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Lakewood Times

Lakewood Times

Lakewood Times

    Billy McFarland: Fyre Failure


    Hundreds of the world’s elite cheated out of a”luxury” music festival, countless unpaid Bahamian workers, two documentaries and one mastermind behind bars. The truth behind Fyre Festival is much more sinister than just a music festival gone wrong. Fyre Festival, which was set to happen in April of 2017, was recently rehashed by two documentaries: Fyre Fraud and Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened.

    Founder of the festival, Billy McFarland, is so much more than the hopeful, young entrepreneur he comes off as. McFarland is a grade A conman with a history of cheating the wealthy out of their money. McFarland’s first business began when he was 13, where online consumers could be matched with web designers to meet their needs. This first start-up was clever and nobody got hurt in the process, but McFarland soon graduated to cutting corners in every aspect of business.

    Among other cons, the most notable before Fyre Festival was Magnises, the luxury credit card. New York’s elite paid $250 a year to be part of an exclusive club, with a metal black Magnises card to match. In this club, members were given access to a clubhouse in West Village, extravagant parties with endless bottle service and “opportunities” that the average Joe could never dream of. Essentially, it was a piece of metal that copied the metal strip for your actual credit card, to your ACTUAL bank–which perpetuated an unrealistic view of the rich every time they took out their metal card for purchases. Eventually, though, the promised events and tickets purchased through the card would go unfulfilled and customers, such as Chris Connelly say,”I canceled that membership,” after Magnises refused a refund on ‘Hamilton’ tickets.

    Magnises members are few and far between, especially since the Fyre Festival fiasco. What exactly happened at Fyre Festival? Well, consumers purchased tickets to a “luxury” music festival in the Bahamas, represented by big names like Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid. The music festival would have Blink-182 headline and would provide full food and housing accommodations for the elite. Upon arrival, however, festival go-ers were met with hurricane shelter tents, pieces of cheese on wheat bread and their luggage being thrown from giant caravans. Blink-182 cancelled last-minute (along with other acts) and Fyre Festival was eventually cancelled, but left hundreds of people stranded for days in the airport and on the island of Exuma. Zachary Lias says,”Fyre Festival was inhumane and utterly disappointing for all its attendees, some of which spent thousands of dollars on said event.”

    After being bombarded with countless lawsuits, McFarland went on to involve himself in a scam company called NYC VIP Access where he sold tickets that never existed to events well below the market price.

    Billy McFarland is now serving six years in prison on two counts of wire fraud, but for the countless times he has cheated those who trusted, believed and invested in him, is six years really enough?

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