Music event canceled over security, fraud concerns; compared to Fyre fest fiasco
A three-day concert in Belgium that was slated to feature stars like Cardi B, Jason Derulo and Ja Rule abruptly ended before it began Friday over fraud concerns, leading to comparisons with the failed Fyre Festival, the 2017 music bash that left guests stranded with no food or accommodations in the Bahamas.
Thousands of people who bought tickets for the VestiVille festival in Lommel — a city on the border with the Netherlands — were moved out of the campsite by police before festivities got underway. Organizers said the event was canceled because of security issues in consultation with rapper A$AP Rocky.
“It was decided that the safety of the artist and the public could not be guaranteed,” they said on the festival’s Facebook page.
On Friday, the rapper tweeted that he pulled out of the concert because of “security and infrastructure concerns.” The line-up also included Meek Mill, Nicky Jam, Trey Songz and Future, among others.
Prosecutors have opened an investigation into the event on suspicion of fraud over payments, according to Belgium’s RTBF network. Three festival organizers were questioned Friday night, the network said. Security issues were not included in the investigation.
The event Facebook page said organizers would consult with their partners about possible refunds.
An email query to the festival from Fox News was not immediately returned Saturday.
Fyre Festival co-founder Ja Rule was scheduled to perform at VestiVille on Saturday. He has denied any fraud related to the first fiasco and was not charged. That event was plagued with numerous problems, including a lack of funding, lodging, food and transportation.
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Co-founder Billy McFarland, 26, was sentenced to six years in prison after admitting to defrauding investors of $26 million and $100,000 in a separate ticket-selling scam. The disaster spawned documentaries on Netflix and Hulu.
VestiVille billed itself as the “gateway to an Urban Oasis of Music, art and wonder.” It offered luxury VIP villas, a private beach and red carpet treatment.
Festival-goers compared both failed events on Twitter and posted videos of themselves giving impromptu music performances on an empty, elaborate stage.
“Coincidence? I think not #vestiville,” tweeted one user, accompanied with photos of tents at VestiVille and the Fyre Festival.
“Did #Vestiville organisers watch the Fyre Festival documentary and thought: Challenge accepted, let’s make the European edition,” posted another.