Fyre festival returns, tickets out on sale

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The infamous Fyre Festival, a music festival that gained notoriety for its fraudulent nature, is making a comeback with a second attempt now selling tickets for $499 (£391).

The initial event, likened in a lawsuit to “The Hunger Games or Lord of the Flies”, was a venture by Billy McFarland and rapper Ja Rule. It was scheduled for the Bahamas in 2017 but ended in disaster, causing losses exceeding $26 million due to inadequate accommodations, food, and water.

In 2019, Ja Rule was cleared of involvement in the Fyre Festival catastrophe, a year after McFarland was imprisoned.

As highlighted in the Netflix documentary “Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened,” the festival organisers enlisted influencers such as Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid to endorse the luxurious event. Advertised as taking place on a secluded private island with supposed ties to drug trafficker Pablo Escobar, the event promised lavish experiences, deluxe accommodations, and gourmet food, with ticket prices soaring to $12,780. However, attendees arrived to find rain-soaked campsites, emergency tents reminiscent of disaster relief, and meagre cheese sandwiches instead of the promised gourmet meals. The event lacked basic amenities like running water and electricity, resulting in artists like Blink-182 canceling their performances.

Numerous businesses involved in the festival went unpaid, including one restaurant owner who reported significant losses from catering the event.

McFarland, the former creator of the membership club Magnises, was incarcerated in 2018 after pleading guilty to multiple fraud charges tied to the festival and his company NYC VIP Access, which sold counterfeit tickets to events like the Met Gala. He gained notoriety as a symbol of millennial scams.

In 2021, a group of 277 festival attendees were awarded settlements of $7,220 each.

After his release last year, McFarland began planning a second rendition of the Fyre Festival, conceived during a period of solitary confinement. While he offered few specifics, he considered hosting the festival in the Middle East or South America before opting to return it to the Caribbean, aiming for “Fyre Festival 2” by the end of the following year.

In a TikTok and Instagram video, the 32-year-old, draped in a white silk robe, shared, “It has been an incredibly wild journey to reach this point, and it all started during my seven-month stint in solitary confinement.” He revealed a 50-page plan formulated to capitalise on the ongoing interest in Fyre and leverage his ability to bring people together globally. He expressed plans for worldwide pop-ups and events, inviting enthusiasts to be a part of his vision.

Initial ticket sales at $499 have begun, with prices set to rise as more tickets are sold. Future tickets, yet to be released, are priced between $799 and $7,999.

A disclaimer on the website states, “FFII date is subject to change. Pre-events and pop-ups to be announced, but Fyre will host a minimum of four events prior to FFII.”

McFarland had previously announced intentions to create a Broadway musical centred around the festival. In March of this year, he outlined his strategy to repay the $26 million owed to investors from the first festival. He tweeted, “Here’s how I’m going to pay it back: I spend half my time filming TV shows. The other half, I focus on what I’m really, really good at. I’m the best at coming up with wild creative, getting talent together, and delivering the moment.” He provided a contact number for business opportunities.