2017’s infamous Fyre Festival was supposed to push “the boundaries of the impossible”—but it turned out to be so oversold that its catastrophic failure spawned two documentaries and landed its founder in jail.
None of that has stopped fans flocking back for a second attempt at the festival, though, according to Fyre creator and convicted fraudster Billy McFarland.
McFarland, whose role as founder of the original Fyre Festival landed him in prison for four years, claimed in a post on the X platform on Tuesday that the first round of tickets for his upcoming Fyre Festival II had sold out.
the pre-sale is sold out.
— Billy McFarland (@pyrtbilly) August 22, 2023
The 30-year-old first announced in April that he was bringing the infamous event back, less than a year after his early release from Ohio’s low-security FCI Elkton prison, where he was serving a six-year term for defrauding Fyre investors.
“Since 2016 Fyre has been the most talked about festival in the world,” McFarland said on Tuesday. “We now saw this convert to one of the highest priced [general admission] pre-sales in the industry.”
The first round of tickets for Fyre Festival II were priced at $499 each, with prospective attendees snapping them up without even knowing when the event will take place.
“Fyre is about people from the around the world coming together to pull off the impossible,” McFarland added. “We look forward to surprising the world alongside our partners as we build Fyre and Fyre Festival II into the island adventure of a lifetime.”
The Fyre Festival disaster
The original Fyre Festival—which took place just months after being conceptualized by McFarland and rapper Ja Rule—was pitched to attendees as a luxury music festival in the Bahamas and promoted by a string of famous supermodels including Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid.
After a turbulent and rapid planning process, the event soon began to unravel when festivalgoers discovered their supposedly high-end experience actually consisted of pop-up tents, band cancellations, hellish weather and a lack of working bathrooms.
Attendees, who paid up to $250,000 per ticket, had actually been sent to an island that didn’t have the infrastructure to support the sheer scale of the event.
The catastrophic realities of Fyre resulted in documentaries on Hulu and Netflix, class action lawsuits and jail time for McFarland.
However, he insisted on Tuesday that his second attempt at running the event would not be a repeat of 2017.
“This time we have incredible support,” he said. “I’ll be doing what I love while working with the best logistical and infrastructure partners. In addition, all ticket sale revenue will be held in escrow until the final date is announced.”
Ja Rule will not have any involvement with Fyre Festival II, having told the press back in April that he knew “nothing about it.”
McFarland responded to those comments by asserting that his former partner was “definitely not invited” to the festival’s second round.
In addition to running a Fyre sequel event, McFarland is selling Fyre-themed merchandise, including a limited-edition hoodie priced at $161 and a $200 jacket—both of which have sold out.
According to the event’s website, $50 from each jacket sale goes “directly to recovery,” with $25 going to people owed money in the Bahamas and $25 going toward restitution payments.
When McFarland was sentenced for his crimes in 2017, he was ordered to pay $26 million in restitution.