Fraudster and con artist Billy McFarland was jailed for years after his infamously disastrous music festival, and his new event idea has his old colleagues sounding the alarm.
“Fresh off four years in prison, barred from ever serving as director of a public company, and buried beneath $26 million in victim paybacks, Billy McFarland, founder of the fraudulent Fyre Festival, wants to make a comeback,” NBC News reported.
The Fyre Festival was a widely hyped event in 2017, promoted as a music festival in the Bahamas featuring celebrities such as Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid and Emily Ratajkowski. Customers who paid massive prices, ranging from $1,200 to over $100,000, hoping to see famous bands and stay in luxury accommodations arrived to find canceled acts, packaged food, and drafty tents.
NBC News reported that McFarland has a new project in the works involving yet another island party, called PYRT, pronounced “pirate,” and some of his old associates have emerged to condemn his new project and warn others against it.
“Billy’s still Billy. He’s using different words, but he’s selling the same thing,” Shiyuan Deng, a former product designer at Fyre Media, the company behind Fyre Festival suggested to NBC.
Another former employee, who spoke anonymously, offered a similar warning.
“PYRT appears to be an exercise in smoke and mirrors, buzzwords and empty promises of lavish trips to the Bahamas,” the unnamed former employee said. “As a previous employee who trusted Billy’s leadership in the past, new customers, investors and employees should all proceed with caution.”
The New York Post reported that McFarland, fresh from prison, “is making plans for what he calls ‘virtual immersive decentralized reality’ events: exclusive parties — attended by influencers and entertainers — that would be broadcast to the ‘entire world.’ Users on their couches at home could pay to ‘actually change’ what’s happening at the party.”
While McFarland has reportedly hinted his new project will take place in the Bahamas, local authorities have said otherwise.
“The public is advised that no application has been made to the Government of The Bahamas for consideration of any event promoted by Billy McFarland or any entity or parties known to be associated with him,” Deputy Prime Minister Chester Cooper said in a statement in November.
“He is considered to be a fugitive, with several pending complaints made against him with the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF),” the statement went on to say. “Anyone knowing of his whereabouts should report same to the RBPF.”