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Fyre Fest II is really happening — here's everything that went wrong at the first one
The multi-million dollar disaster is back for a do-over. What could go wrong?
In the spring of 2017, a brand-new luxury music festival experience captivated all of social media. The event's previous social media coverage featured the hottest influencers living it up along a beautiful beach -- but the actual festival turned out to be a bust.
The saga of Fyre Fest unfolded in real time on social media. Attendees who had paid thousands of dollars to attend the event were stranded on an island with very little food, no water, and insufficient lodging.
How did an event that took in millions of dollars dissolve into such a disaster? And why are people willing to spend hundreds to thousands of dollars to attend Fyre Festival II after festival organizer Billy McFarland was sentenced to prison for the debacle?
What was Fyre Fest?
The now-infamous Fyre Festival, which has been the subject of both Hulu and Netflix documentaries, was billed as a luxury music festival taking place on a Bahamian island rumored to have once been owned by drug lord Pablo Escobar. The event was the brainchild of Billy McFarland, who teamed up with rapper Ja Rule in order to promote the company’s app for booking musical acts.
The festival was a hot topic among young, wealthy millennials. Social media influencers like Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, and Emily Ratajjowski were paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to promote a music festival that, in the end, had absolutely no organization or, according to the crew, funding.
In the end, every band that was billed to perform had to cancel their appearance due to non-payment. And when festival-goers arrived on the island of Great Exuma, all they found were some poorly-furnished FEMA tents and cheap cheese sandwiches.
In March of 2018, McFarland pled guilty to defrauding investors and ticket holders. While he was out on bail, he was also caught attempting to defraud a ticket vendor for selling fake tickets to high-profile events. McFarland was sentenced to six years in prison and ordered to pay a $26 million settlement.
Influencers who promoted the event have also found themselves paying out settlements. After receiving a whopping $250,000 to promote the festival on Instagram, Kendall Jenner was made to pay a $90,000 settlement. Doing the math, Jenner can certainly afford the hit. McFarland may not be so lucky.
Perhaps he's hoping to pay that settlement off with the revenue he makes from Fyre Festival II.
Fyre Festival II — Once more, with feeling
Five years later, a freshly free-from-prison McFarlane is at it again. Defying all logic, the decried event organizer has announced that Fyre Fest II is a thing. In a TikTok video, McFarlane announced tickets going on sale -- "And it really all started during the seventh-month stint in solitary confinement," he says.
He describes writing out a plan for the festival's comeback, producing a documentary about his life after Fyre, and even working with a production company to make 'Fyre Festival: The Broadway Musical' a reality.
"Ultimately we decided that Fyre Festival II is coming back to the Caribbean. We are targeting Fyre Festival II for the end of next year. In the meantime, we'll be doing pop-ups and events across the world. Guys, this is your chance to get in," he says in the video. "This is everything I’ve been working towards so let's fucking go.”
Perhaps even more shocking than his commitment to the disgraced festival is the fact that the first 100 pre-sale tickets sold out. The tickets cost $499. There are other price tiers in a “coming soon” section of the site, which range from $799 to $7,999.
Fyre Fest II has no lineup. There’s no specific venue, either. The proposed date is early December 2024. Thanks to the first round of ticket sales, Billy McFarland and his new team of investors already have $50,000 in-pocket.
Among those involved with Fyre Fest II, rapper Ja Rule is noticeably missing. But Billy McFarland has re-joined forces with Andy King, who became famous after the Hulu documentary 'Fyre Fraud' revealed that Kind was willing to go to extraordinary lengths to bring water onto the island.
Let's just say he gets the award for being the best team player.