An electronic music festival turned into a flaming nightmare over the weekend after a fire broke out on Virginia Key where the Ultra Music Festival was being held, stranding around 50,000 concert-goers in what is being called “Fyre Festival Part 2.”
The festival was forced to move this year after residents complained about the noise. Acts have been known to play sets at the festival that end as late as 2 a.m.
But the festival’s new location in the Historic Virginia Key Beach Park and Miami Marine Stadium Flex Park proved to have its own problems, Hypebeast reports. Because Virginia Key is connected to downtown Miami by a narrow stretch of highway 913, the concert had to use shuttle busses to get the more than 50,000 attendees on and off the island. Concert-goers spaced out their arrivals, but didn’t space out their departures, making the return trip to Miami a transportation nightmare.
Attendees reportedly stood in line for hours for a seat on one of 200 50-person buses going back and forth between the concert venue and downtown Miami. Things only got worse when a tree caught fire near the transportation hub, and vegetation caught fire.
The Miami Fire Department quickly got the situation in hand.
“We have not determined the cause of the fire. But the fire was noticed after the fireworks finale,” Miami FD’s fire captain told the Daily Beast. “We’re going to look into whether that had something to do with it. But it’s not uncommon for people to throw cigarettes into the brush.”
The New York Post reports that concert-goers were quick to label the disastrous festival exit “Fyre Festival Part 2” in tweets and comments on social media, after most attendees chose to forgo the buses altogether and hike their way back to the mainland. Once back on solid ground, however, they realized that rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft couldn’t keep up with demand for cars, and the wait for a ride back to their hotel averaged around an hour.
Unlike the organizers of the real Fyre Festival, which actually did strand hundreds of people who paid thousands of dollars for tickets to an “exclusive” music event on an island in the Carribbean with only waterlogged FEMA shelters, cheese sandwiches, and bugs, the Ultra organizers tried to handle the situation.
“Last night, many of you experienced challenging transportation conditions leaving the festival. This is unacceptable and inconsistent with the high standards you have come to expect from us. For this, we are sorry,” organizers wrote in a Twitter post on Saturday afternoon.
“As you might expect, we have already been working cooperatively with our city and county partners to promptly address and resolve these issues,” they continued. “We look forward to offering you a significantly improved transportation experience today and throughout the weekend, and we appreciate the opportunity to earn back your confidence and trust.”
Concert-goers said that the experience did improve Saturday and Sunday, and reporters for the Miami Herald agreed. And they were able to leave Miami and were not left trapped in a tiny airport awaiting a single flight off Grand Exuma.
Fortunately for Ultra, they have experience hosting festivals, and the Miami event was just one of 26 — and, it seems, the only one that went wrong. Fyre Festival was supposed to be a once-in-a-lifetime event, but Ja Rule, who helped organize the festival with the help of convicted fraudster Billy McFarland, says he’s ready to try again for a real Fyre Festival 2.0.