A group of 277 Fyre Festival ticket holders are set to receive a pay-out of around $7,220 each following a class action lawsuit, four years after the disastrous event left guests stranded on an island in the Bahamas.
The settlement comes after a $2 million class-action lawsuit brought against the organizers of the 2017 event came to a conclusion on Tuesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York. The final amount is pending approval.
Organizer Billy McFarland and rapper Ja Rule obtained millions in investment with the promise of putting on a first-of-its-kind, luxury music festival event in The Bahamas with models, DJs, luxury dwellings and extravagant meals.
They paid models like Kendall Jenner to promote the event on Instagram and blasted seduction promo videos and pictures to lure people into buying tickets that were sold at thousands of dollars each.
But the event was a disaster, with people arriving on the island of Great Exuma to find a scene more closely resembling a disaster relief camp than a luxury festival.
A collection of 277 Fyre Festival ticket holders are set to receive a pay-out of around $7,220 each following a class action lawsuit four years after the disastrous event left guests stranded on an island in the Bahamas. Pictured: Organizer Billy McFarland, who is currently in prison
Court filing documents described the scene met by concert goers upon their arrival as ‘total disorganization and chaos.’ The ‘luxury accommodations’ were FEMA disaster relief tents, the ‘gourmet food’ was barely passable cheese sandwiches served in Styrofoam containers and the ‘hottest musical acts’ nowhere to be seen.
The festival sold a total of around 8,000 tickets for two weekends. With attendees having spent between $1,000 to $12,000 on ticket to the festival, it was cancelled on its opening day, leaving people stuck on the island without many basic amnesties.
Two documentaries, one on Netflix and another on Hulu, were made detailing the event’s organisation and ensuing chaos.
McFarland was arrested in June 2017 and pleaded guilty to numerous fraud charges relating to both the Fyre Festival and his company NYC CIP Access, which also sold fake tickets to events such as the Met Gala.
He was sentenced to six years in prison in October 2018 and ordered to pay $5 million to two North Carolina residents who spent about $13,000 each of VIP packages to the Fyre Festival. Ja Rule was cleared of any wrongdoing a year later.
Numerous lawsuits were also filed against the pair, and McFarland apologised.
‘I cannot emphasize enough how sorry I am that we fell short of our goal,’ McFarland said in a statement in 2017, but he declined to comment on specific allegations.
‘I’m committed to, and working actively to, find a way to make this right, not just for investors but for those who planned to attend.’
After around 8,000 tickets were sold, the event turned out to be a disaster, with people arriving on the island of Great Exuma to find a scene more closely resembling a disaster relief camp than a luxury festival. Pictured: These were the tents that the guests found when they arrived. They were hurricane relief tents with foam mattresses inside
Organizers paid models like Kendall Jenner to promote the event on Instagram and blasted seduction promo videos and pictures to lure people into buying tickets that were sold at thousands of dollars each. Pictured: A group of models promote the Fyre Festival
The organizers attributed the event’s cancellation to a number of factors, including the weather. But some employees of the Fyre company said its bosses has invented features of the event – such as $400,000 accommodation called the ‘Artist’s Palace ticket package – just to see if people would by them.
While the final amount of compensation given to attendees could be lower pending the outcome of Fyre’s bankruptcy case with other creditors, a lawyer representing the ticket holders said he was happy with the outcome.
A vote to approve the final amount will take place on May 13.
‘Billy went to jail, ticket holders can get some money back, and some very entertaining documentaries were made,’ Ben Meiselas, a partner at Geragos & Geragos and the lead lawyer representing the ticket holders told the New York Times in an email. ‘Now that’s justice.’
Mark Geragos, another lawyer representing the ticket buyers in Tuesday’s settlement, filed the initial $100 million class-action lawsuit days after the event.
That lawsuit stated that Ja Rule and McFarland knew for months that the festival ‘was dangerously underequipped and posed a serious danger to anyone in attendance.’
The festival sold a total of around 8,000 tickets for two weekends. With attendees having spent between $1,000 to $12,000 on ticket to the festival, it was cancelled on its opening day, leaving people stuck on the island without many basic amnesties
This was among the food said to have been served to ticket holders at Fyre Festival. The ‘gourmet food’ was barely passable cheese sandwiches served in Styrofoam containers and the ‘hottest musical acts’ were nowhere to be seen
A second class action lawsuit was filed against them two days later.
Last month, McFarland spoken out from prison to claim he’d have been able to arrange the event he promised investors if he had a ‘more realistic timeline’.
McFarland is not expected to be released from prison until August 2023.
Last year, the Bureau of Prisons rejected his request for early release due to COVID-19 and punished him for bringing a personal recording device into the prison that was hidden in a pen.
Before McFarland was sentenced to six years in jail in 2018, after he was also found to have sold fake Met Gala and Coachella tickets
His team told DailyMail.com that he has been held in solitary confinement for 138 days as punishment for taking part in interviews. The Bureau of Prisons has not confirmed if he is in solitary or if so why.
In an interview with podcaster Jordan Harbinger (of the Jordan Harbinger Show) that is featured as part of ABC’s The Con in March, he admitted he defrauded investors, but says his problem was thinking he’d be able to put the festival together in just six months.
‘The biggest mistake before I went awry was setting a realistic timeline. Had we given it a year or two, we would gave been in a better place. What the f*** was I thinking? It applies to so many people and decisions that I made.
‘I knowingly lied to raise money for the festival, yes,’ he said.