What has Ja Rule learned from the disastrous Fyre Festival? Despite facing two multi-million dollar lawsuits, apparently not much.
Nearly two years ago, Ja Rule and millennial entrepreneur Billy McFarland moved forward with an idea to ‘revolutionize’ the live concert industry.
Dubbed Fyre Festival, the luxury event – targeted at rich, young adults – would provide attendees with a truly unique experience.
Crystal blue waters, yachts, supermodels by day, music by night. From Miami, fans would’ve flown to The Bahamas in a VIP-equipped 737. The the ultimate destination was The Exumas, a remote island reportedly once owned by Pablo Escobar.
The Fyre Festival, the subject of two recent documentaries, ended up a total disaster. Ja Rule and Billy McFarland, however, did keep their promise of providing fans with a truly unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Upon arriving at Miami airport, attendees found themselves stranded with lengthy delays. At The Bahamas, workers dumped their luggage onto the beaches in the dark. Once they reached their destination, users on Twitter described the scene – inadequate accommodation, leftover disaster relief tents, and a lack of much-needed medical care. One user even posted a picture of the festival’s promised ‘gourmet food’ – two slices of wheat bread and Swiss cheese, some lettuce, and two slices of tomatoes.
That last image, more than any other, came to symbolize the sham festival.
Not exactly the kind of experience you pay up to $12,000 for.
Following the disaster, the FBI launched a criminal investigation into the failed music festival. Angry fans quickly filed multiple class-action lawsuits against Ja Rule and McFarland. Popular celebrity lawyer Mark Geragos likened the event to The Hunger Games and Lord of the Flies.
Ja Rule – real name Jeffrey Atkins – has since attempted to distance himself from the event.
Painting himself as a victim of McFarland, he took to social media to defend himself,
“I had an amazing vision to create a festival like NO OTHER!!! [and] would NEVER SCAM or FRAUD anyone what sense does that make???
“I too was hustled, scammed, bamboozled, hoodwinked, and led astray.”
Now, Atkins has moved forward with plans for another ‘unique’ experience based on the Fyre Festival.
Fyre Festival Redux?
Currently, Atkins, along with McFarland and business partner Robert Nemeth, face multiple lawsuits.
In California, all three face a $100 million class-action lawsuit. In Miami, Atkins, McFarland, and Nemeth face a $5 million putative class-action lawsuit.
Undeterred, Atkins revealed his plans for a brand-new Fyre Festival. Only with a different name.
“In the midst of chaos, there’s opportunity.”
Unapologetic over the fallout of the failed music event, he added,
“It’s not funny to me, it’s heartbreaking. It was something that I really wanted to be special and amazing, and it just didn’t go that way.”
Atkins stated he will move forward with the talent booking app he had once worked on with McFarland.
“I’ve got my new platform, rebranded and rebuilt, and it’s an amazing platform. It’s for artists.”
Dubbed Iconn, the app remains awfully similar to Fyre’s booking app. Users can make offers to book top artists on certain dates and at certain events. Artists include DMX, Fat Joe, Migos, The Game, Cardi B, Shawn Mendes, Zayn Malik, Maroon 5, Bebe Rexha, Chance The Rapper, and Snoop Dogg, among many others.
Ignoring the disaster of the Fyre Festival, Ja Rule concluded,
“It is the most iconic festival that never was. So, I have plans to create the iconic festival. But, you didn’t hear it from me.”
Iconic? Yes. Unforgettable? Indeed. But, maybe not in the way Ja Rule would like to imagine it.
Expect details of Atkins’ soon-to-fail music festival soon.
Featured image by Eduardo Santos (CC by 2.0).