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Fyre Festival: Billy McFarland pleads to guilty for $26 m fraud

SNS | New Delhi |

Music festivals are something that one should witness at least once in his or her lifetime. But what if the music fest you have been waiting for so long turns out to be a complete disaster?

Fyre festival

Well, that is what had happened with more than 400 people in 2017 when they attended the much hyped Fyre festival, which was organised by Fyre Media founder Billy McFarland and American singer-rapper Ja Rule.

Fyre Festival was a music festival scheduled to take place on the Bahamian island of Great Exuma over two weekends in April and May 2017.

The music festival was heavily promoted on social media platforms like Instagram, where multiple promotional videos featuring celebs like Hailey Baldwin, Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid were featured.

Fyre festival

According to a report in The Guardian, Fyre Fest’s inaugural weekend experienced many problems related to food, security, accommodation and artist relations. Eventually, the Fest was indefinitely postponed after some festival-goers had already arrived there.

The report further states that those in attendance were extremely disappointed to find tents and packaged sandwiches instead of their promised luxury villas and gourmet meals for which they had paid thousands of dollars.

Billy McFarland, the promoter of the failed Fyre Fest, pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges on March 6, agreeing to serve up to 10 years in prison for organising one of the biggest scams, which attracted investors to put more than $26m into his company.

The 26-year-old entered the plea in Manhattan federal court in a deal with prosecutors, who suggested he serve at least 10 years in prison.

“I deeply regret my actions and I apoligize to my investors, team, family and supporters who I let down,” McFarland told the US district judge.

McFarland planned a “legitimate festival” and had promised that a number of popular musicians such as Skepta, Blink 182 and Migos would be performing at the event.

“I grossly underestimated the resources that would be necessary to hold an event of this magnitude,” McFarland said.

Tickets for the event cost between $1,200 to $100,000 with more than 7,000 people expected to attend the festival.

Fyre Festival

Ja Rule, the co-founder of the music festival, was however not arrested. Reports indicate he had no involvement or connection with the fraud.

As per The Guardian, a lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles that called the festival “nothing more than a get-rich-quick-scam”.

In a recent criminal investigation, a leading daily reported that McFarland and his associates were under active federal criminal investigation and were the subject of eight lawsuits, one seeking more than $100m in damages.