Fraudster relaunches Fyre Festival from behind bars with $8,000 tickets

Billy McFarland
Billy McFarland was jailed for defrauding investors and committing wire fraud aftre the collapse of the Fyre Festival in 2017 - Mark Lennihan/AP

The ill-fated Fyre Festival has been re-launched after its fraudster co-founder devised a $7,999-a-ticket come back while behind bars.

Undaunted by the spectacular collapse of the original venture in 2017, Billy McFarland drew up his scheme to bring the event back while in solitary confinement and is now promoting the event on social media.

“Fyre Festival II is finally happening. Tell me why you should be invited,” he said in a Twitter post.

Billed as the greatest party that never was, the chaos surrounding the original Fyre Festival was the subject of documentaries on both Netflix and Hulu.

The event was organised by McFarland and rapper Ja Rule in 2016.

Promise of ultimate festival

They promised the ultimate music festival, which was due to take place on Norman’s Cay, a private island in the Bahamas once owned by Pablo Escobar.

It was hyped by influencers including supermodels Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid and Chanel Iman.

Attendees were promised “two transformative weekends” at an “immersive musical festival” offering “the best in food, art, music and adventure”. The cheapest tickets started at $500 with VIP packages costing an eye-watering $12,000.

Nearly all the tickets were sold in just 24 hours.

The reality, however, was rather different. In April 2017, festival goers were dropped off on Great Exuma – the largest of the cays in the Bahamas, rather than an exclusive desert island.

Accommodation was provided in the form of sodden tents and the best food offering turned out to be a cheese sandwich.

Festival goers were provided with tents instead of the luxury accommodation promised
Festival goers were provided with tents instead of the luxury accommodation promised

The festival collapsed and a blizzard of litigation followed. McFarland was jailed for defrauding investors and committing wire fraud. He was released in May last year after serving four years behind bars.

New venture announced

Last November, he appeared on Good Morning America and admitted he had let people down.

But a matter of months after his mea culpa, McFarland – wearing AirPods and a plush white dressing gown – announced his new venture in a video.

“This is a big day,” he said.

“It has been the absolute wildest journey to get here, and it really all started during a seventh-month stint in solitary confinement. I wrote out this 50-page plan of how it would take this overall interest and demand in Fyre and how it would take my ability to bring people from around the world together to make the impossible happen.”

The Fyre re-run is set to take place in December next year. The festival’s line-up has not yet been announced.

On Tuesday, McFarland said the first “drop” of tickets for the event had sold out.

“All ticket sale revenue will be held in escrow until the final date is announced,” he added.