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McFarland ‘testing the interest’ in Fyre sequel

The shamed entrepreneur has given his first interview since teasing the potential return of the infamous event

By James Hanley on 19 Apr 2023

Billy McFarland

Billy McFarland

Fyre Festival co-founder Billy McFarland has given his first interview on the potential return of the event.

The shamed entrepreneur appeared on CNN This Morning to address the notorious 2017 festival and his 2018 wire fraud conviction, as well as the reaction to his recent tweet claiming a Fyre sequel is in the works.

“Fyre Festival II is finally happening. Tell me why you should be invited,” the 31-year-old tweeted last week.

Speaking to CNN anchor Don Lemon yesterday (18 April), McFarland said he was simply “testing the interest” in a follow-up, with no plans currently in place.

“I put out a tweet a week ago just to really test the waters and see is there still appetite for this idea after six years,” he said. “It’s already been six years. And the response has been insane.

“We have not scheduled a festival. There is no Fyre Festival II on the books at this point. We are literally just testing the interest in the concept. And I think the whole world saw how wild that went with one tweet and the response has been great. And it just leads me to try to find the best partners first.”

He continued: “It’s really about figuring out what I am good at, focusing on the marketing, focusing on bringing people together, and then just getting help so I don’t have to touch the areas where I should not be touching.”

“The overall goal is to pay everybody back while still doing something incredible”

Fans paid between $1,500 and $50,000 to attend the inaugural 2017 festival on the island of Grand Exuma in the Bahamas, with the promise of luxury accommodation, gourmet food and music, only for the event to spectacularly collapse on its first day, as ticket-holders arrived to find half-built tents, insufficient food and a dearth of performers.

McFarland was jailed in 2018 and fined US$26 million for his role in the debacle, pleading guilty to defrauding investors and running a fraudulent ticketing scam.

“The overall goal is to pay everybody back while still doing something incredible,” he said. “I think the first time around, I just didn’t understand the magnitude of the vision and probably, more importantly, the magnitude of the logistics that were required to execute that. And I need to go about it completely differently this time around.

“Since getting out of jail I’ve just been looking at what opportunities I have to pay people back and I have been pitched on every iteration of a Fyre Festival from a local nightclub all the way up to a sovereign wealth fund.”

Fyre Festival was immortalised in two documentaries, Hulu’s Fyre Fraud and Netflix’s Fyre: The Greatest Party that Never Happened, which delved into what went on behind the scenes.

“I’ve had years in prison to think about this and I have two options,” added McFarland. “I could crawl in a hole and admit that everything I did was wrong, which is totally fair, or I can at least try. And I might not succeed and I might fail but I’m going to fail or succeed honestly, and I believe that’s how I can find pride.”

It was revealed last November that McFarland is to star in new documentary After the Fyre, a partnership between content creator Fremantle and production house AMPLE Entertainment. After the Fyre will accompany McFarland as he re-emerges in the outside world and returns to the Bahamas to launch a treasure hunt called PYRT, after serving four years of his six-year prison sentence.


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