Attendees are calling this year’s Ultra Music Festival “Fyre Festival 2” after a chaotic night on Florida’s Virginia Key left many nearly stranded on the island. After Friday night’s final set ended around 2am, many of the festival’s roughly 50,000 attendees were stuck waiting hours for buses scheduled to shuttle them back to the mainland, with some concertgoers walking almost three miles across the Rickenbacker Causeway back to Miami.
While the festival had hired 200 buses to shuttle the concertgoers back to the city, long lines for the buses began to form around 1am, which later erupted into a stampede after a tree caught on fire. The cause of the fire is still unclear.
The festival was initially moved to Virginia Key after Ultra failed to renew their lease to operate in downtown Miami’s Bayfront Park. While the festival has used Bayfront Park without issue since 2016, this year’s relocation brought an emergency lawsuit from the island’s Brickell Home Owners Association, who challenged the city’s legitimacy in renting out the location to Ultra.
“Virginia Key is an utterly inappropriate venue for ULTRA,” filing lawyer David Winker told Billboard Dance earlier this month. “The City of Miami circumvented its own laws and disenfranchised its own citizens to force this deal through…a deal that is a disaster for the environment and our residents.”
While certainly disastrous, the night still pales in comparison to what happened at Fyre Festival. The event was most recently chronicled in two competing documentaries from Netflix and Hulu, each of which tell the story of the epic festival that never was, which resulted in founder and organizer Billy McFarland getting sentenced to six years in prison for two counts of wire fraud. Last year, McFarland was charged with two more counts of wire and bank fraud in connection with a Fyre Festival ticket scam called NYC VIP Access.
See some of the chaos from last night’s festival below and revisit our feature on Netflix and Hulu’s competing Fyre Festival documentaries.
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