The promoter of last year’s catastrophic Fyre Festival has pleaded guilty to wire fraud, which could see him slapped with a lengthy jail sentence.
26-year-old Billy McFarland copped to the charge, which carries a prison term of up to ten years, after admitting to lying to investors and sending false documents.
“I deeply regret my actions, and I apologise to my investors, team, family and supporters who I let down,” he told the US district judge in Manhattan federal court (via The Guardian).
He explained that he’d wanted to throw “a legitimate festival”, but “grossly underestimated the resources that would be necessary to hold an event of this magnitude”.
McFarland teamed up with Ja Rule to organise Fyre Fest across two weekends last April and May. It was promoted on social media by the likes of Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid and other models and celebs as an ultra-luxurious music festival in the Bahamas, with ticket packages ranging from US$1,200 to over US$100,000.
However, it ended up being nothing short of a spectacular failure, with punters rocking up expecting to see live performances from the likes of Blink-182, Migos and more instead learning that all the music had been cancelled, while their ‘luxury accommodations’ and ‘gourmet food’ were in actuality leaky tents and cheese sandwiches.
In addition to the fraud charges, McFarland was also hit with $132 million AUD lawsuit by pissed-off attendees, who alleged that the “festival’s lack of adequate food, water, shelter, and medical care created a dangerous and panicked situation among attendees — suddenly finding themselves stranded on a remote island without basic provisions — that was closer to ‘The Hunger Games’ or ‘Lord of the Flies’ than Coachella”.
He’s due to be sentenced on June 21st.