The chic, island music-festival turned near-humanitarian crisis in the Bahamas known as Fyre Festival, was a historic failure.
And, as revealed by the Netflix documentary Fyre: The greatest party that never happened it was more of a fraud scheme than any kind of planned event. People, who paid tens of thousands of dollars to stay in villas for the week, were instead forced to sleep in FEMA disaster tents. Guests, expecting two weekends of Big Name live shows, saw little to no music throughout the week. Even the food they served became famous it was so terrible.
— Trevor DeHaas (@trev4president) April 28, 2017
Well, the man behind that massive fraud scheme is known today as Elkton Federal Correctional Facility inmate 911860054 — aka Billy McFarland — aka the “mastermind” of the Fyre Festival disaster/fraud scheme. He’s currently serving a six-year sentence for mail and wire fraud, related to the event.
However, despite his incarcerated status, McFarland managed to exploit a COVID-19 loophole at the prison he’s currently serving time in to record and release a podcast telling his side of the Fyre Festival story. A stunt which has since landed him in 23-hour-a-day solitary confinement.
Back in April the Beaureau of Prisons agreed to make all phone calls free for inmates and their families, through the COVID-19 crisis, since visitation was outright cancelled. It was a semi-compassionate move from a branch of government known for being exceptionally hard-assed. But, it was also one that McFarland saw an opportunity in.
So, through a series of 15-minute phone calls, McFarland recorded the podcast: Dumpster Fyre.
In it, McFarland maintains his innocence and tries to set the record straight, reassuring listeners that all the proper arrangements had been made for things like the villas — they just never panned out:
“We had certainly put in the time, effort and funding to secure the villas,” he says. “For a period of four to six weeks before the festival, we actually rented over 200 separate villas and houses.”
But, McFarland explains, a rogue employee absconded with all the keys! And, that scoundrel also took off with the excel spreadsheet of which guests stayed where. Leaving everyone villa-less and confused — well, everyone that was, except for McFarland himself, who somehow managed to keep the key to his villa through the whole thing.
McFarland goes on to try and defend himself and shuffle blame around to others throughout the rest of the podcast. He does his best to sound earnest, and make it all sound like one big mistake, for which he should be forgiven and released from prison. He even took a few photos in prison with his boys, to promote the debut of his upcoming podcast and which he posted on Instagram…
Well, no sooner did those pictures and the trailer for Dumpster Fyre hit the web, than Mcfarland was thrown into 23-hour-a-day solitary confinement for at least 90 days — possibly more. A punishment which, his lawyer says, isn’t justified.
“We don’t believe he’s violated any rule or regulation, and there can’t possibly be anything else. He’s been a model prisoner there,” John Russo, McFarland’s lawyer told the Times.
Justified or not, it seems like this Fyre Festival only keeps making McFarland’s life worse. Maybe that’s karma for frauding thousands of people out of their money, and luring them to a remote private island with no amenities.
Then again, maybe it’s just what happens when you break the rules in prison.