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Tribune News Service
Tribune News Service
Peter Sblendorio

Convicted co-founder Billy McFarland claims Fyre Festival II is drawing major interest

Fyre Festival co-founder Billy McFarland claims thousands of people expressed interest after he teased bringing back the event, six years after the disastrous first edition led to his fraud conviction.

Originally billed as a luxury music extravaganza in the Bahamas, 2017′s Fyre Festival garnered widespread attention after attendees were given cheese sandwiches and tents to sleep in before the event was canceled. McFarland pleaded guilty to wire fraud in 2018 and was released from prison last year.

Last week, McFarland tweeted Fyre Festival II is “finally happening” as a way of testing interest, he told CNN.

“The overall goal is to pay everybody back while still doing something incredible,” McFarland told “CNN This Morning” host Don Lemon in an interview that aired Tuesday. “The first time around, I just didn’t understand the magnitude of the vision and, probably more importantly, the magnitude of the logistics that were required to execute that. And I need to go about it completely differently this time around.”

McFarland, who was 25 when he co-created the Fyre Festival with rapper Ja Rule, says he’s paid back $30,000 of the $26 million he reportedly owes. Ja Rule claims he has no involvement with a potential second festival.

“Since getting out of jail, I’ve just been looking at what opportunities I have to pay people back,” McFarland said. “I’ve been pitched on every iteration of a Fyre Festival, from a local nightclub all the way up to a sovereign wealth fund. I put out a tweet a week ago, just to really test the waters and see, is there still [an] appetite for this idea after six years? ... The response has been insane.”

He claims the thousands of people who reached out after his tweet last week include musical artists, caterers and people interested in attending.

A second Fyre Festival has not been scheduled, according to McFarland, who said he plans to handle the marketing side and rely on his team and partners to take care of the rest.

“I’ve cried alone in solitary confinement for 10 months,” McFarland said. “I’ve ruined the lives of family and friends, so it’s going to be a 20-year mountain to try to climb, and I might not make it.”


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