The Bahamas-based disaster known as the Fyre Festival, organized by entrepreneur Billy McFarland, was the scam heard ’round the world.
McFarland was arrested for defrauding investors and partygoers leading to four years in prison, plus an additional six months on house arrest and the international scandal spawned two competing documentaries on Netflix and Hulu.
And though McFarland told the New York Times that he believes he’s become “a better person” during his time behind bars, it looks like some habits die hard.
According to reports, McFarland celebrated his release from house arrest in a halfway home in Brooklyn by throwing a party at East Village hotspot Marylou. It’s noted that two of his fellow festival organizers flew in from the Bahamas to celebrate alongside the 30-year-old.
McFarland, who had originally planned to write a memoir on the entire ordeal (he had snuck a USB device into prison to aid him in doing so which was found and confiscated, earning him three months in solitary confinement) but now told the Times that he’s interested in going into tech.
“The good thing with tech is that people are so forward-thinking, and they’re more apt at taking risk,” he told the outlet. “If I worked in finance, I think it would be harder to get back. Tech is more open. And the way I failed is totally wrong, but in a certain sense, failure is OK in entrepreneurship.”
The Fyre Fest creator said that he believes he “deserved his sentence” and that he let a lot of people down” but hopes that in his next endeavor, he’ll be able to help the business world at large.
“At the end of the day, I think I could probably create the most value by building some sort of tech product,” McFarland told the Times. “Whether that’s within a company or by starting my own company, I’m open to both. I’ll probably decide in the next couple of weeks which path to go do.”
Fyre Fest was a failed music festival in April 2017 dubbed to be the most luxurious experiential festival that boasted big-time names and headliners on its original billing (like Major Lazer and Blink-182) and promised guests five-star accommodations in Exumas, Bahamas. The festival was promoted by models and influencers with the most expensive ticket packages costing up to $12,000.
When guests arrived, however, it was quickly realized that the entire festival had little to no organization, with many being stranded in the Bahamas and at airports without accommodations or adequate food and water.
McFarland is currently $26 million in debt as he must pay back fraud victims in restitution.