More than a year has passed since the made out to be luxurious Fyre Festival came crashing down as a complete disaster. The disaster festival which was supposed to occur over two separate weekends on April and May 2017 lead to founder Billy McFarland being subject to more than ten lawsuits; and, as of this month a final verdict against McFarland was reached. As Fyre Festival comes to a full circle, here is a recap of everything that occurred:
In December of 2016, all forms of social media started going into a frenzy when well-known influencers and a-list celebrities such as Kendall Jenner, Emily Ratajkowski, and Bella Hadid started flooding their accounts with posts of a glamorous festival which was to be held at the Bahamas. Following strategically obtaining everyone’s attention on social media, the infamous teaser video was released depicting Fyre Festival to be giving Coachella and Burning Man a run for their money with this festival being held on the island of Grand Exumas. McFarland and co(n)founder Ja Rule were promising the best of the best in places to stay, entertainment, and food by famous chefs and festival goers were eating it up. Tickets were selling for sky high prices of up to $250,000 not including a wristband that money would be transferred to and used as a form of payment. News leaks of headliners such as Major Lazer, Disclosure, Migos, and Kendall Jennar confirmed G.O.O.D. Music family were being spread.
Fast forwarding to early March 2017, a month away from the festivals first weekend, the first public signs of trouble appear. Fyre festivals performers did not receive their payments on time, logistics on the amount of funds needed compared to their current assets were not adding up, and goers were not receiving any form of communications. Days before the festival was supposed to commence, investors began pulling out of the deal as Fyre failed at providing financial information. Multiple headliners were still considered TBA and the ones guaranteed, were no longer performing. On April 27th , Fyre festivals attendees started arriving at Exumas for the first weekend of the festival to find it was basically a deserted island. The promised luxurious villas were FEMA tents, world class cooking was cheese sandwiches, and not one performer there. All in bound flights got canceled, with the Exumas airport being completely overcrowded and going into chaos leaving many people stranded. Knowing all of this is occurring, and as pictures of the islands current state are flooding the internet… tickets for the second weekend were still being sold.
It was not until the following day that Fyre Festival issued a statement on twitter of the festival being postponed and them attempting to bring the goers home. Although Ja Rule released a public apology, McFarland simply stated they were a little bit naive. The disaster festival led to back to back hundreds of million dollar class action lawsuits, accusations of breach of contract, charges of negligence, fraud, violating consumer protection rights, and more. In March of 2018, McFarland plead guilty to two counts of wire fraud followed by two more charges of wire and bank fraud in July. Being described as “the consummate con artist” and including his scams from his previous company Magnus Credit Card, prosecutors were seeking a sentence of 15 to 20 years. On Thursday, October 11th McFarland was sentenced to six years in federal prison convicted with defrauding $24.7 million from investors and pending litigations.