United States: Fyre Festival – The Music Festival That Never Was

It is Monday June 5, 2017 at 3 p.m., which means Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals is just hours away, and sound checks for CMA Fest have already begun to fill the air in downtown Nashville. For Nashville, this week means sellout crowds, packed bars, and country music everywhere you turn. Tens of thousands of people view this as a great week to get downtown and experience the free concerts, cowboy boots, and exciting atmosphere. As the sound waves reverberate throughout the city, it hit me...What if CMA Fest got cancelled?

No, I certainly do not want CMA Fest to get cancelled, but the idea of tens of thousands of people buying tickets to a music festival that all of a sudden calls it quits raises some questions about potential legal recourse.

Instead of speculating about what would happen if CMA Fest got cancelled, let's take a look at the recent Fyre Festival, which was over before it even began. Fyre Festival was advertised as a "once-in-a-lifetime" concert, similar to the the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Fyre Festival promised a luxury island concert, but quickly devolved into an event described as "closer to the Hunger Games than Coachella."1 Instead of arriving to modern luxury villas and private coral reefs, as advertised, festival goers found a half-built festival village, wooden stalls, piles of garbage, portable lavatories, and even feral dogs.

Fyre Fest was supposed to up the ante in the competitive festival market. Instead, Fyre Fest has become a punch line for its aborted opening, with reports of panicked millennials scrounging for makeshift shelter on a dark beach. With festival goers paying between $4,000 and $12,000 for tickets, the failed event left festival goers angry and anxious for retribution. It didn't take long for the first lawsuit to come rolling in, alleging breach of contract and negligent misrepresentation, among other claims. Complaints allege that Fyre Festival was promoted as a posh, island-based music festival featuring first class culinary experiences and a luxury atmosphere. Instead, festival goers were lured into what various media outlets have since labeled a "complete disaster," "mass chaos," and a "post-apocalyptic nightmare."

With these lawsuits in mind, one might wonder what must be proven in order to recover under claims such as negligent misrepresentation and breach of contract. In Tennessee, in order to "succeed on a claim for negligent misrepresentation, a plaintiff must establish that the defendant supplied information to the plaintiff; the information was false; the defendant did not exercise reasonable care in obtaining or communicating the information and the plaintiffs justifiably relied on the information." Walker v. Sunrise Pontiac-GMC Truck, Inc., 249 S.W.3d 301, 304 (Tenn. 2008).

Here, the organizers of Fyre Fest ("defendants") promised festival goers ("plaintiffs") a private island, five-star cuisine, luxury living quarters and attendance by celebrities and top-level musical talent. However, as the weekend continued, all of the representations made by the defendants apparently proved to be completely false. The defendants promoted this event vigorously through various social media outlets such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, using celebrities such as Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, and Emily Ratajkowski. Based on the lack of preparation for the event, it will likely be argued that the defendants did not have reasonable grounds for believing their representations regarding Fyre Fest were true when the defendants made them. Lastly, based on the representations by defendants, plaintiffs purchased tickets and attempted to attend the festival. Therefore, a claim for negligent misrepresentation could be successful against Fyre Fest organizers.

As for the plaintiffs' breach of contract claims, in Tennessee, "[t]he essential elements of a breach of contract claim...include (1) the existence of an enforceable contract, (2) nonperformance amounting to a breach of the contract, and (3) damages caused by the breach of the contract." C & W Asset Acquisition, LLC v. Oggs, 230 S.W.3d 671, 677 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2007).

Here, the plaintiffs entered into a contract with defendants to provide a luxury festival experience in exchange for money. Plaintiffs provided payment in consideration for the defendants' promise to provide lavish accommodations, top-tier cuisine, and A-level musical talent. Instead, defendants apparently breached the contract by providing accommodations inferior to those afforded in prisons, bread and cheese sandwiches, and no musical acts. Plaintiffs expended thousands of dollars on tickets and travel accommodations and, after defendants failed to perform, thousands of dollars on emergency travel plans to leave the event. Based on the facts, festival goers appear to have a strong argument in support of their breach of contract claims against Fyre Fest organizers.

While Fyre Fest organizers seem to have gotten themselves into hot water by failing to adequately prepare for the event, CMA Fest organizers consistently pull off a great show year after year, and they have made it clear that they are prepared for anything.  In fact, event staff recently continued to work through a torrential downpour to set up stages and conduct sound checks.  Let's be glad CMA Fest always seems to go off without a hitch. Could you imagine 90,000 angry country music fans stomping down Broadway in their cowboy boots after being told CMA Fest has been cancelled? I can, and I'll tell you, it doesn't end well.


1 Fyre Festival organizers sued after failed 'once-in-a-lifetime' event, ABC News (2017), http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-02/fyre-festival-organisers-sued-after-failed-event/8489068 (last visited Jun 7, 2017).

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

*** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.