Last Spring, Fyre Festival was supposed to revolutionize party-going with its promises of luxurious amenities and rubbing elbows with celebrities.
However, as we all now know, the end product couldn’t be further from the truth, as the island that Fyre was located on lacked all the basic amenities: lodging, food, water, etc. Millennials showed up expecting days of sunshine and alcohol and ended up with hours of fright and confusion.
Now, a year after the world’s most infamous music festival, the chickens have come home to roost for Billy McFarland and the rest of the Fyre Festival brass.
On Tuesday, March 6, McFarland admitted in court that he defrauded investors when creating Fyre Festival and pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court to two counts of wire fraud.
Each count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Fyre Festival had been scheduled to take place last spring, with tickets costing up to $250,000 a person for one weekend. Thousands were expected to attend, and the event was marketed to millennials on social media as “the cultural experience of the decade.” Instead, concertgoers arrived to a logistical meltdown, resulting in the festival’s abrupt cancellation.
In raising money for Fyre Festival, Mr. McFarland caused at least 80 investors and a ticket vendor to lose a total of more than $26 million, the government said. Mr. McFarland said in court that he came up with the idea for the concert as a way to promote a digital app he had launched in 2016 through Fyre Media Inc. The app was envisioned to allow people to book music artists for concerts.
To secure funding for the festival, Mr. McFarland admitted to lying to investors about the financial condition of Fyre Media. He tricked one ticket vendor into buying an advance block of tickets for $2 million by providing company statements that grossly inflated its revenue and income, according to prosecutors.
McFarland is scheduled to be sentenced on June 21.