What was supposed to be a boutique event set on the twinkling azure coastlines of the Bahamas ended up being a bit like Lord of the Flies with crusty sandwiches, half built tents and “feral dogs”. Bewitched by the promise of rubbing shoulders with the likes of Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner, Seth Crossno and Mark Thompson from North Carolina bought VIP passes for $13,000.
When they arrived, they learned that Blink-182 and Migos had cancelled, and they were stuck on an island with “gourmet food” that amounted to slices of cheese on white bread. The hashtag #fyrefraud quickly began trending.
Now, the pair have been successful in their quest for damages from Fyre Media founder McFarland for fraud, negligent misrepresentation, breach of contract, unfair and deceptive trade practices, to name a few of the charges.
On Friday, June 30, a judge gave them $1.5 million each for “compensatory damages for flights, hotels and mental anguish, pain and suffering,” and an additional $1 million each in punitive damages. Ja Rule, a co-organiser of the event, was initially named as a defendant in the lawsuit, but was later removed after the parties reached an outside agreement.
McFarland, 26, also faces wire-fraud charges for lying to investors and crafting false documents in a post-Fyre Festival ticketing scam. McFarland explained that he planned to create a legitimate festival as a development on a web-based application that he started in 2016. The application was designed to help private individuals looking to book artists for concerts.
“I grossly underestimated the resources that would be necessary to hold an event of this magnitude,” he explained, as reported by the Guardian.
The situation is made even funnier when you look back at the original pitch deck that promised to exceed “all expectations”. “Fyre Festival will feature music from the greatest talents in the world, immersive experiences through art, theatre, and a weekend long treasure hunt,” the organisers boasted in one slide. “Fyre will be defined by its ability to connect: the ultimate in a tasteful experience.”