Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 July 2019

You can now buy the private island featured in Fyre Festival's promotional videos – for $11.8 million

Saddleback Cay, featured in the infamous promotional material for the failed event, is up for sale

Saddleback Cay boasts seven beaches, a 500-square foot main house and a number of cottages spread over its 47 acres. YouTube.
Saddleback Cay boasts seven beaches, a 500-square foot main house and a number of cottages spread over its 47 acres. YouTube.

The island became infamous in a widely shared promotional video for a festival that never materialised, but the Bahamas' Saddleback Cay remains a prime piece of real estate – and now it could be yours.

The island has just been listed on the market for $11.8 million (Dh43.3m). Real estate company HG Christie, which specialises in luxury properties in the Bahamas, is handling the sale.

Festival-goers bought tickets in the belief they would be staying in luxury accommodation on Saddleback Cay, but instead they arrived to Great Exuma, one of 365 islands in the Exuma district of the Bahamas. And the rest, they say, is history.

Saddleback Cay has seven beaches, a 460-square-metre main house and a number of cottages spread over its 19 hectares. It's been described on the listing as having several prime fishing spots and a nearby sandbank that appears twice a day with the falling tides. It also has its own airstrip.

Ja Rule (left) and Fyre Festival organiser Billy McFarland. Courtesy Netflix
Ja Rule (left) and Fyre Festival organiser Billy McFarland. Courtesy Netflix

The island was featured In the Fyre Festival promotional video, the first installment of the elaborate scam, with its sweeping shots of private jets, clear-blue waters and celebrity guests. International supermodels including Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner were pictured frolicking about in the azure waters. The video teased a deluxe weekend music festival set over two weekends featuring headlining artists Blink-182 and Migos.

However, when ticket holders flew out from Miami at the end of April 2017 for the festival, they arrived instead on Great Exuma. They were greeted with piles of mattresses, disaster-relief tents, sub-par catering, and to make matters worse, each of the promised 30 international acts had already pulled out of performing. Attendees soon left the island, with the festival postponed indefinitely.

The festival was the ill-fated brainchild of entrepreneur Billy McFarland, chief executive of Fyre Media Inc, and rapper Ja Rule. McFarland was convicted on numerous counts of fraud in October 2018 for his part in the scam. He is serving a 6-year jail sentence and has been ordered to pay $26 million in restitution.

Two documentaries about the festival have aired this year from streaming services Netflix (Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened) and Hulu (Fyre Fraud), further boosting the island’s profile.

Perhaps the controversy surrounding Fyre Festival could boost buyer interest. Only time will tell.

Updated: July 4, 2019 03:04 PM

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