The island Fyre Festival organizers used to lure festival-goers to the Caribbean is on sale for nearly $12 million — check it out


fyre festival promo

  • Fyre Festival was a music festival planned for the Bahams in 2017 that dissolved into chaos and turned into a nightmare scenario for hundreds of attendees.
  • The event’s promotional video, showing a picturesque island with models and yachts, was used to attract attendees into buying tickets costing up to $12,000.
  • The place where the promo video was filmed is an island in the Bahamas called Saddleback Cay, and it’s now up for sale for $11.8 million. 
  • Take a look at photos of the up-for-sale Saddleback Cay, Fyre Festival’s intended location, and where the failed event ended up taking place instead.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Fyre Festival was supposed to be an exclusive music festival in 2017 featuring tons of influencers and partying on sandy beaches, before it descended into chaos and became a catch-all term for failed events.

Much of the hype going into the festival stemmed from the insane promotional blitz the organizers embarked on, getting hundreds of powerful influencers and personalities to post about Fyre Festival. The campaign was accompanied by a two-minute teaser video to announce the festival, showing beautiful models, yacht parties, and bright blue waters — it seemed like all of it could be yours if you attended Fyre Festival.

Now, that island is for sale. Although it’s not where the famed Fyre Festival ultimately happened, it’s where organizers Billy McFarland and rapper Ja Rule first envisioned for the festival to take place, and where the promo video was filmed.

The private island, called Saddleback Cay, can be yours for $11.8 million.

Take a look at some photos of the island Fyre Festival organizers first set their sights on, and how it compares with the location they ended up settling on — and the event that ultimately didn’t happen.

SEE ALSO: How to use TikTok, the short-form video app Gen Z loves and that’s ushering in a new era of influencers

This is Saddleback Cay, a private island that’s part of the Bahamas. It gets its name from its shape as seen at sea level, which resembles a riding saddle.

Source: HG Christie

It’s one of hundreds of Caribbean islands that make up The Exumas archipelago, and is situated off the northern tip of a bigger Bahamas island called Norman’s Cay.

Source: Bahamas

Norman’s Cay is where the closest airstrip to Saddleback Cay is located, making the private island accessible for private flights.

Source: HG Christie

Per the the real estate listing for the island, Saddleback Cay spans 35 acres. The land includes a small 500-square-foot property with one bedroom and two baths.

Source: HG Christie

Saddleback Cay also has a total of seven sand beaches, and access to ocean areas for bone fishing and deep water fishing.

Source: HG Christie

It’s also where Fyre Festival organizers decided they wanted their music festival, and where they went in December 2016 to shoot their promotional hype video.

The company behind the festival was Fyre Media, cofounded by rapper Ja Rule and an entrepreneur named Billy McFarland. To advertise for the festival and shoot the promo video in the Bahamas, Fyre hired Jerry Media, a marketing agency behind the @F—Jerry Instagram account.

Jerry Media has faced tons of criticism for stealing jokes, and passing them as their own in posts on their @F—Jerry Instagram account. Jerry Media also helped to produce the Netflix documentary about Fyre Festival.

For the promo video, the Fyre team pulled out all the stops and spared no expense to shoot footage that would lure potential customers to buy tickets for Fyre Festival.

The team brought out multiple yachts, a private plane, and dozens of A-list celebrities to Saddleback Cay for the promo shoot.

Source: Netflix

The Fyre team flew out some of the most influential and recognizable supermodels in the world to be included in the shoot, such as Emily Ratajkowski, Alessandra Ambrosio, and Bella Hadid.

Source: Netflix

The role of the film crews was simple: “capture everything.” Multiple film crews were brought in for the shoot: one team to follow the models, and another to capture the work and conversations of McFarland and his Fyre team.

Source: Netflix

The Fyre team was specific in the shots they wants: boats gliding through the water in a V-formation, models swimming underwater, and celebrities dancing around a bonfire.

Source: Netflix

The team even made sure to shoot the models with some of the feral pigs known to inhabit an island in the Bahamas — though not even on the same island where the video was shot.

The goal of the shoot was simple: to make Fyre Festival seem like an exclusive party with a crew of beautiful people that you wouldn’t want to miss.

However, the promo video landed the Fyre team in hot water. The team decided to mention the island was once owned by drug lord Pablo Escobar, something the Bahamian authorities specifically asked them not to do in their promotion.

Source: Netflix

However, Saddleback Cay was never owned by Escobar. Its neighboring island, Norman’s Cay, is known for being part of Escobar’s drug smuggling route, but that’s the closest association that could be made to the Colombian kingpin.

Source: Forbes

The Bahamas banned Fyre from using Saddleback soon after, leaving the organizers only six to eight weeks to find somewhere else in the Bahamas for Fyre Festival. The team was able to secure a spot on Great Exuma, one of the Bahamas’ bigger islands.

Source: Netflix

The area of Great Exuma that Fyre chose was a deserted area called Rokers Point Settlement. It’s located nearby a massive Sandals resort.

Source: Netflix, Sandals

However, the new festival location was nothing like the picturesque views of Saddleback Cay seen in the promotional video.

Instead, Roker’s Point Settlement was an unfinished housing development under construction, with concrete slabs on the ground and dangerous drops into a water basin.

Even more, Fyre distorted the look of Roker’s Point in further promotional material. To echo its earlier promise Fyre Festival would be held on a private island, Fyre altered its venue map to make it appear as if Roker’s Point was an island, instead of a part of Great Exuma.

Source: Netflix

However, that became the least of Fyre’s problems in the weeks leading up to the festival. The team was wholly unprepared to fulfill its promises of a luxury music festival.

Attendees — who paid anywhere from $1,200 to $12,000 per ticket — came to the Bahamas expecting a music festival. Instead, upon getting to the festival site, they were met with chaos, confusion, and views that looked nothing like the ads or the promo video.

Source: Business Insider

Instead of luxury tents, guests were shown emergency hurricane tents and had to fight to get mattresses to sleep on.

Source: Business Insider

Guests were promised gourmet catered food from top chefs. Instead, they were fed cheese sandwiches as they sat stranded on the island.

Source: Business Insider

Attendees were left to scramble to find flights back home, and Fyre Festival was canceled hours after the first concert-goers saw the reality that was the event. Fyre Festival has since become a term referring to events that have ended in massive failure and scams.

Source: Business Insider

However fake Fyre Festival was, the island used for promoting the event is still there. Saddleback Cay can be yours for $11.8 million.

Source: HG Christie

Watch the Fyre Festival teaser video released in January 2017 ahead of the event, filmed on Saddleback Cay:

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