Fyre Fes­ti­val pro­moter sen­tenced to six years in prison

Lodi News-Sentinel - - SPORTS - By Ger­rick D. Kennedy

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.

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