There's lots of juicy, behind-the-scenes details in this New York Times expose about the Fyre Festival – a promised lavish music event in the Bahamas that was cancelled after people who paid thousand of dollars arrived by plane and discovered crappy tents on a gravely beach with little food or security and no performers. Fyre Festival co-founder Billy McFarland, 25, is accused of not paying workers and contractors. McFarland and his partner, Ja Rule, are blaming others for the calamity. Aggrieved parties are serving lawsuits by the dozen. And federal authorities are "looking into possible mail, wire and securities fraud," according to the Times.
Well into March, the event's website — which briefly vanished because its designer had not been paid — claimed it would take place on Fyre Cay, a private island that once belonged to the drug lord Pablo Escobar. Ticket packages included the $400,000 "Artist's Palace," with four beds, eight V.I.P. tickets and dinner with one festival performer.
But there was no such island or palace. Fyre employees recalled higher-ups inventing extravagant accommodations just to see if people would buy them — and some did, they said.
Mr. McFarland had been scouting sites, taking private planes to the Bahamas with his Fyre entourage and models in tow. But long after tickets had been sold, he was still nailing down a location.
By early April, the festival team finally set up at Roker Point, a largely unbuilt housing development on Great Exuma that borders a Sandals resort.
Back in New York, at the early May meeting, rattled employees pressed Mr. McFarland and Ja Rule on a troubling thought: They had committed fraud.
"That's not fraud, that's not fraud," Ja Rule said, according to the recording. "False advertising, maybe — not fraud."
Mr. McFarland stayed silent.
Image of Ja Rule: Digo 015 / Wikipedia