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Fool me once? Fyre Festival wants a second chance

By Agence France-Presse Published Aug 24, 2023 9:28 am

The fraudulent organizer of the infamous Fyre Festival is amped for round two, announcing a reprise of the Caribbean event that lacked music, food or adequate shelter and landed its founder in prison.

But convicted con artist Billy McFarland says this time will be different.

Donning a white robe and wireless headphones, McFarland said in a recent video posted to social media that "it has been the absolute wildest journey to get here."

"And it really all started during the seventh month stint in solitary confinement."

The 2017 edition of Fyre was advertised as the "cultural experience of the decade," but when revelers arrived on the Bahamian island Exuma, they found lackluster cheese sandwiches, disaster relief-style tents, and no music—after paying thousands of dollars to attend.

Numerous festival-goers posted pictures on social media of the shambolic scenes, leading to online mockery of the high prices many had paid.

McFarland in 2018 admitted wire fraud. Along with jail time he was ordered to forfeit $26 million.

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A post shared by Billy McFarland (@pyrtbilly)

After serving under four years of his six-year sentence, he was released to a halfway house and was under house arrest until September 2022.

In his Instagram video, McFarland, 31, said that while incarcerated he devised numerous projects revolving around the "interest and demand in Fyre," including another documentary and a Broadway musical before opting for another go at holding the event.

On Tuesday McFarland said the first 100 tickets for Fyre Festival II had sold out, and that all ticket revenue would be held in escrow "until the final date is announced."

He has vowed "pop-ups and events across the world" ahead of the event, which he's aiming to hold at the end of 2024.

Along with the lack of a date, organizers have not announced a lineup — or even a precise location.

There is, however, a Google Maps listing on the Fyre website.

Users who click on it will be taken to... the Caribbean Sea. (AFP)