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Fyre Fest founder McFarland sued by PYRT investor

Fyre Festival founder Billy McFarland is being sued by an investor in his new venture, PYRT.

Fans paid between $1,500 and $50,000 to attend the notorious festival, held on the island of Grand Exuma in the Bahamas in 2017, with the promise of luxury accommodation, gourmet food and music.

However, the event spectacularly collapsed on its first day, as ticket-holders arrived to find half-built tents, insufficient food and a dearth of performers upon arrival.

McFarland, 31, was jailed for fraud in 2018 and fined $26 million for his role in the festival, but announced plans to launch a treasure hunt called PYRT upon his early release last year.

Billboard reports that Jonathan Taylor, who met McFarland while both were serving prison sentences in Ohio, has filed a civil lawsuit claiming McFarland and his business partner Michael Falb agreed a deal which offered Taylor a one-third equity in PYRT in exchange for a $740,000.

Taylor alleges that McFarland and Falb reneged on their agreement and refused to return the money

However, Taylor alleges that McFarland and Falb later reneged on the agreement and refused to return the money, leading to his demand for $740,000 damages, along with statutory damages, punitive damages and attorneys’ fees.

The suit, filed in New York Supreme Court, states that McFarland will face legal action for civil fraud, conversion, civil conspiracy, breach of contract and unjust enrichment if he does not agree to repay the money to Taylor.

McFarland has not responded to requests for comment.

The disgraced entrepreneur announced plans to hold a sequel to Fyre Festival earlier this year, with the first batch of 100 tickets – priced at US$499 – selling out. A further six tiers of tickets, ranging between $799 and $7,999, are said to be “coming soon”.

The sequel’s location, date and line-up have not yet been confirmed, though the founder says it will take place in “the Caribbean” and that his unnamed partners are “targeting Fyre Festival 2 for the end of next year”.

 


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Playing with Fyre: First tickets for sequel sell out

The first 100 tickets for the sequel of the infamous Fyre Fest have sold out, despite a baptism of fire during its first edition in 2017.

Developed by Billy McFarland, the inaugural festival Fyre Fest was originally set to run over two weekends on a private beach in the Bahamas, with the promise of luxury accommodation, gourmet food and music.

However, the event spectacularly collapsed on its first day when 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 31-year-old – who was released from prison last year– announced the return of the festival earlier this year and tickets went on sale this morning.

“FYRE is about people from the around the world coming together to pull off the impossible”

Despite a lack of details about the second edition, the first 100 tickets – which were priced at US$499 – have been snapped up. A further six tiers of tickets, ranging between $799 and $7,999, are “coming soon”.

The sequel’s location, date and line-up have not yet been confirmed, though the founder says it will take place in “the Caribbean” and that his unnamed partners are “targeting Fyre Festival 2 for the end of next year”.

“Since 2016 FYRE has been the most talked about festival in the world. We now saw this convert to one of the highest priced GA [general admission] pre-sales in the industry,” tweeted McFarland.

“FYRE is about people from the around the world coming together to pull off the impossible. This time we have incredible support. I’ll be doing what I love while working with the best logistical and infrastructure partners. In addition, all ticket sale revenue will be held in escrow until the final date is announced. We look forward to surprising the world alongside our partners as we build FYRE and FYRE Festival II into the island adventure of a lifetime.”

In a video posted to his official TikTok account yesterday, McFarland said: “It has been the absolute wildest journey to get here, and it really all started during the seven-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 and make the impossible happen, how I would find the best partners in the world to allow me to be me while executing Fyre’s vision to the highest level…”

“It has been the absolute wildest journey to get here… it really all started during the seven-month stint in solitary confinement”

He added: “In the meantime, we’ll be doing pop-ups and events across the world. Guys, this is your chance to get in. This is everything I’ve been working towards. Let’s fucking go.”

In March this year, McFarland laid out his plans to repay the $26 million (£20.9 million) he owes to investors for the botched debut.

“Here’s how I’m going to pay it back: I spend half my time filming TV shows. The other half, I focus on what I’m really, really good at,” he said on Twitter. “I’m the best at coming up with wild creative, getting talent together, and delivering the moment.”

McFarland previously shared he plans on making a Broadway musical.

He made the announcement on TikTok and in an interview with journalist Adam Glyn. “Instead of like traditional Broadway actors, it’s going to be current music artists, combined with the Broadway format of the play — making fun of me, but also I think sharing some of the good sides as well,” he said of the planned musical, which he has dubbed Fyre Fest 1.5.

Last year, following his release from prison, McFarland also launched a Bahamas treasure hunt venture, called ‘PYRT’. The event was expected to be the subject of a not-yet-released documentary titled After The Fyre.

The press has been somewhat sceptical about a second iteration of the notorious event, with Rolling Stone’s headline on the announcement reading: “Fyre Festival II tickets are on sale now if you’re interested in lighting money on fire”.

 


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McFarland ‘testing the interest’ in Fyre sequel

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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Billy McFarland: ‘Fyre Festival II is happening’

Fyre Festival founder Billy McFarland has claimed a sequel to the notorious event is in the works.

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. However, the 31-year-old, who was released from prison last year, has taken to Twitter to announce the festival’s return.

“Fyre Festival II is finally happening. Tell me why you should be invited,” he posts.

“People aren’t getting paid back if I sit on the couch and watch TV”

The disgraced entrepreneur previously suggested his future was away from music as he attempted to raise the US$26m he owes to the investors he defrauded. But he now says: “It’s in the best interest of those I owe for me to be working.”

Adding that he has “served his time”, he tweets: “People aren’t getting paid back if I sit on the couch and watch TV.”

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.

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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Fyre Festival founder’s new project revealed

Notorious Fyre Festival founder Billy McFarland is to star in new documentary After the Fyre following his early release from prison.

The 30-year-old was jailed in 2018 and fined US$26 million for his role in the disastrous festival, pleading guilty to defrauding investors and running a fraudulent ticketing scam.

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

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 his new business venture, a treasure hunt called PYRT, after serving four years of his six-year prison sentence.

“Billy McFarland has re-emerged, energised and with an even more audacious plan than the last as he looks to clear his name and repay his debtors”

Principal photography has already started on the documentary, which will pick up where Hulu’s Fyre Fraud and Netflix’s Fyre: The Greatest Party that Never Happened left off in early 2019 and follow McFarland’s attempts to pay back the $26m he still owes.

“After a considerable amount of time in solitary, millennial’s favourite conman Billy McFarland has re-emerged, energised and with an even more audacious plan than the last as he looks to clear his name and repay his debtors,” says Harry Gamsu, Fremantle’s VP acquisitions. “This is the doc-sequel audiences have been crying out for and we’re delighted to have partnered with Ample to make it happen.”

McFarland teased PYRT last month in a since-deleted TikTok video, where he admitted to the shortcomings of the 2017 event.

 


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Fyre Fest founder teases new festival

Fyre Fest founder and convicted felon Billy McFarland is reportedly planning a new festival after his release from prison.

The 30-year-old received a six-year jail term in 2018 and a US$26 million fine for his role in the notorious festival, pleading guilty to defrauding investors and running a fraudulent ticketing scam.

Fans paid between $1,500 and $50,000 to attend the 2017 festival on the island of Grand Exuma in the Bahamas, with the promise of luxury accommodation, gourmet food and music from acts such as Blink-182, Major Lazer, Pusha T and Disclosure.

However, the event spectacularly collapsed on its first day, as ticket-holders arrived to find half-built tents, insufficient food and a dearth of performers upon arrival.

Yesterday (25 October), he posted a since-deleted TikTok video where he admitted to the shortcomings of the 2017 event before claiming to have another project in the works to make up for Fyre Fest.

McFarland revealed that the next update about his next event will come in November, adding that “everybody is invited”. He later posted a YouTube video that implies that a treasure hunt is coming.

The disgraced entrepreneur also posted a phone number which, when texted, the sender received two messages that said “Welcome to the Treasure Hunt! Drop your contact info to come on board,” and “You going to join the ship? Once you add yourself you get the first clue”.

Sources with “direct knowledge” told TMZ that McFarland is apparently creating another music festival, among other things.

Last month, in an interview with New York Times, following his early release from prison, McFarland said he’d “like to do something tech-based”.

Despite being barred from becoming a company director, McFarland does not rule out starting his own firm.

“At the end of the day, I think I could probably create the most value by building some sort of tech product,” he continued. “Whether that’s within a company or by starting my own company, I’m open to both. I’ll probably decide in the next couple of weeks which path to go do.”

 


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Fyre Fest founder speaks out after prison release

Fyre Festival founder and convicted fraudster Billy McFarland is planning a comeback following his release from prison.

The 30-year-old received a six-year jail term in 2018 and a US$26 million fine for his role in the notorious festival, pleading guilty to defrauding investors and running a fraudulent ticketing scam.

Fans paid between $1,500 and $50,000 to attend the 2017 festival on the island of Grand Exuma in the Bahamas, with the promise of luxury accommodation, gourmet food and music from acts such as Blink-182, Major Lazer, Pusha T and Disclosure.

However, the event spectacularly collapsed on its first day, as ticket-holders arrived to find half-built tents, insufficient food and a dearth of performers upon arrival.

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.

Now, in an interview with New York Times following his early release from prison, McFarland suggests his future lies away from music as he attempts to raise the US$26m he owes to the investors he defrauded.

“I lied. I think I was scared. And the fear was letting down people who believed in me – showing them they weren’t right”

“I’d like to do something tech-based,” says the disgraced entrepreneur. “The good thing with tech is that people are so forward-thinking, and they’re more apt at taking risk. If I worked in finance, I think it would be harder to get back. Tech is more open. And the way I failed is totally wrong, but in a certain sense, failure is OK in entrepreneurship.

“I lied,” he adds, discussing his crimes. “I think I was scared. And the fear was letting down people who believed in me – showing them they weren’t right.

“I deserved my sentence. I let a lot of people down.”

And despite being barred from becoming a company director, McFarland does not rule out starting his own firm.

“At the end of the day, I think I could probably create the most value by building some sort of tech product,” he continued. “Whether that’s within a company or by starting my own company, I’m open to both. I’ll probably decide in the next couple of weeks which path to go do.”

 


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Talent agencies embroiled in Fyre Fest lawsuit

A Fyre Festival trustee has filed a lawsuit against major talent agencies, demanding a return of fees paid to artists they represented to play in the failed event.

Multiple artists were paid to perform at the festival, at which no music was ever played, despite fans paying between $1,500 and $50,000 for tickets. Festival organiser Billy McFarland was later given a six-year prison sentence for fraud and ordered to pay a $23 million fine.

A festival trustee is now attempting to sue Creative Artists Agency (CAA), United Talent Agency (UTA), ICM Partners and Nue Agency for a collective sum of over US$1.75m.

New York’s Nue Agency is facing the greatest amount, with the trustee reportedly asking for the return of $730,000 paid to Pusha T, Desiigner and Tyga.

The lawsuit is also seeking $585,000 from CAA, who represent Fyre headliners Blink-182 in North America, Australia and Mexico. CAA is also reportedly being sued for the fees paid to Claptone, Bedouin (North America) and Lee Burridge (the Americas, Asia, Australia).

CAA, UTA, ICM Partners and Nue Agency are being sued for a collective sum of over $1.75m

The trustee is demanding $350,00 from LA-based ICM Partners for the fees paid to artists Lil Yachty (North America), Migos (North America) and Rae Sremmurd (now CAA), whereas UTA is being asked for the return of $90,000 paid to Skepta (North America).

The same individual has filed lawsuits against models Kendall Jenner and Emily Ratajkowski, for the $275,000 and $300,000 they were paid respectively for promoting the festival on Instagram with a “clear lack of good faith”.

Saddleback Cay, the Bahamian island featuring in much of Fyre Festival’s promotional material, has recently been put up for sale at $11.8m.

The trustee is also seeking to void the transfer of $14.4m from the festival to parent company Fyre Media, of which $11m was allegedly transferred to McFarland.

 


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Island of Fyre Festival fame up for sale

Saddleback Cay, the Bahamian island that served as the backdrop for the ill-fated Fyre Festival’s infamous promotional material, has been put up for sale at US$11.8 million.

The 35-acre private island is located in the northernmost section of the Exuma Cays, which contains Great Exuma, the actual setting for the festival.

Saddleback Cay appears in opening of a promotional video for the event, which shows Instagram models and influencers partying in the Bahamas.

Fyre Festival – billed as “the adventure of a lifetime” amid the “beautiful turquoise waters and idyllic beaches” of the Bahamas – spectacularly collapsed on its first day, with festivalgoers arriving on the island to find a half-built festival site and no sign of the luxury accommodation and dining included with their $1,500–$50,000 tickets.

The fallout from the festival and the demise of its fraudulent organiser, has been closely documented, with streaming service Netflix and Hulu each releasing documentaries about the event.

A GoFundMe page, set up for local caterers who were unpaid by organisers, has so far raised $231,754.


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Online fund raises over $100,000 for unpaid Fyre festival staff

The release of a Netflix documentary investigating the fraudulent Fyre Festival has sparked an online campaign to reimburse unpaid Bahamian workers who lost life savings in the Fyre fiasco.

A GoFundMe page set up by local catering staff who received no payment for their work with the festival has raised US$129,606 in just seven days. Almost 4,000 people have donated to the page which has almost met its $123,000 target.

The owners of a local restaurant that catered for Fyre Festival staff set up the page following the airing of a Netflix documentary on Friday. The film raised awareness for the many Bahamian workers left unpaid by organisers of the disastrous festival.

Maryann Rolle, owner of Exuma Point Restaurant Bar and Grill, explains in an interview for the documentary how she lost $50,000 of her life savings due to the festival’s failings.

“My life was changed forever, and my credit was ruined by Fyre Fest”

“It has been an unforgettable experience catering to the organisers of Fyre Festival. Back in April 2017 I pushed myself to the limit catering no less than a 1,000 meals per day,” writes Rolle on the GoFundMe page.

“As I make this plea it’s hard to believe and embarrassing to admit that I was not paid… I was left in a big hole! My life was changed forever, and my credit was ruined by Fyre Fest.”

The online fundraiser has verified the page, which has received the endorsement of the film’s producers.

Festival organiser and “serial fraudster”, Billy McFarland, received a six year prison sentence and US$26 million fine for his role in the festival, defrauding investors, fans and staff alike.

 


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