These photos reveal why the 26-year-old organizer of the disastrous Fyre Festival could spend more than 10 years in prison

Alessandra Ambrosio was featured in the festival's promo video.

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Alessandra Ambrosio was featured in the festival’s promo video.
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YourTube/Fyre Festival

  • Fyre Festival organizer Billy McFarland pleaded guilty to wire-fraud charges in March.
  • The 26-year-old was arrested in June 2017 after being accused of misleading investors who poured more than $1 million into Fyre Media.
  • McFarland admitted he defrauded 80 investors and a ticket broker out of more than $26 million.
  • On June 12, McFarland was arrested on charges of running a fraudulent ticket-selling enterprise called NYC VIP Access while out on bail.
  • Here’s a look back at what happened.

The founder of the nightmarish Fyre Festival that left hundreds of attendees stranded in the Bahamas pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud in March.

Now, he’s facing fresh charges that he ran a separate, fraudulent ticket-selling company while out on bail.

26-year-old Billy McFarland admitted to defrauding a ticket broker and 80 investors in Fyre Media, a company that he founded and that was responsible for putting on the Fyre Festival. Prosecutors alleged that McFarland used falsified documents to trick investors in a $26 million scheme.

As a result, McFarland could spend eight to 10 years in prison in addition to paying a fine of up to $300,000, according to Bloomberg.

But on June 12, he was arrested again on charges of selling fake tickets under a different company, called NYC VIP Access, starting in 2017. If convicted on the additional fraud charges, McFarland could face an extended prison sentence, likely of an additional two years, according to Time.

Fyre Festival promised to offer attendees a VIP experience when they set off to Great Exuma in the Bahamas. But the reality was very different, as attendees encountered delayed flights, half-built huts to sleep in, and cold cheese sandwiches to eat. And that doesn’t even include the disastrous trip home.

The luxury festival – tickets for which started at $1,200 – was advertised as two weekends in paradise, but it turned into a nightmare. Take a look at festivalgoers’ expectations compared with the reality they encountered, which is currently being developed into a TV series for Hulu.

And here’s the full Fyre Festival promo video:


The three-day party was supposed to be on a private beach on the island of Great Exuma in the Bahamas.

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YouTube/Fyre Festival

It was supposed to be over two weekends in 2017: April 28-30 and May 5-7.

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YouTube/Fyre Festival

It was described as an “immersive music festival.”

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YouTube/FyreFestival

A host of supermodels had promoted it on social media, including Hailey Baldwin, Emily Ratajkowski, and Bella Hadid.

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YouTube/Fyre Festival

Guests expected to party on white sand beaches.

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YouTube/Fyre Festival

But when they turned up, it didn’t look anything like the advertisements.


They were told they would fly in from Miami on a custom, VIP-configured Boeing 737 …

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A private jet is shown in the festival’s commercial.
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YouTube/Fyre Festival

… to have the full VIP experience.

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YouTube/Fyre Festival

Instead, guests ended up waiting for hours at the airport …

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Twitter/@WNFIV

… and collecting their luggage from the back of a shipping container in the dead of night.

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Twitter/@WNFIV

The ticket cost was meant to include gourmet food.

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YouTube/Fyre Festival

Guests were expecting Starr Catering Group to be there, but the group told Business Insider it had terminated its services with Fyre on April 2. Instead, there were makeshift food tents.

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Twitter/@WNFIV

They were given cheese sandwiches and salads.


Fans were expecting to see Blink-182 perform.

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YouTube/Fyre Festival

But the band dropped out before the festival started on Thursday.


Festivalgoers were promised luxury, eco-friendly domes and villas to stay in that were included in the ticket prices. But one guest described it as a “disaster tent city.”


Some of the tents hadn’t been put up.


Instead of partying on the beach with friends …

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YouTube/Fyre Festival

… guests were trying to fly back to Miami.

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Twitter/@WNFIV

But for some, that wasn’t possible, and they ended up stranded in the airport.

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Twitter/@WNFIV

One guest said she was kept in a room without food or water, waiting for a flight to take off. She said a person fainted because the conditions were so bad.

Not exactly the VIP experience they had envisioned.


Festival organizer Billy McFarland could now spend more than 10 years in prison.


In March, McFarland admitted to defrauding 80 investors and a ticket broker out of more than $26 million.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud. Each count of wire fraud carries a maximum sentence of 20 years, but McFarland would likely face eight to 10 years in prison plus a fine of up to $300,000 under the plea deal, according to Bloomberg.


The festival has become such a phenomenon that a documentary is being made about it.


The new Hulu documentary will go behind the scenes to find out exactly what happened. It is slated to air in 2019.

Source: Hollywood Reporter


Images of the festival made the rounds on social media and were widely reported across global news organizations. This left many wondering whether it had damaged the reputation of the Bahamas altogether.

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Great Exuma in the Bahamas.
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YouTube/FyreFestival

Locals told Mic that tourism has not been impacted by the event. However, some local resort owners who provided food or services for the festival are still awaiting payment.

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YouTube/Fyre Festival

Source: Complex


McFarland is now facing new fraud charges. He was arrested again on June 12 and charged with earning $100,000 from selling fake tickets to events including Coachella and the Met Gala through NYC VIP Access, a company he founded.

Prosecutors said McFarland began running the business late in 2017, several months after he was arrested on charges that he had defrauded Fyre investors out of $26 million.


He could face another two years in prison if he is convicted in the new case. On June 19, his bail was revoked by the judge as is he is considered a flight risk.

Source: Time and Page Six