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Fool me once... Fyre Festival is back, baby

Billy McFarland after being found guilty of wire fraud
Billy McFarland after being found guilty of wire fraud Copyright Mark Lennihan/Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Copyright Mark Lennihan/Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
By Jonny Walfisz
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After the disastrous Fyre Festival in 2017 saw punters stranded and the founder in prison, everyone's favourite festival has returned.

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If you’ve felt that music festivals of late are lacking a certain level of frisson risk, you’re in luck. That’s right. Fyre Festival is back.

Billy McFarland’s first Fyre Festival wasn’t exactly what you’d call a success. The entrepreneur, alongside rapper Ja Rule, enticed thousands of people to buy expensive tickets to a luxury music festival on an island in the Bahamas. Due to improper planning, guests arrived to find a scene more akin to a refugee camp following a natural disaster than a swanky Caribbean festival.

The catastrophe of 2017’s Fyre Festival led to massive social media coverage as people gawped at the many rich punters huddling around paltry cheese sandwiches with schadenfreude-tinted glee. 

It even inspired two damning documentaries, Fyre Fraud and Fyre, and resulted in a $100 million class action lawsuit.

In 2018, McFarland was sentenced to six years in prison on two counts of wire fraud. 

Released in 2022, he’s back with Fyre Festival II.

The first Fyre Festival was promoted by a series of paid-for ads pretending to be authentic recommendations from stars including Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid and Emily Ratajkowski. This time, via TikTok and wearing a dressing gown, McFarland himself announced that “as of today, Fyre Festival II tickets are officially on sale.”

@pyrtbilly

FYRE Festival 2 is LIVE! 🔗 in bio

♬ original sound - Billy McFarland

The man, whose Wikipedia page lists him as “Billy McFarland (fraudster)”, explains that: “It has been the absolute wildest journey to get here, and it really all started during the seven-month stint in solitary confinement.”

McFarland says that he wrote a “50-page plan” on how to take demand for Fyre Festival and bring it back. His plans supposedly include an After the Fyre documentary, a Broadway show called ‘Fyre Festival: The Musical’ and the sequel to his ill-fated 2017 music festival.

The first 100 tickets to the festival are now on sale for $499 (€458). The 777 pre-sale tickets that will be available then increase incrementally until the 26 tickets priced at $7,999 (approx. €7,346). 

Planned to take place again on a Caribbean island, McFarland is “targeting Fyre Festival II for the end of next year.” 

As part of his guilty plea in 2018, the fraudster has to pay $26 million (€23.8 million) back to his investors. Whether this second attempt at the festival will pay his debts remains to be seen. 

And it will be seen, with bated breath.

“Guys, this is your chance to get in. This is everything I've been working towards. Let's fucking go,” McFarland finally implores. 

Any chance of some press tickets, Billy?

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