales for ticket packages that generally ranged in price from $1,500 to $12,500, though some ticket packages commanded prices in excess of $100,000.
This promotion of the festival by social media celebrities has sparked additional legal troubles. According to the lawsuit filed by Girardi, many of the posts were not clearly labeled as promotional, allegedly in violation of Federal Trade Commission Guidelines on disclosing connections between advertisers and endorsers.
It is likely that the legal pressure against the festival’s organizers will continue to intensify in the coming months.