The Fyre Festival’s Problems Go Back Further Than the Actual Festival

The implosion of the Fyre Festival is the car crash that people can’t stop staring at. The New York Times explains:

A few days after the spectacular collapse of the Fyre Festival, just as federal investigators began to circle the wreckage, the event’s would-be mastermind, Billy McFarland, was still making promises. He was too caught up in the financial side of this idea, that anything other than that was not his priority. Maybe if he had just done thorough research into how to actually pull this off successfully or even looked into a site like, he might not have been in as much trouble as he is now. The idea of marketing is important, especially if you are looking to put on your very first festival. The success cannot just be based off what famous model will be attending.

His failed event was sold on social media by the likes of Kendall Jenner as an ultraluxurious musical getaway in the Bahamas. Scheduled for two weekends starting in late April, it was supposed to up the ante in the competitive festival market. Instead, Fyre had become a punch line for its aborted opening, with reports of panicked millennials scrounging for makeshift shelter on a dark beach.

Yet, speaking on May 2 with unnerved employees at his TriBeCa office — with its $30,000 sound system and frequent fashion-model visitors — Mr. McFarland deflected blame and vowed that Fyre would survive to mount another festival next year. The coverage had been “sensationalized,” he insisted, according to a recording obtained by The New York Times. (Fyre has attributed its cancellation to a combination of factors, including the weather.)

Ja Rule, the rapper and Mr. McFarland’s celebrity business partner, looked on the bright side. “The whole world knows Fyre’s name now,” he said. “This will pass, guys.”

Their company, Fyre Media, however, was already facing the first of more than a dozen lawsuits seeking millions and alleging fraud, breach of contract and more.

The endeavor has also become the focus of a criminal investigation, with federal authorities looking into possible mail, wire and securities fraud, according to a source with knowledge of the matter, who was not authorized to discuss it. The investigation is being conducted by the United States attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York and the F.B.I.; it is being overseen by a prosecutor assigned to the complex frauds and cybercrime unit.

And it gets worse. Keep reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

2 thoughts on “The Fyre Festival’s Problems Go Back Further Than the Actual Festival

  • May 23, 2017 at 6:05 am

    It was pretty much well known that McFarland is a serial bulshitter/scammer. So much so that when Fyre imploded a ton of people pointed out the previous signs of fire, or at least smoke. Hindsight, etc… but some people knew this guy was shady. He will probably chalk it up to being an “entrepreneur” and trying to find the next Twitter, Uber, etc.



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