BRUSSELS (AP) — A music festival in Belgium featuring major stars like rapper Cardi B came to a chaotic end before it had even started.
Security concerns were allegedly the reason behind the cancellation of the VestiVille festival in Belgium on Friday, though local officials have launched a fraud investigation.
That’s added a layer of confusion and rekindled memories of the Fyre Festival, the failed music bash in the Bahamas in 2017 that was brought to the world’s attention in a smash Netflix documentary earlier this year.
Videos posted on Twitter show an elaborate stage apparently ready for the three-day music fest on a campsite in Lommel, Belgium’s Flemish region.
But thousands of festival-goers from around Europe and elsewhere got a shock as police, some with dogs, moved in to try to keep them out of the grounds.
Belgium media said Saturday that the Limbourg prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation on suspicion of fraud over payments and quoted spokesman Jeroen Swijssen as saying three of the festival organizers were questioned Friday night.
The three were not identified.
An investigating judge was said to be questioning them further over the weekend on an array of suspicions including fraud, laundering and breach of trust.
VestiVille wrote on Facebook and Twitter on Friday that Lommel Mayor Bob Nijs stopped the festival on security grounds.
The posts said that after consulting security services and security for star rapper A$AP Rocky, “it was decided that the safety of the artist and the public could not be guaranteed.”
However, security issues were not currently included in the investigation.
There was no immediate response to an email query to VestiVille about alleged deficiencies and other potential problems behind the cancellation, which recalled the Fyre Festival debacle.
Rapper Ja Rule, a co-founder of Fyre Festival, was to perform Saturday at VestiVille.
He has denied any involvement in any fraud and has never been charged with any wrongdoing related to the failed enterprise.
Angry VestiVille festival-goers posted comparisons between the two festivals across social media. However, some tried to beat back disappointment with fun.