‘Mortified’ Ja Rule Says Event Was Not A Scam

Fyre Festival co-organiser Ja Rule. Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune staff

Fyre Festival co-organiser Ja Rule. Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune staff



Tribune Staff Reporters

AS the chaos surrounding the failed Fyre Festival in Exuma caught international headlines over the weekend, “mortified” co-organiser Ja Rule denied Friday the claims that the luxury music festival was a scam.

The American rapper, whose real name is Jeffrey Atkins, told The Tribune that he was heartbroken and confused by the ordeal but was focused on the safe departure of all guests and facilitating refunds.

Ja Rule regretted that he and his partner, tech entrepreneur Billy McFarland, pumped $20 million into the event, and “everyone hates us for it.”

“Heartbroken is an understatement,” he wrote to The Tribune via WhatsApp.

“I’m mortified at what those people had to go through, me and my partner Billy are very upset. We spent $20 million to make this event special and everyone hates us for it.

“But I’ll live with that,” he said. “God knows my heart and intentions were in the right place. Now I just want everyone to get home safe and get refunded.”

Ja Rule stressed that the total breakdown experienced by festival-goers was not his fault, but he committed to accepting responsibility for the debacle.

In an earlier message, he wrote: “We are working right now on getting everyone off the island SAFE, that is my immediate concern.

“I will make a statement soon. I’m heartbroken at this moment. My partners and I wanted this to be an amazing event. It was NOT A SCAM as everyone is reporting.”

He continued: “I don’t know how everything went so left but I’m working to make it right by making sure everyone is refunded ... I truly apologise as this is NOT MY FAULT ... but I’m taking responsibility. I’m deeply sorry to everyone who was inconvenienced by this.”

In a video sent to TMZ, an American entertainment website, Mr McFarland put the blame on the event’s failure to poor infrastructure in Exuma.

He said organisers set out “to build a festival site” and “quickly learned that the basic infrastructure in place here was not what we are used to in the United States.”

He claimed organisers had to install water and sewerage and bring an ambulance from the US.

He also claimed the event site was hit by a storm hours before the festival, which he said took down tents and broke the site’s water system. He also admitted organisers needed “more manpower” and help.

He said all guests are being refunded and claimed the event will be held next year at a beach location in the US. He also said organisers will donate $1 on behalf of each person who signs up for the 2018 event to the Bahamas Red Cross.


jackbnimble 3 years, 4 months ago

Wow. Poor infrastructure? And he didn't know this before he took the poor people's money?

They 'messed up and the Bahamas is to blame? Unreal!


My2cents 3 years, 4 months ago

They had so many opportunities to cancel or relocate. How stupid can someone be to think they can essentially erect a city overnight, especially when nobody was paid? I cannot give them the benefit of doubt that it wasn't a scam on the MOT as well. They acted just as reckless as the naive "rich" kids...that is inexcusable.


TalRussell 3 years, 4 months ago

Comrades! Where are the much globally advertised famous models on yachts! The Wall Street Journal reported a week back about a number of booked artists that had canceled their appearances due to not being paid as contractually agreed to. The promise of island luxury cottages were quickly transformed into white hurricane tents.


sengli02 3 years, 4 months ago

Wow! They had to blame it on someone. Why would you plan an event on an uninhabitable island? The Bahamas have 700 Islands and Keys.

There are a few Island that could have accommodate them.

Everyone should take responsibility in this mess. Don't go anywhere until you get all the facts regarding accommodations and food.



John 3 years, 4 months ago

These people were definitely fish out of water. They have the annual music fest in Exuma that caters to thousands and the annual regatta as well. You have to know how to make it fit. But these city boys obviously lacked experience in planning this type of event in a sleepy island setting. Then for a $20 million price tag they should have hired more locals and professional event planners and should not have tried to crowd the event with regatta. A good investment may be in one of the smaller cruise ships that are now being decommissioned. One that can travel from island to island during these events like regattas and serve as a hotel and dining facility.


sheeprunner12 3 years, 4 months ago

True ......... The Exuma Regatta is probably a $250,000 event ....... Can you imagine what scale of entertainment event you can produce with $20 million on Exuma?????????


sheeprunner12 3 years, 4 months ago

Who fooled Ja Rule???????? .............. What kind of experience he had with working to organize an entertainment event in a rural environment in a foreign country?????

This type of event is a challenge for Bahamians to organize in their own cultural environment ........ much less a foreigner (with little local knowledge or support network)

Note to Ja Rule ................ Take your losses and chalk it up to a Bahamian learning experience


TalRussell 3 years, 4 months ago

Comrades! I tell you this. As the USA, Global and Local court documents be filed and counter filed - they is going expose a few local names connections to make for some Juicy Lucy gossiping and interesting reading for at least the next couple years?


John 3 years, 4 months ago

Well Jah Rule and Billy McFarland have been hit by multi million dollar lawsuits. #lawsuits one of Americans favorite pastimes. And a very expensive one at that.


BMW 3 years, 4 months ago

Ja rule says he is mortified and heartbroken, better add broke to the list. Ms be now with$100 million dollar lawsuit we will truly see who in the mot had their whole arm in the cookie jar what say you west end and bimini?


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