Fyre Festival promoter sentenced to six years in prison
A federal judge in Manhattan has sentenced Fyre Festival founder Billy McFarland to six years in prison on multiple counts of fraud in connection to the event, which promised music and opulence but instead went viral over its sensational collapse.
“The remorse I feel is crushing. I’ve lived every day with the weight of knowing that I literally destroyed the lives of my friends and family,” the 26-yearold reportedly said during Thursday’s hearing.
Hyped as “the cultural experience of the decade,” the firstever Fyre Festival was set for two consecutive weekends last spring on a remote island in the Bahamas that was once home to Pablo Escobar.
The young entrepreneur tapped rapper Ja Rule to craft the perfect event to lure millennials with lots of disposable income — ticket packages ranged from $1,500 to $250,000 — and active Instagram feeds.
Blink-182, Disclosure, Kaytranada, Migos, Rae Sremmurd, Tyga, Desiigner, Pusha T., Major Lazer and two dozen other acts were booked; more than $1 million in jewelry, cash and other goodies would be up for grabs in a treasure hunt; and organizers got Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid and a bevy of supermodels to promote the festival.
Yet guests arrived to unfinished grounds, mass disorganization, no luggage, no beer, food better suited for an elementary school sleep-away camp and the cancellation of headliner Blink182, with other artists — some of whom had yet to be paid — pulling out right after.
The plush villas that had been promised were actually the same type of tents the Federal Emergency Management Agency uses to bring relief to disaster-stricken areas. Shipping containers were strewn about the property; there wasn’t a single item for purchase inside the on-site general store. And flights into the island were canceled due to overcapacity, leaving guests stranded and seeking aid from the U.S. Embassy.