Fyre Festival organizers spend more money to pamper its celebrity performers and model endorsers than for actual preparations needed for the event.
The music festival, which was supposed to be a luxury version of Coachella or Glastonbury was last year's biggest joke. It hired social media influencers like Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski, Hailey Baldwin, and Bella Thorne to promote it. However, instead of paradise, guests arrived at a dystopian nightmare, where there was neither running water nor even lavatories.
Organizers eventually canceled the event, leaving guests who already arrived at the Bahamas island location stranded. The event, which promised luxurious accommodation, models, celebrities, and A-list performers, sold tickets for $4,000 up to $12,000.
Mismanagement Of Funds
Last year, Billy McFarland, the co-founder of Fyre Media that was behind the event, was arrested in New York City for wire fraud charges. The young entrepreneur allegedly misrepresented the financial status of his business in order to take investment deals.
The court documents acquired by the press reveals that McFarland wasted $150,000 to pay for a yacht for the festival's headliners Blink-182. The rock band canceled their appearance days before the festival.
pic.twitter.com/lMjXQSMPqC — blink-182 (@blink182) April 27, 2017
Migos, Lil Yachty, Major Lazer, and Disclosure were also initially billed to perform.
The documents also detail that McFarland spent $18,208 on towels and another $260,000 on the carpet for the "tent city," which many guests compared to a refugee camp. Consequently, he left no budget for running water or any of the luxuries promised to the paying guests.
"There was gross mismanagement and a general misunderstanding of how events like this unfold and that purchases weren't being vetted," said a source familiar with the case.
The source added that McFarland had no plans to scam people, but the young entrepreneur clearly did not know what he was doing. The source called McFarland a "millennial gone wild."
Rapper Ja Rule, co-founder of Fyre Media, was not charged with any offense. He was, however, named as a defendant in many of the civil lawsuits filed against McFarland and his company.
Fyre Festival Founder Pleads Guilty
McFarland, who appeared in court on Tuesday, March 6, has pleaded guilty to misleading investors and wire fraud, CNBC reports. The young entrepreneur said that he engaged in fraudulent behavior and is accepting full responsibility for the actions that led to the disaster that was the Fyre Festival. He also admitted that he "grossly underestimated" the cost of producing a massive music festival.
According to reports, his lawyers and the prosecutors have reached a settlement wherein McFarland gets to spend 97 to 120 months in jail but the final say is up to the presiding judge. The young entrepreneur could face up to 40 years in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for June 21.