Fyre Festival is the biggest piece of news to hit the entertainment industry in quite some time. We have been looking into the event for months now. It was lauded as the cultural event of the decade and has turned into a disaster of criminal negligence. The event reportedly has ended in the arrest of a co-founder in the Bahamas (more on that later). Take a look into the world of absurd privilege, unscrupulous business and exploitation. Below you will find all the pieces of the disturbing puzzle which ultimately led to a festival which took advantage of a country, made fraudulent claims and is now responsible for irreparable damage.
2014: Billy McFarland, Co Founder of Fyre Media Starts First Fraud Ridden Company
Billy Mcfarland drops out of Bucknell University located in Pennsylvania in order to start his own credit card company. Known as Magnises, the card was meant to replicate the American Express black card. Users could rapidly gain rewards such as attending concerts, plays, and elite restaurants. Business Insider reports that the company has fulfilled none of the promises. While Magnises continues to exist the Better Business Bureau refuses to accredit the company due to a pattern of complaints. Customers are promised trips to Cuba as well, which are canceled within a week of departure. The beginning of a pattern.
2014: Billy McFarland Is Sued By Property Owner For Damages Caused By Magnises Card Holders
Billy McFarland rents a $13,000 apartment to be used as a ‘party clubhouse' for Magnises VIP. It ultimately ends up just being a place for him and his friends to party on company money. The owner claims the property was ‘maliciously vandalized' and damages amount in the sum of $62,000. McFarland refutes the claims to this day.
2015: Billy McFarland and Ja Rule Meet Through ‘Mutual Interest' and Create Fyre Media
Today, in an interview with Rolling Stone McFarland explained how Fyre Media came to be. He states that through the common interests of piloting, rap music, and the ocean he met his partner hip hop Mogul Ja Rule. Ja Rule is known most widely for being humiliated by Eminem and 50 Cent as well as running Murder K into the ground and selling it off for a mere $50,000. On a piloting excursion, after the two became friends, they landed in the Bahamas. The duo fell in love with the location. They created Fyre Media to order to bring their vision of a destination music festival to life.
December 2016: Fyre Media Puts On Benefit Concert For Hurricane Matthew Victims, Claims of Fraud Arise
In December of 2016 Fyre Media puts on their first event. It is a benefit concert to help out the victims in the Bahamas of Hurricane Matthew. The event is plagued with concerns and allegations of fraud. The event barely gets off the ground. Ashanti, Ja Rule, and Sean Kingston eventually perform. It is now looked at a sign of good faith to get the proper permits from the Bahamian government for the Festival, which at the time was slated to take place in only 5 months. NEMA, the disaster relief agency of the Bahamas barely lets event go as scheduled due to issues around fraud.
November 2016: Fyre Festival Is Announced Through Giant Social Media Campaign
Fyre Festival is officially launched through a giant social media campaign using ‘influencers' a made up word designed to describe individuals with a large social media following. Icons post a blank orange square with links the to website, which promises extravagance. Tickets range from $1200 for basic packages to $250,000 for absurdities.
Bella Hadid Instagram (Post could reasonably be deleted soon)
December 2016: Fyre Festival Hosts an Enormous Sale Due To Lack of Interest
The music festival has a flash sale over the holiday season lowering the ticket prices to only $800 dollars. The package still includes a luxury villa, access to the festival, luxury meals, open bar and transportation to and from Miami.
January Through March of 2017: The Festival Goes Silent On Line Up
The music festival initially announces Kanye West's G.O.O.D. Music collective as a headliner. It does not specify which artists will attend. Then Disclosure and Major Lazer are announced the following week. Then from the end of January until the beginning of March the festival goes radio silent on the line up. Almost no information is announced outside of videos design to build excitement.
March 2017: Media Blackout Is Announced For the Festival
While the PR Firm who handled Fyre Festival's announcements promised details on media access and involvement early on, they soon back stepped on press access and instead declared a media blackout was taking place for the event.
Personal Emails of EDM Sauce
April 2017: Ticket Holders Start to Notice Trends Of No Response; Fyre Festival Disables Comments on Social Media
— FyreFestivalFraud (@FyreFraud) April 27, 2017
In mid April of 2017 the festival starts to disable comments on social media posts. Mainly their Instagram Account. This starts the worries of the ticket holders who are not getting their questions answered surrounding the charter flights from Miami. Rumors begin to circulate.
Fyre Festival official Instagram
April 2017:@FyreFraud Twitter Account Is Activated and Starts Tweeting that Fyre Festival Is In Fact A Scam
Fyre Festival is changing people's itineraries at the last second. Can't afford charter planes. Prepare to be stuck in Miami. #fyrefestival
— FyreFestivalFraud (@FyreFraud) April 25, 2017
April 2017 a Twitter account starts attempting to reveal that Fyre Festival is in fact a fraud. There is so much marketing and hype from the festival that the whistle blower's tweets fall on deaf ears. FyreFraud has helped take down festival and get information to the media through the last two days.
— blink-182 (@blink182) April 27, 2017
The headlining act claims that the festival had not supplied them with the needed equipment to perform their show. It will later be found out that the festival did not pay the artists scheduled to perform.
April 27th 2017 Some Point During the Day: Ja Rule Tells A-List Guests Not to Attend
This will later be found out after the fact. Ja Rule calls A-List guests and tells them to not come to the inaugural weekend of Fyre Festival. He claims that they should attend the second to avoid any ‘kinks that need to be worked out'.
April 27th 2017 8PM Central Time: First Reports Come In that Fyre Festival is a Mess
So Fyre Fest is a complete disaster. Mass chaos. No organization. No one knows where to go. There are no villas, just a disaster tent city. . . . . #fyrefestival #fyre #fyrefest #whereismyluggage #travel #vacation #bahamas #pic #photooftheday #photography #picoftheday #influencer #startup #raleigh #raleighnc #nc #northcarolina
Instagram posts start to flood in from attendees claiming the festival is a mess. Nothing is as promised. Accommodations are not yet constructed for most of the guests, the food offered is lettuce, cheese, and bread. There were no staff to help move attendees in the proper direction.
April 28th 2017 Early Morning: Flights to Bahamas Are Halted; Fyre Festival Announces Postponement
Things got off to an unexpected start at day one of Fyre Festival. FOR THOSE CURRENTLY ON GREAT EXUMA We are working to comfortably accommodate guests and deliver a great experience. If you have needs, please head to the “BLUE HOUSE” on the main festival site. Security, first aid, and Fyre Festival staff are here to assist immediately, 24/7. FOR THOSE WITH PENDING TRAVEL TO THE EXUMAS TOMORROW Due to circumstances beyond our control, and in line with a culture of safety, all inbound charter flights to the Exumas have been canceled. Your ticket and any funds uploaded to your RFID band will be refunded. Thank you for bearing with us as we work through the growing pains that every first year event experiences. Revised itinerary information will be shared soon for the remainder of this weekend and weekend two.
Upon reports of a looting, no accommodations, mass chaos and assault, Fyre Festival announces over social media that the festival will be postponed. They claim the following weekend will take place, but that the first weekend will be ended early. The festival also claims that attendees will be transported back to Miami, this ultimately takes the next 24 hours to successfully do.
Fyre Festival Official Instagram
April 28th 2017: It Is Found the Tents Used for Guests Are Left Over From Hurricane Matthew Relief Fund
— FyreFestivalFraud (@FyreFraud) April 25, 2017
It was cited by the Fyre Festival Fraud twitter account that the tents used to house guests were really left over from the proceeds of the hurricane Matthew relief concert. They were re-purposed into accommodations for the attendees of the festival.
April 28th 2017: Ja Rule and Billy McFarland Speak Out About the Festival; Neither Officially Accept Responsibility
— Ja Rule (@Ruleyork) April 28, 2017
Ja Rule takes to his twitter page to announce that the disaster was not his fault, but also takes responsibility. The confused hip hop legend stops tweeting after the bizarre post. Billy McFarland takes to Rolling Stone to give an equally bizarre statement revealing how poorly Fyre Festival was planned.
April 28th 2017: Event Planner Who Never Signed NDA Reveal Information on Poor Planning to NY Magazine
The event planner explains in the interview she saw first hand the coordinators of the festival knew they were in fact going to fail to deliver even basic human needs, but continued anyway. They take an attitude of ‘lets try to pull it off and be legends'. This in turn puts thousands in a devastatingly dangerous situation
April 28th 2017: EXCLUSIVE CONTENT – A Source Speaking Under Conditions of Anonymity Reveals to EDM Sauce that Billy McFarland was Arrested in The Bahamas; Gives Insight into the Disaster
A source working at the festival revealed to us that Billy McFarland has been taken into custody by the Bahamian Police. This ends the several years of fraud by Mr. McFarland. Charges are expected to be announced in the morning. Fyre Media was truly a glass house empire, whose architects demanded on throwing stones in. The anonymous source also gave us exclusive pictures of the site.
The Maps For the Festival
The Actual Accomodations
The Festival Main Stage