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Ja Rule’s ‘luxury’ island music festival turns into ‘disaster tent city,’ attendees say

Ja Rule’s now-postponed ultra-luxurious Fyre Festival in the Bahamas, is being called a “complete disaster” with headlining bands pulling out of the celebrity-endorsed event.

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Some attendees called the event a “disaster tent city” where “mass chaos (reigned).”

The luxury music festival created by rapper Ja Rule and entrepreneur Billy McFarland was supposed to bring an opulent party to the Bahamas April 28-30. Tickets started at $4,000 and went all the way up to 12-person VIP package for $250,000. Supposedly on tap: private beaches and tunes from Blink-182, Major Lazer, the G.O.O.D. Music crew, Migos, Lil Yachty and more.

However, the now-”fully postponed” festival immediately ran into a host of difficulties, according to Fader, with reported non-fun things including:

  • Delayed flights
  • Lost luggage
  • Lack of food
  • Half-built tents
  • Blink-182 pulling out on Thursday night
  • Canceled flights for those not already on the island where the festival was to be held

Attendees took to social media late Thursday disappointed and disgruntled about the lack of organization.

Listen to Black Fast's Cover of Thin Lizzy's 'Thunder and Lightning': Exclusive Premiere

The title track from Thin Lizzy's 1983 Thunder and Lightning LP gets a suitably aggressive homage from Black Fast with the St. Louis metal quartet's latest release.

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Concert fans angry as hyped Bahamas festival is canceled

Organizers of a much-hyped music festival in the Bahamas canceled the weekend event at the last minute Friday after many people had already arrived and spent thousands of dollars on tickets and travel.

Fyre Festival organizers announced the cancellation of what they previously billed as a "once-in-a-lifetime" concert along the lines of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Southern California. People had already begun arriving in the Exuma islands for the first of two weekends that was to include performances by Blink-182 and others.

A statement cited "circumstances out of our control," for their inability to prepare the "physical infrastructure" for the event in the largely undeveloped Exumas. Photos published on social media showed tents, wooden stalls and portable lavatories had been brought in for the festival, which was produced by a partnership that includes rapper Ja Rule.

"I'm heartbroken at this moment," Ja Rule, whose real name is Jeffrey Atkins, said on Twitter. "I wanted this to be an amazing event. It was not a scam as everyone is reporting."

The organizers said they were working to arrange charter flights to Miami for people who had already arrived in Exuma and said inbound flights had been canceled. "I don't know how everything went so left but I'm working to make it right," the rapper said.

The Fyre Festival had promised "culinary delights and luxury" over this weekend and the second one in May. Organizers had relied on models and other minor celebrities to heavily promote the festival as a glitzy destination event. It was unclear from the website if the second weekend would also be canceled.

The Bahamas tourism ministry had expected it to be one of the largest such events ever held in the island chain east of Florida. But attendees complained bitterly in social media posts about disorganization, a lack of accommodations and inadequate food.

King Crimson Include David Bowie Cover on New Live EP

King Crimson leader Robert Fripp pays tribute to his old friend and collaborator David Bowie on the band's upcoming live EP, which includes a recent cover of Bowie's classic "Heroes." Continue reading…

Harry Styles announces fall world tour ahead of solo album

Harry Styles has announced a world tour ahead of the release of his first solo album.

The former One Direction singer opens the fall tour in San Francisco on Sept. 19. The North American leg wraps up in Phoenix on Oct. 14. Styles will visit Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Toronto and other cities.

Styles will also visit Europe, Singapore and Australia before wrapping the tour in Tokyo on Dec. 8.

Styles made the announcement on social media Friday. Styles' self-titled solo debut is set for release May 12.

Jazz Fest kicks off with hometown favorites Connick, Neville

Thousands of music fans descended on the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival on Friday to see some hometown favorites who've made their mark nationally.

Pianist, vocalist and New Orleans native Harry Connick Jr. closed out the festival's largest venue while Aaron Neville's distinctive voice shut down the Blues Tent.

Attendee Nancy Davis and her husband, Richard Ashmore — whom she met at Jazz Fest in 1985 — arrived before dawn to celebrate the anniversary of their meeting and her 40th year of "festing," she told The Advocate ( ).

Her first festival in 1977 was memorable, she said, because she managed to see performances by both Ella Fitzgerald and Stevie Wonder.

"You just can't beat it," Davis said. She said she attends all seven days of the festival every single year. "I'm hooked."

Laura Valliant, 64, and about 30 other people meet for breakfast at the same restaurant each year before the festival opens.

"Once a year, you just see people that you don't see the rest of the year, and it's like a family reunion," said Valliant, who also goes to the festival every day it's open. "There's the music and the food, but it's really about the people."

But the music is the thing for close friends Sandi Gumpert, 46, and Susan Parker, 61, who have been attending Jazz Fest together for more than a decade.

Gumpert said she was wanted to see Johnny Sansone, one of the first acts scheduled Friday morning. But she probably didn't manage to hear every song because of her personal goal of "1.75 bph" — seeing 1.75 bands per hour.

"I always try to go see new people," she said, while sipping a Bloody Mary.

"The diversity is fabulous," Parker said.

Packed crowds for some of the bigger acts often draw the most complaints from attendees. But there was room for spectators as Connick started his closing act and as Nas began to perform with his guests, the Soul Rebels

The seven-day festival wraps over two weekends, ending May 7. Besides 11 stages of music, the fest this year features a cultural exchange area dedicated to Cuba that will have music, foods and crafts from the country.

Brad Paisley wanted fans to listen, so he shot a movie

Brad Paisley will do anything to get fans to listen to an entire album front to back, even shoot an hour-long visual album featuring Mick Jagger, Timbaland, John Fogerty and an unfinished Johnny Cash song.

The Grammy-winning country singer, songwriter and guitarist spent less than a month shooting sequences for each one of the 15 songs on his new record, "Love and War," to make what he's calling the first visual album in country music. The video is available for streaming on Apple Music on Friday (the album was released last week).

"I am a big fan of this art form called an album," Paisley said during an interview Wednesday at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tennessee, where he screened the visual album for the first time for fans. "I have a lot to say and I can't say it in 10 songs."

Paisley is not aiming to compete with Beyonce's powerful "Lemonade," which combined songs and videos into a visually stunning and complex musical project, which Paisley said he hasn't even watched in its entirety. After finishing his record, Paisley thought he could create a story line out of his song sequence.

"Basically we used the album as a script," Paisley said. "There's chapters. There's couplets."

Paisley pulled together an army of people to accomplish the task in the short time frame and included scenes shot on an aircraft carrier, in a shopping mall, at a burnt church, at the Grand Ole Opry and in his home town square with hundreds of extras. He included cameos from his actress wife, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, for a "Stranger Things"-inspired sequence, as well as David Hasselhoff and KITT the car from "Knight Rider."

Jeff Venable, one of the directors on the visual album, said Paisley himself would spend all night helping to finish the editing or shooting scenes in between his gigs.

"There were some days where we shot three videos in a day," Venable said. "The most amazing thing about Brad on camera is I have never seen him miss a note on the solos. And that is crazy to me."

The video highlights Paisley's natural on-camera charisma and his ease at transitioning through multiple topics, such as playing the comedian in a funny segment about our selfie-obsessed culture but also wielding enough gravitas to call out the lack of support for veterans in another section.

"One of those without the other is either too light or too dark," Paisley said of his song choices on the album. "It's a Skywalker balance kind of thing."

Finding common ground is Paisley's specialty. When hit-making producer Timbaland came into the studio with Paisley, they found their middle ground was bluegrass. On the Jagger-Paisley co-written "Drive of Shame," the impact that the Rolling Stones had on country music was the underlying thread.

"They are the greatest rock band in the world and a top five country one," Paisley said. "I didn't have to change at all because I have been ripping them off since I first started."




Follow Kristin M. Hall at

Former Jefferson Starship Bandmates Headed to Court

Former Jefferson Starship guitarist Craig Chaquico is suing to prevent two former bandmates from continuing to perform under the group's name.

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Making new album an emotional rollercoaster for Mary J.

Mary J. Blige may be spitting fireball lyrics about her soon-to-be ex-husband on her new album, but the songs didn't start from a place of anger and hate.

It began with hope.

"This album ... (was) written from the perspective of me fighting for my marriage. And then when it all blew up in August, I had to start rewriting songs," Blige said in an interview this week.

The Grammy-winning icon said she spent months releasing her emotions and heartache on "Strength of a Woman," out Friday, which features a number of details about her very public breakup and ongoing court battle with her former manager and husband, Martin "Kendu" Isaacs.

"There was no moment where I felt like I was going to keep this in because it was way too much for me to handle on my own," said Blige, best known for her sad and painful songs. "These are things I needed to get out. I needed to express myself and so it hurt, but it's good. It's good."

On her 13th studio effort, the New Yorker does not mince words as she details the emotional ending of her nearly 13-year marriage and makes claims of lies and infidelity. Blige filed for divorce from Isaacs last July, citing irreconcilable differences. She also asked a court to deny Isaacs spousal support.

"There is no happy ending right now because we're in the thick of it," said Blige of her divorce settlement. "We're in the midst of all this foolishness and until the divorce is final, this is where we are. But I'm going to smile and have people make me smile and love myself and not give up."

Grammy-nominated singer Jazmine Sullivan, who has written for Blige, Jennifer Hudson and other R&B stars, said writing for Blige's new album was an emotional rollercoaster because as Blige's life changed, so did the songs they were crafting.

"The first single ('Thick of It') was different the first time I wrote it. She called me, she was in a different state and then as things started to change in her life, she had to call me again and kind of fill me in, and we had to make some changes to the song so it could fit where she was at that point," she said. "It actually started as kind of a happy, uplifting song because she was fighting for her marriage and trying to make it work, so it came from that point of view. Some months later she said things had changed, so we had to change the lyrics."

As with most heartache, Blige moves on to the revenge phase with songs like "Glow Up," where she teamed with Missy Elliott, DJ Khaled and Quavo from Migos to fire a warning shot: "You had this one coming," she sings. "You made me cry. Now it's your time."

In the deceptively smooth "Set Me Free," Blige sweetly croons, "There's a special place in hell for you. You gon' pay for what you did to me."

"I needed that moment. You know, I'm angry. I've been had," she said. "My music is therapeutic to me as well."

It's not all darkness and rage. Blige sings about finding love after heartbreak in "Smile" and teams with Kanye West for the empowering anthem "Love Yourself." And as the album title suggests, Blige certainly finds her strength through uplifting tracks like "Indestructible" and "Survivor."

"It's about knowing you're worthy and it's a process," she said. "I haven't come out the end yet. Not yet. Every day you have to remember to love yourself. ... I'm in the like myself (stage) really heavy. But to love yourself is (a) process, but I'm getting there."

Blige, 46, will take fans behind-the-scenes of the album when "Strength of a Woman: An Album Documentary" debuts May 2 on VH1.

The singer said her harrowing journey through pain and self-discovery has not left her without hope for the future. However, she may think twice before walking down the aisle.

"I haven't given up on love, but I definitely gave up on marriage for a while. I think I'm good on marriage for a while," she said.




Follow Nicole Evatt on Twitter at

Surprise! Izzy Stradlin Turns Up on John Mellencamp's New Album

This actually isn't the first time Izzy Stradlin has sat in with John Mellencamp, who shares his Indiana lineage.

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