If there was ever collective schadenfreude to be had, it was when we learned that a bunch of young, privileged rich kids got swindled by the promoters of the 2017 Fyre Festival and were left to fend for themselves on a remote island. On January 18, Netflix is releasing a documentary about the dumpster Fyre.
Here's its teaser trailer:
Previously: Fyre Festival fraudster sentenced to six years in federal prison
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Billy McFarland, the 26 year old con-artist who organized a disastrous Bahamas music festival in 2017 was sentenced to six years in federal prison on multiple counts of fraud. Ticket buyers who paid $12,000 had been promised a "first class" experience on a private island with yacht rides, gourmet meals, supermodels, and luxury villas but instead received school bus shuttles, cheese slices on bread, feral dogs, disaster relief tents and no musical performances.
From the New York Times:
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Prosecutors said that the music festival, which was to have taken place in 2017, was the product of an elaborate scheme. The festival’s website identified its location as Fyre Cay, a fictional place that was described as a private island that had once belonged to the drug lord Pablo Escobar.
Actually, Mr. McFarland secured some land on Great Exuma just weeks before the festival and hired workers who scrambled to prepare for the event. But as ticket holders arrived, Mr. McFarland’s plans unraveled and the festival was canceled. His celebrity business partner in Fyre Media, the rapper Ja Rule, posted on social media that he was “heartbroken” about the chaos.
From late 2017 until early 2018, Mr. McFarland ran a company called NYC VIP Access that sold bogus tickets to events like the Met Gala, Coachella, Burning Man and the Super Bowl. In one case, prosecutors said, two customers flew from Florida to New York for the Grammy Awards, only to be turned away at the door.
In a sentencing memorandum, prosecutors called Mr.
Attorneys for Billy McFarland, organizer of the fantastically failed "Fyre Festival," are blaming a host of untreated mental health issues, alcoholism and attention deficit disorders for the amazing flop, and asking a judge to be lenient. Read the rest
Social rating site Klout saw where society was heading with influencer marketing, but like many bad ideas that were a little ahead of their time, Klout will not live on to see the devastation they helped usher in. Read the rest
The crackdown on "influencers" engaging in undisclosed paid endorsement roiled Instagram last year, but now the crackdown on sexual misconduct on influencers is affecting readership at Mic, Upworthy, GOOD, and Slate, who quietly paid influencers like George Takei to promote their articles on their personal accounts. Read the rest
The Burger King Cheddar and Bacon Grill Dog is the Fyre Festival of specialty hot dogs.
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This can't be good for Fyre Media co-founders Billy McFarland and Ja Rule: leaked emails and documents show that organizers were not only grossly incompetent, they didn't seem to particularly care that the Fyre Festival was doomed.
In an urgent April 3 email with the subject line, "RED FLAG- BATHROOMS/ SHOWER SHIPPING," a mid-level Fyre Festival worker alerted senior staff, including 25-year-old co-founder Billy McFarland and Fyre Media president Conall Arora, of a growing crisis: the unexpectedly high costs (estimated to be at least $400,000) of shipping enough toilets and showers to the Bahamas to accommodate an anticipated 2,500 people on the island.
This followed the news that its caterer, Starr Catering Group, had just pulled out of the festival. Those two events prompted one assistant on the email thread to joke, "No one is eating so therefore no ones pooping."
Here's another snapshot from the train wreck:
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But there was one problem with Weinstein's plan: Those luxury villas — which Fyre Media marketed on its website and sold for thousands of dollars to attendees — don't seem to have existed.
Two days later, on April 22, Weinstein sent an email to staff strongly suggesting a campaign begin to reach out to the influencers planning to attend — and prepare them for seriously reduced accommodations.
"It is my opinion based on conversations with influencers, that the majority of them are not going to receive what they were promised," Weinstein said in a note urging Fyre staff to be more transparent.
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.
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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.
O.Z.O.R.A. Festival is billed as a psychedelic tribal gathering in Dádpuszta, Hungary. Their website splash page is a gorgeous infinite gif that you can set to trance or chill music. Read the rest
On Wednesday 25-year-old Fyre Festival founder Billy McFarland -- who is being sued for $100M over his catastrophic schadenfreudefest -- gathered his long-unpaid employees on a conference call this week to tell them that "After conferring with our counsel and all financial people, unfortunately we are not able to proceed with payroll. We’re not firing anyone, we’re just letting you know that there will be no payroll in the short term." Read the rest
The organizers of the disastrous Fyre Festival— which charged $12,000 a ticket, splurged the proceeds on celebrity endorsements and other bullshit, failed to prepare the site in time for the rich kids flying there, then delayed the event as they went feral at the half-finished event site in the Bahamas, then flew them all home—has informed staff they will not be paid. But if they want to, they can volunteer!
On Friday, Billy McFarland, the 25-year-old founder of the disastrous Fyre Festival, told his shell-shocked employees that their paychecks covering the past two weeks would not be coming. Nor would he be firing them, a prerequisite for unemployment benefits in most states. Instead, McFarland offered to allow his dozen-or-so employees to stay on in unpaid roles, where they could work to grow the business to a place where they might get paid again.
The meeting, audio of which was obtained by VICE News, wrapped up weeks of uncertainty for the employees of Fyre Media, the company behind Fyre Festival, whose primary job had been building a celebrity and talent booking app the festival was intended to promote. Rapper and Fyre Media co-founder Ja Rule was on the grim conference call, but his role was that of a listener.
“I’m on the phone but I can barely hear you all because of this fucking hum,” Ja Rule said.
The organizers are millionaires and can obviously afford to pay their staff, and the reputation immolation of Ja Rule and McFarland is already complete, so the obvious opinion to take is that they're at the fuck all of you stage, where every last penny represents a tiny fragment of their narcissistic egos and will be pinched. Read the rest
In the immediate aftermath of the Fyre festival debacle, co-founder Ja Rule tweeted, "I truly apologize as this is NOT MY FAULT..." Read the rest
(Note to proofreader: I just received this copy and figure it should just go up verbatim. Next time they do something like this remind me to send William Golding instead. — Rob)
Later, as he sat in his tent eating the doggo, Robin Laing reflected on the unusual events that had taken place at the Fyre Festival during the previous three hours.
Now that everything had returned to normal, with most of the rich kids cowering in the airport and the ostensible proprietors begging Twitter for forgiveness and mercy, he was surprised that there had been no obvious beginning, no point beyond which lunch had moved into a clearly more sinister dimension. In the middle of the field, a girl in an Afhan Whigs tee shirt screamed about gluten in the rye. Read the rest
Fyre Festival was advertised as a luxury music festival on a private island in the Bahamas. But promises of a private chartered flight to the island, gourmet meals, private glamping tents, yacht cruises, gourmet catering, and an all-star concert performance line-up "quickly turned into a terrifying B-movie, with flocks of Instagram models forced to seek shelter in an airport after arriving to discover a lack of food, violent locals, appalling accommodation and feral dogs roaming the grounds," reports The Telegraph.
As a result, social media has exploded overnight with tales of Instagram-filtered terror and disappointment, with beautiful festival-goers arriving on the island to discover half-built tents, their luggage being thrown out of the back of a truck, muggers and thieves laying in wait to steal wallets from trust fund kids, unhelpful staff, and "gourmet cuisine" that turned out to be nothing but ham and cheese sandwiches.
The “chartered flight from Miami” turned out to be severely delayed coach seats, and upon arrival shocked concert-goers were met with partially constructed USAID disaster relief tents.
Heres a drive by tour of the tents:
Angry attendees have flocked to social media to express their disappointment:
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