Fyre (2019) Script

Okay. On you go.

All right, Jason's here on Fyre Cay, showing him the newly purchased property.

I like it, man. Getting set up for the Fyre festival.

I like your life, man, I like what's goin' on.

Are you excited for April? I'm ready, man.

Do I got my ticket? You have.

All right, cool, that's all I need to know.

Biggest event in a decade, I promise you. I'll be there.

When did you first become aware of Fyre?

I started seeing people posting kind of the promo video.

It was this very slick production that promised that it was Pablo Escobar's private island and that they were flying in thousands of people on private jets.

It was just the coolest party that you'd ever seen advertised.

My agency contacted me and was like, "Hey, there's this new festival coming up."

It's really exclusive."

The most insane festival the world has ever seen.

All these models, like, in the Bahamas.

Acts like Major Lazer, Disclosure, Tyga...

This is the first weekend this has ever happened, so, literally, I was excited.

But we didn't know anything.

It's become one of the most talked-about dramas on social media.

A glamorous, luxurious Caribbean... island getaway turned disaster... quickly spiraling into chaos.

Now, the event's co-founder is facing up to 20 years in prison.

Are you sorry? Do you have anything to say for yourself?

Thank you, guys, I'll arrange a comment later. Thank you.

Hey, Billy?

There's a bunch of people who's filing lawsuits against you today in federal court. Did you hear about that?

It just became much more than anybody ever dreamed it would be.

I mean, you know the saying, "Desperate people do desperate things."

And now I hope Billy doesn't go to prison for it, but I don't know.

We are here at the Web Summit...

I remember that it was a big deal that Ja and Billy were going to the Web Summit to talk about Fyre.

It was the first real piece of press.

Well, I'm gonna let my partner in crime here, Billy McFarland, give you all the introduction of what Fyre is.

Billy and Ja met because Billy's previous company, Magnises, he would have parties and special events and invite the members, and one of the events, he tried to book Ja Rule, and apparently, that was a very difficult task.

I went to Instagram and found this guy named Reggie Muscles and he says, "Give me 500 bucks and I'll get you Ja Rule."

I paid Reggie Muscles.

The next day, Reggie Muscles brings in a guy named Gunner.

Gunner's a little smarter now, so Gunner asked for $1,000 and he said, "I'll get you Ja Rule." So, I gave Gunner $1,000.

And Gunner called me a week later saying, "Ja Rule hates your offer."

So one of the problems that we're really tackling is... the nasty business of booking.

So, Billy actually pitched me the idea, let me know he was working with Ja Rule and they were recruiting engineers to build this marketplace.

You go to the website, you can scroll through various types of talent.

Somebody who wants to have Ja Rule at a birthday party could, through the app, book Ja Rule for that event and that's sort of the type of thing that you could never do before Fyre.

What these guys did was identify...

I think, a really beautiful "blindspot" in the industry that...

The way the trifecta between the three of us worked is that I oversaw product, ran the design development of the app, Ja was the entertainment industry connection and Billy had connections through what he told us was VC funding.

Every single thing that goes into the booking process is right then and there...

I thought that this was a functioning platform, something that was really going... That had the opportunity to revolutionize the way, you know, the industry worked.

The Fyre app had the potential to be a billion-dollar platform.

After working on the app for three to five months, we were starting to figure out ways to promote it and in a meeting, I had actually mentioned, "Why don't we throw a festival, a concert for industry professionals?"

That idea, Billy kind of hooked onto and then it morphed pretty dramatically outside of any input from me or Ja into what became the Fyre Festival.

Let me fix you up, man.

Let me fix you up a little bit, a'ight?

A little sandy. That's a'ight.

We're sandy 'cause we're on our fuckin' island havin' a good time.

A'ight?

Originally, when Billy called me, he said, "I've bought an island in the Bahamas and we're hosting a music festival down there."

And I said, "What island?"

And he said, "Pablo Escobar's island," and I said, "Oh, my gosh!"

A year and a half ago... Talk to them.

Ja and I were flying over the Exumas and we saw this unmanned runway.

We tried dialing it and no one responded, so we landed there.

Turns out it was Norman's Cay.

When I met Billy, it was like, "Man, this guy is stinking rich. He's bringing all his friends down here and he's paying for everything."

Four jet skis, four boats, and, you know, all having a wild-out time. You know.

I think the idea just popped up in his head like, "Ping! We're gonna throw a festival here."

They were going to have celebrities there, it would be this big consumer-facing thing and that they were going to do buried treasure.

A real-life treasure hunt.

Win a piece of land on the island, your own private island, right here, with the Fyre Cay team.

From a pure concept standpoint, it holds water.

An amazing experience in a beautiful location with beautiful people and great music. You can't ask for more.

This is going to be the most incredible fuckin' shit.

The Magic Bird. The Magic Bird.

"The Magic Bird" is a phrase that me and Billy coined.

The impact that Magic Johnson and Larry Bird had on the NBA.

It changed the way people saw and thought about basketball.

And me and Billy are going to change the way people look at a young tech entrepreneur and a hip-hop mogul come together and create something incredible.

Billy was kind of nerdy, but clearly smart, clearly an incredible entrepreneur.

We interacted a lot.

He seemed very charismatic, very trustworthy.

I thought that he had a vision.

He was able to maneuver and conduct himself around investors and then build teams to build his products.

We were hired to do all the advertising and marketing for the festival.

They were hiring the best of the best in each category.

Best talent, best distribution, best social media company.

Fuckjerry had just launched a new marketing agency and we were hired by Fyre to basically run all the social media.

We've got major news.

Ja Rule just called us, basically said he wants us to pitch him for his new app, Fyre.

This is Fuckjerry? Yeah.

That was an amazing meeting.

They just bought an island and they're going to have a party in April for 10,000 people.

It felt like they were basically doing a music festival to draw attention to this bigger brand that would end up being the Uber of booking talent.

Who was playing, what the food was gonna be, all the things that typically sell a music festival wasn't the sales point.

This was like selling a dream, selling a vacation, selling a concept.

We knew that there was a place and we knew that there was an idea of having a music festival and that was pretty much it.

I directed the commercial.

When I saw the call sheet, I was like, "That's crazy!"

Basically, like, ten of the top supermodels in the world.

It was the titans of the modeling industry -

Bella Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski, Hailey Baldwin.

Supermodels, I'm talking about supermodels.

I thought it was the best thing ever. "It can't get no bigger than this."

He's recording us!

One camera crew is shooting with the models, and they had a dedicated film crew, like, shooting the dialogue between Billy and his people.

So, we ran into a little issue today.

Sorry, cut. Talk to me. Okay.

Start, one more time.

We ran into an issue today. No. Start again.

[Brett There was no, "This is the story we want to tell."

There was just, "Capture everything."

We need genuine shots.

We need genuine people interacting, having a good time.

I need a wide yacht shot.

We have to do the cave underwater, we need the boats in a flying-V formation.

Could we tell Herbie to have a big, big, big bonfire tomorrow night?

Like a huge bonfire?

Grant was a neurotic person.

He was a... He's a smart dude.

He was just overwhelmed.

I'm our chief marketing officer.

I wouldn't call myself a perfectionist, but everything must be perfect, you know?

I mean, it was like a job of five people.

And he had no experience in doing music festivals no experience in doing events. But he did work hard.

So I know Billy wants to go see the pigs and this is the only way to make it work.

But we can't shoot it, dude.

Fair... So I... and you know we don't need to shoot it.

Real talk. Like, we're spending a lot of fucking money.

If we want to go fucking see the pigs, we go see the pigs.

'Il find a way to make it work.

That's it.

If we wanna fucking see the pigs. The girls wanna go see the pigs, we go fucking see the pigs.

It was like, "We're gonna scratch the pigs now and we're going to shoot it."

We were the production company but we didn't have the authority to organize it like we were supposed to.

Here go the shots, come on.

Hey, yo. Catch this, get this.

Billy didn't have no rules.

He had everyone drinking, open bar wilding out. It was more of a party than a promotional shoot.

Yeah, let me fly the drone.

Our guys were partying non-stop. Sunup to sundown, gettin' loose.

Billy fell asleep on the beach, literally, just broad daylight.

Out like a light.

I flew here with Billy, just for a holiday and now this has ballooned into a full production team of girls and cameras.

There was this crazy pilot, Keith. He made the plane go zero gravity.

I don't know how he did it.

Near take-off, he's like, "I bought this plane six months ago, I just got my license."

I ended up teaching myself and you can use Microsoft Flight Simulator.

Microsoft Flight Simulator has lessons and it's excellent.

Once in the air, I was like, "What are we gonna do?"

He was pulling off the end of the runway and going straight up into the thing and killing the engine.

You know, whenever I'm with Billy, I have to... do at least three zero Gs.

Billy and Ja made their famous toast.

That's when I was introduced to the toast.

Here's to living like movie stars, partying like rock stars...

Billy?

And fucking like porn stars.

It was definitely, like, a trying work environment.

One night, they wanted to turn the bonfire into, like, the Billy and Ja party on the beach, and that's all on camera.

Come on, baby.

We about to create art. Get over here.

Just get in the water.

If y'all don't want to put on a bikini, it don't matter. Let's get in the water.

Hell, no, I'm not getting in no water.

Yeah, get in the fucking water, Chanel.

They wanted to get everyone in the water, So they made it sound as if it was a scene, but nobody was there directing that scene.

Guys, what's the purpose of what you're trying to do?

We're gonna jump in, then the girls will follow us in.

This is the money shot!

Us jumping after you?

It was them partying with talent that didn't really know what they were there to do.

But in the end, it didn't matter.

We're selling a pipe dream to your average loser.

Selling a pipe dream to fucking buyers. Your average guy in middle America.

They were selling a vision of what people want.

We should tell all the girls to post one picture of them on the beach today, or on jet skis, #fyrefestival before five o'clock.

Could y'all, like, hashtag some Fyre Festival shit?

The models posted a lot of their own pictures from the weekend that they spent shooting there.

They need to be fucking tagging us.

Why aren't these people tagging us? This is bullshit.

One of the women had posted... the Mannequin Challenge that they did.

And so Ja Rule is there and Billy was there and then ten of the top models...

The power of celebrity really there was, like, "Whoa!"

The press of the trip got picked up just by those girls being there all together as a group.

So, The Daily Mail talks about how they're hashtagging "Fyre Festival" and that Shanina Shaik says, "It's lit."

I knew it would do that, I knew with the buzz...

If you're constantly going to be taking pictures here, make sure you fucking, "Fyre Festival," because it's gonna create a small buzz that can be a big buzz. It's free press.

You can't pay for that kind of press.

They captured a ton of footage that was just, really, from a marketing perspective, second to none.

And it was the thing that gave all of the New York agencies some insight into what was happening down there.

They would all have a tan and be smiling and talk about these experiences that they had, which almost gave us a little bit of like, We're wondering what we hadn't seen or what we're missing out on and Fyre very quickly became one of our most important clients.

They were trying to tap into a culture and a zeitgeist that they believed in, and they were uncompromising when it came to marketing.

Today's the big day. Five o'clock.

We have what will be known as the best coordinated social influencer campaign ever.

We have 400 of the biggest people around the world, influencers, models, comedians, artists, actors, actresses, all at the same time posting the ambiguous burnt orange Fyre tile.

They came up with the idea of the orange tile.

Fyre handled all of the major models and then we and a number of other agencies were reaching out to any influencer we knew in our network.

so we're expecting millions to come and visit our site, see the video, showing people that for three or four days, you can escape reality and come experience Pablo Escobar's old island.

The commercial globally got launched while there.

We had a whole edit team there.

We were editing the commercial and had a launch strategy in the Bahamas, which is crazy, 'cause there's no internet and no infrastructure, nothing there.

Billy was like, "Man, let's catch a plane to Nassau" and go on the phone and internet there, because Kendall Jenner is about to announce this live thing on Instagram.

Kendall Jenner was paid, I think, $250,000 by wire transfer just to post that one post.

When I saw the video, my first reaction was confusion.

I wasn't sure who was the target market of the festival.

If you go, will there be Instagram models lounging around to feed you grapes?

So, it was a combination of confusion and excitement.

As soon as the models started posting, the Fyre Instagram account just started to blow up.

Overnight, basically, this massive influx of enthusiasm and awareness, a PR storm like you've never seen.

I had brand sponsors who had invested millions of dollars into Coachella asking if they could figure out a way to get their investment out of Coachella and put it over towards Fyre.

They advertised these incredible ticket packages.

They had the "rustic tent," that was supposed to be kind of like a Coachella, glamorous scenario.

And then they had private homes and then it went up to like 250 grand for, you know, a private yacht with a private chef on board.

Within 48 hours, they sold 95% of their tickets.

I think people thought that this was one of the new hot things that was starting to take over the American and global market.

So now, you know, we hope everybody comes and enjoys... the cultural experience of the decade, Fyre Festival.

I remember I first heard about Fyre Festival at a music festival conference in Las Vegas.

Ja Rule was a keynote speaker and he unveiled this festival that they were doing in the Bahamas and everyone at the table I was sitting with just started laughing.

They were like, "Yeah, good luck, Ja Rule", build a music festival 'cause it's so easy."

And there was this tinge of resentment, kind of humoring it and all that.

The industry insiders were laughing.

Fast forward two months later, before I was introduced to Billy, and I'm meeting with my friend Max at Matte Productions, who produced the influencer video.

And when I when I saw that video, I was like, "These guys are either completely full of shit" or they're the smartest guys in the room."

So, I spoke to Max... and I asked him what the deal was and he's like, "No, they're legit" and they sold out the festival."

So, as a first-time festival producer to sell out your music festival, it's a huge accomplishment.

So we tried to fit 800 people here and a concert for about 5,000 people.

So, Norman's Cay is on this end.

I knew the island. I've been going to Bahamas for the past ten years, so my role in the beginning was just to try to map it out and do the logistics.

It's forty acres, right? So one inch is a hundred feet.

So, this is about 200 feet.

You're going to write off... Shit. My bad.

On the floor plans.

You ruined my sewage calculations.

Instead of thinking about models, you have to think about toilets.

We must buy lots of toilets.

We gotta go to Home Depot and buy a thousand toilets. I mean...

The number of tickets they'd sold, they couldn't physically fit that many people on the island, let alone build some sort of insane infrastructure that could support them from a bio-waste standpoint.

I didn't think it was possible to fit over 1,000 people on that island so I had made a plan to get a cruise ship.

The tricky part is getting drunk people off the island at night.

To go to sleep on a cruise ship on a little dinghy.

We're not doing a cruise ship anymore.

You're not doing the cruise ship?

Everybody is gonna be on the islands.

I'm not kidding.

Okay. They said it's possible.

They really wanted to do tents, so what I did is I took my wife and we tried to sleep in a tent for one night and... it was so terrible, that, you know, this tent is just not going to be safe and it's so loud, so many mosquitoes, To do these tents without air conditioning is pretty brutal.

It's just not possible, so I...

I strongly recommended against the tents.

Keith raised a lot of concerns about these things and then I think he was asked to no longer be part of it.

It's just Billy at some point told me, "Listen, you need to step back.

You know, we're going to go with different people and...

"Yeah, thanks for your help so far and, you know..."

I wasn't the only one that was changed out in February, March.

They asked me to fly down to the Bahamas to meet them.

And I flew down there.

When I was introduced to them I was super excited to, you know, to participate in what could be a really special event, if it was even half of what they had promised their guests.

Flying over the islands from Miami and you see this water and it was magic.

I mean, I can't even describe it to you.

We were contacted perhaps... forty-five days out.

We were asked to take a shot at putting together a production for them.

The timeframe was very short, but there was definitely a chance of putting it all together.

Billy talked to us, talked to me and I loved his vision.

I loved his ideas, his energy.

We sat down and basically put together a budget for him in a day, presented to him the next day.

"Here are your hard facts, here are your costs associated do this.

And they said, "This is fine. We can do this."

And so roughly, what was that number?

I think it was maybe 38?

Thirty-eight million? Yeah.

Billy came and said, "Can you book the lineup for the festival?"

I'm a 22, 23-year-old kid, I've never booked talent for...

Forget about for a festival.

I remember the first artist I got was Major Lazer.

I mean, grossly overpaid.

And then Disclosure, Blink-182.

The talent alone was three and a half, four million dollars was spent.

Most of the artists they were working with were expecting a certain level of production, a sufficient lighting package... a good enough sound system and, you know, we realized that they didn't really have any idea of what it meant to book the artists that they were booking... what it meant to put up a show like that.

You know? "What did this Billy do before?"

"He's the visionary behind Magnises."

That's what they told me.

"The visionary behind Magnises."

What the hell is Magnises?

Jessica, you're chasing the story about the millennials' version of the black card. What have you got?

This is Magnises.

It's the newest, coolest credit card.

The original vision was simple.

We were just kids, we'd figured out a way to turn boring, plastic cards into nice-looking, sleek, stainless steel credit cards.

It was black, the thing was metal.

It would make a big clank when you put it down.

The girls were like, "Holy hell, what is that? What do you do?"

We gained traction.

We start growing across the 1,500-member mark.

We then decided to turn it into a real membership club.

Looking back to when I moved to New York, I was looking for a community.

I wanted perks and guidance and, really, I wanted to be told what to do, where to go where to find great things in my city.

So, we created Magnises.

Billy really is one of the world's greatest salesmen.

He can convince anyone of pretty much anything.

Billy, I'm looking forward to the day when I'll be working for you.

I've known Billy probably since he was 20 years old and Billy is an amazing entrepreneur.

This is a young kid who figured out how to get these millennials and lock them in.

So we take everybody who has a card and create a lot of networking opportunities.

And we're partners with local merchants - fashion stores, restaurants, gyms.

They offer deals and discounts, and the big thing they had was this clubhouse in West Village.

You could take dates and friends there and that's where they had the events.

I helped Billy design wine tasting series and lecture series and many different things that brought these kids together with a sense of community.

The parties were unbelievable. They had live music, booze and food...

I saw Ja Rule a bunch.

Ja Rule is taking his talents to a new business.

The rapper lending his creative mind to an elite credit card for millenials.

What we're doing with Magnises is growing very fast.

We built on an app, went digital. We crossed the 10,000-member mark.

We were taking in close to $2 million in membership fees.

As we kept moving with Magnises, he wanted to penetrate the New York upper class.

He thought that the Maserati and flying to meetings in private jets were necessary in his pursuit of changing his external image and he thought that image would also be a serious driver for the company.

I hosted probably 40 events for Magnises and a lot of the members enjoyed being a part of that community.

That audience, I think, was the audience that Billy was focused on as far as Fyre was concerned as well... but it was a vision that was so big... that it was not something that was going to be easy to pull off.

Could you imagine trying to host a music festival, even on Miami Beach or in Boston or LA?

Almost impossible without an incredibly big infrastructure.

So, dial it up to a small island in the Bahamas.

It would probably be the most difficult place you could do it.

Billy called me and he said, "Listen", I need your help and I need you to get to the Bahamas as soon as possible."

And I flew in, not in any role, except sort of subtly being the new leader and being kind of...

Billy's whisperer.

To do a proper music festival, I would say you should try to start the... the design and the fundraising, everything at least 12 months out.

The true core team that came in literally had six to eight weeks to build this thing and put it together.

Were you ever aware that they said they had bought an island?

Yeah.

It's like you couldn't... differentiate what was true and what wasn't true.

I think we chose the right island.

We got ours for ten million.

Freehold land, no lease. We own the land forever.

I think it was like, he had to put a million down and then pay the rest by a certain amount of time.

I don't know if that million was ever paid.

This was Pablo Escobar's island twenty-five years ago.

So we're taking the dream for your average person in America or wherever they are and saying, "For three days, you can become Pablo Escobar."

Billy was dealing with Pablo Escobar's lawyer, he was dealing with family members.

Norman's Cay is rich in history with cocaine drug lords running their drugs through the Bahamas.

The owner of the Cay, he wanted a new reputation for his Cay.

They were told not to use the word "Pablo Escobar" and then they used that in the first social media tweets.

The new owner saw the first video promotion and he kicked us off in one shot.

Like, no questions asked.

They were kicked off.

Six or eight weeks out, he had to find a new location on a neighboring Island... and then start the whole process all over again.

We were constantly trying to move, like, trying to find a new location and trying to find what fits.

Man, it just started to get hectic.

Then I went to another island, until you finally got to Great Exuma, where it was at least the biggest island in the Exumas so it had, you know... plumbing.

American rapper, singer and actor Ja Rule, also known as Jeffrey Atkins, is in the Bahamas with his business partners to discuss the details of a concert next month.

Fyre was like the thing of the island. Renting so much, rent-a-cars, big jets are flying in.

Everybody was saying, "Hey, that's Fyre, they have lots of money."

They could do anything."

We hope this is the first of many steps to bring entertainment and bring value back to the Bahamas.

I was waiting for some shit like this to happen in the Bahamas, to be real.

You know, we never had that many American artists, you know, on one stage.

This was supposed to go on for five years, every year.

So, if you do good, you were asked for five years.

You got the contract, so you wanted to live up to the expectations.

They had the site.

They let us onto the property... and we looked at it.

And that's when some of the questions started to rise.

The site... was on a hill... and at the base, what I saw was, pretty much, a housing development construction site... that was hazardous in many ways and that needed a lot of work.

You know there's going to be hiccups, there's gonna be things to be addressed.

It's a first-year festival on an island and you find solutions.

We said, "Here's what you should think about," you know, here's what your tenting is, you know, the geodesic domes...

"Here's what it's going to cost to set up."

And... away we went.

What's crazy is they booked the festival during the busiest weekend of the year on Great Exuma.

It's like the Superbowl there.

It's called the National Regatta, and the island basically doubles in population size and all of the hotels get booked months, maybe a year in advance.

Billy had sold a villa package, and these people were essentially staying in an Airbnb, so we had to find houses all across the island for 500 guests.

To make it worse, they had oversold their "Lodge" packages, which were these tents on the main site.

And then the word comes down from the top that all influencers will get housing for free.

So I start calling influencers.

I was the first voice that they had heard since they posted.

Each influencer, and there were about 250 influencers, were promised, for a post, for one post... a one-bedroom, three-person villa on the beach... that didn't exist.

I started talking to Billy... and from the get-go, it was, you know, we were all running around, scrambling, every day to find new houses.

"We need help from you guys, start to cut people."

These people aren't paying for the experience.

"Tell them not to come."

And it was a constant battle because what they cared most about was the influencers.

So I'm imploring them to cancel paying guests at this point.

"They're not gonna have a place to stay." And the response from Billy was, "We're not a problems focus group. We're a solutions-oriented group.

We need to have a positive attitude about this. We need a good attitude."

And he was unflappable but he was also entirely delusional.

So it was this constant battle in my mind between, "Is this guy a genius or is he a madman?"

Because he just would not take "no" for an answer and he wouldn't take advice.

Where do you stand now?

He's a liar.

Billy McFarland first got on my radar living here in New York.

He was running a company called Magnises.

I had a number of friends then that did get the Magnises card when they started offering access to elite tickets at a cost well below the market rate.

The whole thing didn't make sense to me.

People that I've spoken to that were cardholders recount having their reservations canceled at the last minute, so it seemed very hard for people to actually access any of the benefits that they were promised And so, this guy was always out there, just running hustles... that were sort of slick, but then not necessarily, in my mind, something that was by the book.

I vividly remember the Fyre festival video.

This video was everywhere on Facebook and I see a few of the bands that I actually work with listed as headliners for this festival.

So I immediately called the agents and I say, "Hey, look, this thing doesn't make sense to me," and they start saying, "It doesn't make sense to us either.

These guys are promising to pay two X what our market value is."

I say, "Have they sent the money?" and they say, "Funny that you ask, No, they haven't sent the money for it yet."

I say, "Okay. This is interesting."

I take a more active role in investigating everything that was going on with Fyre Festival.

What I realized was that they had rented an area north of Sandals Resort and then effectively photoshopped out the bottom portion of the map to make it look like they were on a deserted island.

I thought, "The world's gotta know what's going on."

So I create the now-infamous Twitter account, FyreFraud.

I thought, "Okay, I'm going to put this out there" and people are going to see this

"and everyone's going to know it's bogus," and nothing happened.

I got maybe two or three clicks on Twitter and that was it.

So I said, "All right, we gotta hit 'em a little harder."

What we ended up doing was taking a plane down there and photographing the development and what they were working on.

One of the things that really struck me was that they were erecting these dome tents that were pitched as "luxury villas" that I realized were leftover hurricane tents from Hurricane Matthew.

That is a far stretch from a luxury villa on a deserted island.

I realized very quickly that there was no way that these guys were going to be able to pull this off.

We were building a city within a city in terms of waste disposal, in terms of restrooms, water.

It was a fucking shit show, but we were doing everything that we could possibly do.

They're frantically building the site.

You know, 100 day laborers working around the clock, no sleep.

It was just this mass, big crew of local workers.

Billy paid them off and then he was like, "You know, we need more guys.

We need more workers."

Billy paid them for the next three days and then...

Billy's like, "Bring more workers. We need more workers."

And then it was starting to get too much for me to handle.

They had every living soul on the island of Exuma who could lift a towel, working.

My gosh, there had to have been, probably at some point, 200 people.

I had to feed all the staff.

Basically, that was taking on the whole Fyre operation under my wings.

I'd gone down to the Bahamas with some friends and just coincidentally we actually ran into Ja Rule and Billy down there and then they offered to take us on a little tour of the site.

It was beautiful, you know, but it's just like a big giant bluff overlooking the ocean. There are no buildings, there's no... access to electricity or running water or any of that type of stuff.

We were just kind of like, concerned, really, there was no infrastructure in place, you know, but at the same time, they sounded fairly confident about their ability to get this thing done.

How is it non-negotiable?

When you guys are not the headlining act at a bigger festival, you guys don't get top of billing. I mean, in our contract...

I understand. I mean, it's a font size.

You had people working 24 hours a day.

I had to work basically two days in one because of Fyre Media and then Fyre Festival.

I noticed the people that were involved in going back and forth to the Bahamas, in the planning, they were becoming growingly frustrated.

They would come to me and like, "What are you working on with the booking platform?"

I can't wait to get back on this side of the business

"because the festival stuff is just becoming chaotic."

We just knew very little about what was happening on the festival side, except, you know, the persistent feeling of growing dread.

Every single day, it got endlessly more tense.

We would be at standstill sometimes for weeks not being able to get that final sign off or move through on things because he was completely, you know, succumbed to the festival needs.

Spending money at an outrageous cost and speed.

I wasn't sure if it was startup woes, just like "unorganization", or if it was actually financial trouble, but sometimes payments would be late.

Friday afternoon, our favorite topic is, "Did you get paid and was it for the right amount?" and Michael once was like, "Yeah, I got paid, but it was in a bag of cash."

I knew that cash flow was becoming an issue, but Billy handled all the finances.

At that point, Billy had said, "Listen, we're into this for 25 million bucks."

I'm like, "Oh, my gosh, Billy, jeepers."

The word from people that knew Billy was that he was a magician fundraiser and he just kept pulling money in, somehow.

Billy would get on a jet, he'd fly to New York and he'd come back and somehow have another three million bucks in his pocket to pull off the next level of needs.

Carola was one of the many investors.

She was a big believer in Billy.

She was there from his earliest venture, Magnesis, and then Fyre.

She had always been around, always supporting this kid and always believing in his ability to become the next big entrepreneur.

We can figure out how to make an extra three, four, five million dollars.

Whether it's higher-tier artist passes, food and alcohol passes, VIP party passes, the Kendall Jenner yacht party for $10,000 a head for 100 people.

Billy had a vision, you know, and he was definitely thinking of every little twist that he could come up with to raise the money to make it happen.

One, an audience who has cash, and us, we have the celebrity, we have the island.

There's ways we can monetize both, we're gonna make that happen.

I overheard a conversation, "Let's put up a cabaña for $50,000 and see if anyone buys it."

And I remember thinking, "Do you have a cabaña to sell?"

Because I'm feeling concerned that you're not thinking about that

"before you are putting it live on the site for someone to buy."

So, this website came out. It was, like, "fyrecay.com."

And the site's sole purpose was to destroy this festival.

It was getting fed direct information and photos of the site that was totally unfinished.

News that was happening by the day that only pretty senior people in the festival knew what was happening.

It was almost like WikiLeaks.

We were having these confidential meetings and then things from that meeting were actually getting out, word for word.

So we knew someone actually in the meeting had been wired up.

So we were all called to the war room to have a meeting and it was basically a witch hunt meeting.

It was, "If you are the person" or people that are sending this information to this website, we will pursue legal action, you will leave this island, you will not get paid

"and we'll come after you."

The guy that put together Fyrecay was extorting Billy.

Billy wanted him to take the website down.

He said he would only do it if the Fyre Festival started releasing actual photos of the campsites.

And I just kept saying to Billy, "We need to get the messaging out now that this is not a luxury music festival."

People aren't staying on yachts, at least, most aren't, many are not staying in villas

"and if you can get that messaging out now, we will be able to manage expectations."

You know? Like here's the reality. Just do it and people will make their own decisions on it.

But you have got to be honest.

Here's what it is. Here's the tents, you know?

People are going to find out sooner or later, so, like, why are you walking around... trying to dodge the inevitable?

We were gearing up. We were ready to go.

We're, like, going to the gym, having this grand old time.

We would go on these jogs every morning to get ready for Fyre Festival.

Like, powering around town. "We're going on this great vacation."

We're going to have such a blast.

We're going to meet all these people and have this...

"just truly fantastic experience."

I mean, it was so exciting.

On April 22nd, I get an email.

"I noticed you hadn't created your Fyreband account yet."

It is your wallet for the weekend, so load it appropriately.

The majority of our guests have added $3,000 for the weekend.

But if you want to reserve tables or take part in the add-on experiences, "you will want to put on much more."

Billy wanted the engineers to set up payment through this RFID bracelet.

We all said that was insane based on the wireless communication issues.

I mean, this was never tested out.

The urgency wasn't, "Let's make this a cashless experience for our festival attendees."

It was, "We can't put on the Fyre Festival because we don't have any money."

I received a call from a woman asking me, I would say, very aggressively to put money on my wristband.

They wanted you to buy jet ski things, a private plane.

It was a staggering amount of money.

The first batch of kids had loaded...

$800,000 on these wristbands.

You know, you've spent all this money on a ticket, and now the same amount of money on the wristband, it seemed... sort of peculiar.

So now we're down to probably ten days left to the festival at this point.

They didn't have enough tents and 350 people would have nowhere to stay and by the way, houses that we sourced weren't getting paid.

So this was now becoming clear that there wasn't any money.

Because homeowners were like, "You sent me a wire... five days ago and I haven't received any funds."

I had an explicit phone call from one of the management team to stop telling Carola about the housing situation, because they were trying to get more money from her... and that my emails were alarming her... and they outright told me to be dishonest.

And you have to realize I got paid 30% of my fee, so they're hanging...

My fee's not due until the day of the event, so they're hanging 70% of my fee over my head like a carrot.

Every day, something else would happen.

Every hour, something else would happen.

Every minute, there'd be another obstacle.

We had a $6 million contract with Star Catering to handle all the food service and we only had $1 million allocated.

And Billy fired them over the phone.

And then he hung up the phone. I stood there and he said...

"Can you salvage this?"

And I said, "Oh, my gosh, I have two weeks to come up..." with food service for 6,000 kids? This is going to be fascinating."

Grant, who was on the call, pulled out the proposal from Star and said, "I told them I wanted sushi chefs coming in," and, "I needed to see Indian cuisine," and I thought, "Gosh, Grant, you've missed the boat here."

We are not spending $6 million, we can only spend $1 million

"and I'm eliminating all of that."

At this point in time, there had been no progress pictures, no updated videos.

They were using the same footage and photographs from that first promotional video in all of the subsequent promotional content.

The media and marketing companies in New York, we didn't have any visibility into what was happening on the production side.

We're building out this vision that was based around this kind of visual facade.

We noticed quite quickly that all of the original sketches of the rooms that we had signed up for got taken off the page.

That was sort of when we started trying to dig a little bit more and see, "Oh, can you send us pictures of the accommodations?"

You had people asking very legitimate questions on Instagram.

They were trying to book flights, trying to understand logistics.

We just started getting bombarded with all these questions.

Grant was trying to use our employees for customer service, but that wasn't what we were hired to do.

The only thing we could do was to just keep telling people,

And then we would get another request saying,

The unanswered questions turned to people criticizing...

It was very annoying.

I was like, "This is terrible customer service.

They need to know better. They're throwing this luxury festival..."

And then you'd have Grant reaching outand saying, "These comments are killing us.

What do we do about all the people that are talking shit?"

The decision was to screenshot all of the legitimate questions and forward that over to the Fyre team and then delete all of the negative comments that were degrading the brand.

I saw them actively deleting comments and then turning comments off entirely so that you wouldn't have 3,000 people saying, "Hey, I don't have my flight information. Where do I need to go?"

So as me and Billy was riding back towards the site...

You know, he was like... Kinda like panicky look, you know?

So he's like, "What do you think? You think we can get this done?

I said, "What do you mean?"

"You think we can get everything done before Thursday?"

So...

Me saying to myself right there, I say, "You want to lie to him or you just want to speak the truth?"

'Cause sometimes the truth can come pretty, and then sometimes the truth can just come ugly.

So, I was like, "Billy, being honest, I think we could do it."

But we need some more time. We need to do some overtime

"and we need to just push... We need to do more hours."

Every day we met, every day, we would talk about, "Okay, should we pull the plug or should we keep this thing going?"

And every day, Billy would say, "We can't pull the plug. We've got to keep this thing going."

"You can't have people come, this is not going to work."

Verbatim. It was like...

"If you want to leave, you can leave.

If you're not going to leave, we're here to find solutions."

And I would step outside, right after each meeting, literally go out on the porch and burst into tears.

Never in my career did I ever do this, but there I would be, thinking, "Holy shit."

So I sent an email.

"Guys, we're running out of time."

I've tried to warn you multiple times, but my words have fallen on deaf ears.

We are one day out without enough beds to safely house our staff, our VIP guests and our paid customers.

"You need to cancel more guests, immediately."

I was basically like, "I know that you're worried about press blowback", but imagine a scenario where 350 people arrive onto a remote island, are herded onto yellow school buses, brought to a festival site that's unfinished and realize they've no place to sleep and to make it worse, they have no way to get home, because we don't have any charter flights booked back for them.

"I know you're worried about the press, but there's no worse situation than that."

And the response?

The response was, "At least they'll see your smiling face and yoga skills."

'Cause I was supposed to be the yoga instructor for the event.

Okay.

Like, what am I supposed to do? You know? Like, I'm...

"All right, sure."

Billy was under such immense financial pressure that he effectively had to put this festival on because otherwise he wasn't going to be able to repay any of the factor receivables that he had raised money from.

It's the same thing as an individual going to a loan shark.

No matter what happened, this money was going to be owed.

They had told investors who had already given money that, in the event of a cancellation, that they would be covered when in fact they weren't.

And they didn't have festival insurance, so canceling really wasn't an option.

I mean, this was truly a disaster.

And events always feel like a disaster.

They always feel like everything's going wrong and you're putting out fires.

The draw, the appeal was to be part of creating something that was special.

And that desire overcame my inner wisdom, which was like, "This is a mess."

The atmosphere that was cultivated there was that... nobody, no matter what, was able to cross them and tell them, "No."

Had we not pulled off these kind of crazy things like Andy finding this caterer with no time left, then there would've been no festival.

It's possible that by solving problems, we were just enabling them to continue to create this monster.

Did Andy ever tell you how he had to get the water out?

Oh, yeah.

Did Andy tell you how they had to get the water out?

Yeah.

It was, like, fucking crazy.

I'm not going to talk about that.

Let me tell you something. We had... four containers filled...

Four 18-wheeler trucks filled with Evian water, but I had left the week before for two days to go to meetings in Bermuda for the America's Cup.

And when I came back, I'd missed the big meeting with Customs, and of course Customs had said to Billy and the gang, "You need to pay us $175,000 in cash today for us to release the water."

I went down.

Well, Billy called me.

I'm gonna speak completely, you know...

This won't go that far, I'm sure, but...

Billy called and said, "Andy, we need you to take one big thing for the team."

And I said...

"My gosh, I've been taking something for the team every day."

He said, "Well, you're our wonderful gay leader", and we need you to go down. Will you... suck... dick...

"to fix this water problem?"

And I said, "Billy, what?" And he said, "Andy, if you will go down and suck Cunningham's dick, who's the head of Customs, and get him to clear all of the containers with water, "you will save this festival."

And I literally drove home, took a shower, I drank some mouthwash.

I'm like, "Oh my gosh, I'm really..." And I got into my car to drive across the island to take one for the team... and I got to his office, fully prepared to suck his dick.

He couldn't have been nicer. He's like, "Andy, listen", I will release all the water, I will let you serve it, but I want to be want to be one of the first people to be paid this import fee for what you're doing," and I said, "Okay, great."

And I got back and I had all the water that we needed.

Can you imagine, in my 30 years of a career, that this is what I was going to do?

I was going to do that, honestly, to save the festival.

Major news in the vlog today. Tomorrow morning, 5:30, half of the Jerry Media crew is going to Fyre Festival in Bahamas on a remote island.

We've been doing their marketing for the last couple of months, so excited to see this thing take off.

I think it's going to be f... epic.

We went down with about four of the teammates the day before the festival.

Mick, the good news about this plane? If we want to leave, just... take the window off and just head out.

This is great. This is a great flight.

I remember the feeling, getting off the plane, we were so excited.

"Finally here, this is happening."

There's literally no cars on the island.

We couldn't rent one. They didn't hook us up with one, so... this is us. We're hitch-hiking for the next couple of days.

I was down there yesterday and I said, "Man, this ain't gonna be finished for no Friday."

So much work, so much things!

And so little time.

So, none of this was here. All this sand is new.

This was all put down... Yeah, I can tell.

A few days ago. Can you?

It's all peaking on this last day because it's going to happen.

We all know now that this is an inevitability, that this event is going to happen, no matter what.

I'm working with this Navy SEAL who's telling me this is like a clusterfuck.

That's what he called it. "An elephant of a clusterfuck."

He's laughing and not even laughing, just disturbed at how fucked up this is and... and he's a Navy SEAL, like, come on!

The last 24 hours were unbelievable.

All I kept thinking about was Woodstock.

Think of that music festival.

Does anybody talk about the hundreds and hundreds of cars that were stuck on the thruway for days?

Does anybody talk about the mudslides?

How many people died of drug overdoses? Does anybody talk about the lack of food?

Almost no water.

Absolutely not. And I thought, "You know what?"

If Woodstock could get through that and, from a publicity perspective, land where it did, "FyreFestival can make it."

Well, actually we didn't sleep that night.

'Cause I remember exactly what happened, so... we're standing outside on the porch of this mansion, looking out at the ocean and it's a full moon or something and it starts... pouring rain.

Pouring rain.

Thunder and lightning.

And we just start laughing.

Like, belly laughs... and look at each other and...

To this point, I'm so delirious that I still am not sure that this is 100% entirely true, but I remember one of our group saying, "At least they won't get away with it now."

I honestly remember that and I don't know that that's...

But that's what I remember.

So you have to realize the site's unfinished.

There's mattresses all over the place getting soaked.

Any tent that was done is now unlivable.

And the guests are still coming.

And we have nowhere to put them.

The rainstorm that morning killed us.

Because I know the work we had done that morning and...

I could have cried.

I think I did.

The other funny thing that happened was we were laughing and we were like, "Well at least nothing is on time in the Bahamas.

At least this rain... The guests will be late."

They were supposed to come at 6:50, the first flight got there at 6:20.

It was like a sick joke.

So...

So...

Fyre Festival, baby. Here we go.

About to go to...

Miami.

Miami for, like, four hours. And then where are we going?

Bahamas. Bahamas.

Check out my ice, baby.

Bahamas. We're coming for you, baby.

We are here in the... "private jet."

We thought we were going to get on one of those propeller planes, like a tiny little propeller plane that was in all of the video footage.

I didn't realize what plane we were going to be on until we were boarded.

And, I mean, it was like a 737.

My understanding, it was supposed to be this "branded jet experience," which I think was a...

I don't know where they got it from. It was just...

"Oh, let's slap a logo on it and call it a day" type of thing.

It's actually worse than, like, really...

Like being low economy class.

It was about 4:30 when we're getting on the plane, and that's when my friend looked at his phone and said, "Blink-182 just pulled out.

Do you still want to get on the plane?"

And their reasoning wasn't anything like, "Don't go, it's a disaster."

It was just like, "We don't think we can put on the show" that our fans would deserve."

I've never been to a Blink-182 concert so I don't even know what that means.

So we were like, "It will be fine."

We all got off and landed on this beautiful island.

Still, nothing seemed amiss.

I do remember being presented a choice.

"Do you want to go to the campsite or do you want to go to this restaurant, this beachside restaurant?"

An executive decision was made, I don't know by who, but it was to essentially close down the campsite and to reroute all of the new attendees to a separate bar.

It was never planned. I knew of it, like, maybe 25 minutes to them coming down to the restaurant.

Tons of buses, bussing in hundreds of their guests.

And they were asking, "Is this the Fyre Festival?"

They all thought that they were at the first step of what was going to be a very exciting experience.

It's on this, like, beautiful beach.

A dock goes all the way out, people are just dangling their legs, having tequila.

I'm looking around and I'm like, "This is the greatest decoy of all time."

The music playing, and the guests was just cheering on.

They were dancing and having a good time.

There was a lot of smiles and a lot of happiness over at this other bar.

Quite frankly, it was probably the best part of the entire experience.

What was happening on the campgrounds was the exact opposite.

Oh, my God.

They're soaking wet!

The tents are soaked, mud is sliding on the carpets.

What was already this kind of very loosely put together festival, which was over-advertised, has now devolved into something much worse.

We didn't have enough drivers, we didn't have enough houses, we didn't have enough beds, we didn't have enough site, we didn't have enough staff.

It was just... We were overwhelmed.

So I'm getting phone calls. I'm trying to charge my phone, and the calls are to get me to the blue production house.

So I get there and it's mayhem. People are scrambling everywhere.

They're still outside trying to build stuff.

Grant was like, "You got the paper bags?"

Because he's like hyperventilating in the bedroom.

People are crying and it's all these emotions.

I was like, "Okay, get your shit done."

I'm literally getting now physically pulled in different directions by the assistants.

"Marc, this person arrived, that person arrived.

We need to find them houses."

I thought something was wrong after they held us on the beach for six hours.

Kinda funneling tequila down our throats.

They started asking, "Where can I go? Where do we go?"

"How are we getting to the campsite? Where is the campsite?

Where's my luggage?"

And I was like, "What do I tell them?"

You know, Billy would be in the room and he'd be kind of the CEO, calling the shots.

Every now and then, he would walk out, go get on his four-wheeler, and just ride really fast in, like, one direction.

Just take off.

And then he would come right back and walk back in without, you know, a lot to talk about, but you could see he just had like bottled up energy.

It's time to let people in and kind of see how it unfolds.

There was no one from Fyre Festival on the bus.

The bus driver just knew where to go, and he's telling us, "Oh, yeah, they didn't start construction on any of this until maybe a month ago."

Or, "Oh, yeah, you're really in for something."

Just wait until you see what you're getting yourselves into."

Which is a very concerning thing to hear when you're on a bus to you have no idea where after taking a plane to God knows what island with who knows what people.

No!

Turn around!

Turn this bus right around!

We see this sea of white little tents.

There was a disbelief on the bus.

A lot of people thought, "Maybe we're passing through this area.

Our villas are just on the other side."

And it was the bus driver who said, "Oh, no. That's where you're staying."

It was like, "Oh, my God!"

Look at the beds! Oh, Jesus!

This festival is never happening again, I hope they know that.

They kinda drive us around the little lagoon and we get to that blue house that I guess was their headquarters, and there was just a line of hundreds of people.

We have literally been standing here for, like, an hour.

We didn't know what we were standing in line for, but we kept standing there, and some people just had bottles of liquor.

Billy came up to me and told me to just blast the music.

As loud as I possibly could.

That's one of the most annoying parts. You could just hear this pulsating noise.

And, you know, every five minutes it would be...

Like, one of the hostesses or one of the staff that would come, "Please, we cannot hear anything as we're trying to check in these people."

And so we would lower the music.

After five minutes, Billy would come back.

"Raise the music."

Everyone was, like, arguing, you know?

Everyone was making noise or like, "Where I'm gonna stay?

What am I gonna do? What am I gonna eat?"

The attendees were looking towards anything, anyone for direction.

Guys, stay here.

Billy McFarland stood up on a table.

So I just kind of walked up and I said, "Where do you go if you have a villa?"

And he said, "Everybody that has a villa, just go grab a tent."

And so this whole mass of people...

I was like, "It's a free-for-all."

Everybody started sprinting, running to their tents, grabbing bags.

We heard this voice, we heard this rush, then we heard the screaming.

We walked out and there was just this mass of people going to tents.

It's an absolute circus. I don't know what's going on.

I'm not getting off this ship until I know what's going on there.

It's 8:36 and people are now just getting their luggage.

These are the lockers that are just being set up.

They're taking off the plastic that are supposed to hold our valuables.

There was no one who planned out luggage tags.

They brought out the luggage in two big containers.

Like truck containers. Eighteen-wheeler containers.

They just said, "Everyone, grab your bag." And it was just a frenzy.

Everyone was just looking for, you know, their black bag amongst a sea of black bags.

And if they had to climb over you and stomp over you to get their piece of luggage, so be it.

This is an absolute disaster.

Where do you... Yo!

We do not want to be on the perimeter, I promise you.

We didn't want neighbors.

Our strategy from there was to kind of ransack all the tents around us.

Just started poking holes and flipping mattresses.

My buddy pissed on a few of the beds.

Shit got crazy.

People was just walking with mattresses on top of their head.

Walking from this one around to that one.

It became this looting mentality.

One woman had a whole pallet of toilet paper.

Somebody else had this whole giant box of pillows that she was lugging back to her tent.

It became very barbaric, in a sense.

Driving around, it was the most eerie feeling in the world.

There was no lights.

It looked like a horror scene.

People were scattered throughout that area and spent one night.

My guess is most of them never went to sleep.

Some woman came in in a panic at one point in the dead of night.

She couldn't find her friend.

She was lost, she seemed like she was drunk. I mean...

But there's nothing you can do to help a person like that.

You know, I don't know where I am either.

And there was a definite turning point, I would say, when the sun went down, when the camaraderie was over.

All I know is that, by the end of the night, all of the tents were full.

And this is with one-third of the guests we were supposed to have.

I remember just leaving this place and looking at this image of the campground for the first time feeling what an epic failure really is.

So, as I was tweeting about the event, just to be like, "This is what's going on."

I mean, "Here's the lockers, here's the concierge stand."

This is what Fyre Festival is."

The tweets just started going viral.

It was just kind of the perfect thing to consume in real-time.

Then I saw the Twitter post.

The cheese sandwich.

That was when I knew this was done.

I remember The New York Times came out with an article that talked about this entire Fyre Festival.

They talked about it very matter-of-fact, from an operational perspective.

What they didn't talk about, which I think was something that was missed, was a couple of powerful models posting an orange tile is what essentially built this entire festival, and then one kid with probably 400 followers posted a picture of cheese on toast that trended and essentially ripped down the festival.

All I know is that people were stoked to watch this thing go down.

There definitely was kind of like almost a gleeful response on social media from people that weren't there.

The way that it seemed like it happened is funny, you know?

A Lord of the Flies situation with, you know, Instagram's top influencers.

Grant was still calling orders and asking us to do things.

I said, "No, Grant, we're not posting any more promises."

We're not trying to propel this vision any further."

You know, "This thing is dead."

Then I think, like, three minutes later, I get a text from Grant introducing me to their new social media team.

"Can you please send him over the credentials?"

I just remember calling Ja he wasn't even there yet - and saying, like, "There's, like, no way this is happening.

I'm sending out the email. I really don't care at this point."

And then I told Billy I cancelled the acts and at that point, he knew everything had fallen apart already.

And he was pacing back and forth out on the terrace.

I could see that there were tears in his eyes, but that was the first time that any of us had seen that.

Through thick and thin, he stayed so positive and it wasn't until that day... that things started to crumble, that he really started to get it.

I mean, he went from, two days before, thinking he was the entrepreneur of our decade to essentially being a massive viral disgrace and joke.

I go into the production house, and, like, Grant's crying and Carola just looks like she's been like hit by a truck.

Grant stayed and he was talking about drafting up their official response to what had happened, and it was like, "Due to circumstances out of our control," and I remember Jorge looks at him and he's like, "Do not lie again."

This is your chance to tell the truth.

"Don't say 'out of our control.' This was perfectly in our control."

Major update.

Fyre Festival is officially cancelled.

Just got the news, guys. Officially?

Is it really? It's what Mick said.

Apparently, there's no food on the island. They're not letting people in.

People who just landed here have to go back to Miami.

They were just trying to get out at that point.

Part of the problem was that there weren't planes to take them out and the airport was totally overwhelmed with all these people and they eventually locked them in and kept them overnight without any food or water. ♪ Okay. How long until water comes?

And food.

When do we get our money back?

It was just this sort of real-time saga that started at six o'clock in the afternoon.

And in the morning, the media started picking it up.

This morning, the organizers of the failed Fyre Festival are feeling the heat.

We took a big jump here, a big risk, and V1 has failed.

People were making fun of it, making fun of us.

Do you feel bad for the people that did spend money and go to this...

If you had thousands of dollars to go on a trip to see Blink-182... that's on you. That is Darwinism at its finest.

At that point, all of their promises started to collapse, so the car rental companies came and took the keys, the house owners came and demanded that their properties were returned.

One of my head construction guys came to me and said, "Andy", I need $26,000 in cash, "and I want it right now."

He was a big guy and he followed me.

And then I went back to the tent and he followed me.

I had the head of the Bahamian Tourism Board, the Minister of Finance and the head of the University of the Bahamas waiting for $1 million that they wanted to be paid.

There was a huge workforce of people that had been working under the sun for, you know, a month, a month-and-a-half without being paid... that as soon as realized that, you know, all of this was collapsing, started, rightfully so, demanding their payment, so there was a sort of a strike.

And we get word that there's an angry mob of locals coming down through the gates.

They're pissed off and they want their money.

And it's now, like, five of us in the production house There was about, I don't know, I want to say 30 people coming down.

And Billy is nowhere to be seen.

There were constant rumors flying around of where Billy was.

He was like Dr. Evil. It was like, "Billy's on a yacht."

"Billy's been at the Grand Isle the whole time."

"Billy's in Miami." "Billy's in jail."

Like, everyone was kind of like guessing where Billy was.

I didn't even know where Billy went.

I went to the house and it was, like, literally cleaned out, and I was like, "Yo, where's Billy?"

After the locals realized they weren't going to get paid, some of them started putting hits out on people, either to take them hostage and then get ransom or just to hurt and injure.

The management team looked left and right and suddenly it was sort of... The "save yourself" mode kicked in.

And I literally traded clothes with one of the employees that had been working with me and I hid behind a urinal.

Someone pulled up in an old car, I jumped into the back and lay down on the back seat so I could at least get out of the village.

Because I couldn't play Mother Teresa.

I couldn't fix this problem.

But I needed to go somewhere and find safety.

When they realized this thing came to an abrupt stop, they all leave those rent-a-cars running with the keys in the ignition.

I talked to one guy who said the door couldn't get open, so a lady kicked the door and ran to the airplane.

So they knew that trouble was ahead.

People started to come to me for, like, money. Like...

"You owe us.

Where's the money?"

"I don't know, but they're gone. I don't know what to do."

I called Billy, I was talking to Billy. Billy said, "Don't worry, I'll handle it."

Day after day passed. You know, people were pulling up to my house.

They were getting mad for this money. Like, literally mad.

I thought it was going to end up in some blows getting thrown.

I was like, "Fuck this, I'm out."

I packed my shit and I was fucking on the next boat.

You know? "I can't handle it no more."

I definitely had a post-traumatic syndrome, like many of us did, for weeks and weeks and a lot of it was a guilt feeling of, "Did I abandon everybody?"

I was the one that would continue to say, "Listen", I have been working with Billy for four or five years now. Trust him.

"This kid is amazing and I think we can pull this off."

And we didn't, and I felt definitely, as I was able to reflect when I got home, that I had probably led a lot of kids on.

You know, you just go with somebody's...

It's that energy, and the belief system, and you just go and you go and you go.

And then when do you stop? And no, I never thought it would end like this.

I don't think anybody did. If we did, we wouldn't have done it.

First, I just want to give a big apology for how the festival turned out.

This is obviously the exact opposite of what we were all striving for.

I made it back home Monday, and came to the Fyre office, and that's when we had the teamwide meeting.

We have to rebrand the platform.

My orthodontist has read about the festival.

And he asked me what I did on the festival.

Right now, yes, we are the fucking laughing stock of everything.

We are the "Scam Fyre."

But that might not be the case after we fucking put our plan in play and start to spin it.

They used Samsung as an example of how, you know, "This is just some bad PR."

"Samsung's out here blowing people's faces off with cell phones, but they're still selling cell phones."

They were kind of trying to make it seem like we would overcome this.

We can't dwell on how we fucked up.

We can't dwell on what made it go wrong.

We gotta dwell on how we make it better in the future.

The vast majority of us on this phone call were not involved with the festival, and then... Or actively told not to be involved.

So it was... painful to be honest. We put, you know, a big, very talented team, put a ton of hours into that software.

The reality is that I just believed in the core app that we're building so much, that I was blind to a lot of what was going on internally with what we were doing.

I mean, it was something that we worked on for an entire year.

And because of the festival, we lost everything within seconds.

Is there any way that the product can be built while we take a step back? No. Absolutely not.

He was saying, "We are a family, it's time for us to band together."

And I was feeling like that was so manipulative.

We're not a family, you won't even tell me anything!

You've completely violated all the trust that we had in the product, in the company, in the brand and in you and public reception is a separate and almost unrelated problem.

Come on, guys!

There's a lot of smart people on this fucking phone call, man.

Let's think of how to dig ourselves out of this shit, man.

We didn't kill anybody, nobody got hurt.

We made a mistake, we'll get past it.

I mean, granted, nobody died, but we did flat-out lie to the public about what we're giving them.

I mean, that's fraud.

Like, and that's not okay as a company operates.

That's not fraud.

That's not fraud.

That is, uh... I would call that...

"false advertising."

As we were getting on the plane, I think I tweeted something like, "See you later, Fyre Festival.

You'll be hearing from Stacy Miller, my lawyer."

I thought to myself, "That's a little strange."

So I looked on Facebook and Facebook was going crazy with this Fyre Festival, of which I had never even heard about.

And, the day after, it was announced that there was a $100 million class action lawsuit that was filed.

In my experience with class action lawsuits, it was not going to get resolved anytime soon.

So we decided to file independently.

The suit was for committing fraud saying, "Look at how great, this is going to be," when they knew all along it was going to be nothing close to what was advertised.

I feel very strongly that if I had bought tickets to the festival, I'd name every single one of the people that advertised for it in the lawsuit.

What made this so interesting was they made it all look organic and, like, a bunch of celebrities and famous people were planning to attend this music festival.

And that's why the impact and reach, in my mind, was as great as it was.

That was a big criticism of people.

"How could you market something that wasn't real?"

You know? But it's like... everything was real. Everything looked real.

If you get hired to do a BMW commercial and that BMW then has a faulty engine, how the fuck can you possibly know whether they'll do good on what they said they were gonna do?

That's like saying the sound guy, and the DP, and the location scout has to do business due diligence on whether or not something's actually gonna happen.

How could we ask the models to have the kind of awareness of the Fyre Festival that I myself didn't have, being an employee of Fyre Media?

We certainly wanted to send the message to influencers that when you post a photograph, and you don't say "#advertisement," there is some level of responsibility.

The government, because of this incident, has been cracking down more and more.

Bella Hadid is now apologizing to her fans.

"I initially trusted this would be an amazing and memorable experience for all of us."

I don't think that they knew or were malicious in their intent.

I don't think anybody fully appreciated the extent of Billy's fraud and where he was gonna go with this.

They all kept working, I think, a week or two after the festival, and then Billy scheduled an all-hands meeting where he was going to debrief everyone and explain what was happening.


The fact that he let, you know, 20 to 30 people just get completely let go with zero remorse... goes a lot to show you what type of person he is.

An FBI agent showed up at the door of my parents' apartment building and gave his card to the doorman and said, "I'm looking for Marc Weinstein."

He's not in trouble, but have him call me."

I was happy to talk to him because I felt that there was some justice happening here.

I spoke to the FBI, yeah, of course.

That was the first time I really understood what Billy had done.

But I couldn't believe what they were showing me.

Billy was... frauding investors who invested in Fyre Festival based on how well we were doing as a company within Fyre Media.

My understanding is, he'd been telling investors that he booked Drake for $100,000, which never happened. We never booked Drake.

You know, he was lying to investors, making it seem we were making money when we weren't.

The original report showed about $1.5 million in offers.

The report that was doctored under Billy's instruction showed closer to $35 milion.

Billy claimed that they had been given an island in the Bahamas worth $8 million, when, in fact, they had not.

Billy falsely claimed that he had more than $2 million in Facebook stocks, when in fact he had about $1,500.

Billy McFarland charged with wire fraud in federal court.

McFarland allegedly sent fake documents claiming the company made millions in revenue.

He'd only earned less than $60,000.

I knew Billy, but I never knew he was capable of doing something like that.

This guy really made me feel like he was part of my family.

I invited him to dinners with my family, and for him to do what he did, you know, I lost that judge of character in people that I thought, you know, I had, and that was really difficult for me.

He really leveraged your existing emotional investment in this team and in this product to extort you to investing even more.

This was Billy's charm.

Like, Billy could just sell you on anything.

He's an operational sociopath.

The reason he racked up millions of dollars on the Fyre app AmEx card was to pay for Magnises tickets for his Magnises users.

He got almost all of it paid off, except for the remaining $250,000, which now I'm being sued by AmEx for.

He left $150,000 of outstanding bills on my personal American Express because of the festival as well.

We lost a lot of money. A lot of money.

A lot.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars, without a doubt.

A lot of people didn't get paid.

A lot of my workers didn't get paid.

He kept on saying, "The money is coming, J.R., the money is coming."

It never reached.

So there was a group of Bahamian locals that built the festival site.

They were never paid.

The estimate that I heard was a quarter of a million dollars was owed in day wages to them.

I had ten persons working directly with me, just preparing food all day and all night, 24 hours.

I had to literally pay all those people. I am here as a Bahamian.

And they stand in my face every day.

I went through about $50,000 of my savings that I could have had for a rainy day.

They just wiped it out and never looked back.

Personally, I don't even like to talk about the Fyre Festival.

Just take it away and just let me start a new beginning.

'Cause they really hurt me.

I am really hurt from that.

To see nobody return to say, "Let me take care of what she's done, we know she has done right."

I just leave it alone, 'cause it really pains me when I have to talk about it so I just wipe it away.

Are you sorry?

Thank you, guys. I'll arrange a comment later. Thank you.

He was released on Saturday on $300,000 bail.

He claims he is broke.

He has apparently moved back in with his parents.

Fortunately, I think Billy is currently living in the basement of his parents' New Jersey home.

He's no longer in his penthouse.

He's no longer riding around in Maseratis and flaunting the wealth that he stole.

Coming back to the Fyre Festival for a second.

You should make a Fyre Festival game, dude.

'Cause you're going through...

They did the Fyre Festival on Saturday Night Live.

I know!

You could turn this into so much.

You just gotta accept the Fyre Festival, and you could turn this shit into gold, like, a pot of gold and then run with it.

I'm not allowed.

Wait, really? Angelo, help me.

Wait, why aren't you...

I hadn't spoken to Billy since he was... arrested and released on bail.

So he asked us to come down to this hotel where he was staying at, and he asked us if we could bring our video equipment, we can do all of that stuff.

And we didn't really know what we were gonna be filming.

Yeah, just film around the clock.

The one thing I've learned from this is the more footage, the better.

How was he living while he was out on bail?

He wasn't living like me.

Billy was living... He was living large.

That penthouse was beautiful.

I just had a little bit of a confused face.

Like, "How are you able to pay for all of this?"

There was a guy named Angelo.

And I don't know if it was Billy's PR guy, but I know that this guy was very connected.

That is the...

Just try to keep me out of your stuff because my...

I can't say anything.

We're not saying anything bad. You can talk.

You know, you can give me advice.

We talked about my experiences in the legal system and I'll never forget what he said to me.

He looked me dead in my face and said, "I'm not going to jail."

Well, I was like, "This man either knows something that I don't" or he is certifiably insane."

NYC VIP Access was a company that reached out to me December 15th, 2017... with an offer to the 2018 Masters tournament.

It was from a guy named Frank.

It just said, "Hey, we've got these tickets" to the 2018 Masters. It'd be great for you or your clients.

"Let us know if you want."

And so I texted my friend Morgan, "Did you guys get this Masters email?"

"Yeah. I got that too."

And so I'm like, okay, clearly somebody's targeting the Fyre Festival email list.

December 19th, "Gift the gift of private flights."

December 21st, again from NYC VIP Access, "Coachella 2018 VIP passes for $500."

"Please email me or call phone number to reserve. Frank."

January 2nd, "Meet Ed Sheeran, Demi Lovato, DJ Khaled, Taylor Swift and more."

We want to one-up your New Year's resolutions by making your dreams become a reality.

"Please email or call to reserve. Frank."

"Burning Man, 2018."

"Courtside at MSG and dinner with LeBron."

"Victoria Secret Fashion Show," "Met Gala, red carpet and gala tickets.

Please email, text or call me to reserve.

"First come, first serve. Frank."

So we're basically selling 2018 Grammy tickets. VIP Access, baby.

What's the next number?

I first started hearing about the NYC VIP Access emails in December.

When I realized that multiple people who had attended the festival were getting the emails, that was when I really started to look at it more seriously.

Met Gala tickets can't be purchased and anyone who attends has to be approved by Anna Wintour in advance.

The Victoria's Secret Show hadn't even been cast yet.

Taylor Swift, she's very open about the fact that she doesn't do meet-and-greets.

Burning Man told me that they had not sold any tickets and that there were no sponsors who would have tickets available.

Pretty much everything that they offered was debunked through just a quick phone call or a Google search.

That's fucking hustling right here.

The first time I met Frank Tribble was at the hotel.

I had never seen him before and usually the people who are around Billy, I'm familiar with.

The strangest thing was he actually had on a Magnises hat, he had on, like, a Fyre sweater.

Frank is, I think, 22 or 23, and Billy had reached out to him and said, "I'm starting this company", but I'm kind of in some hot water related to Fyre Festival, "so I need you to be the face of it."

Hi, is this Zachary?

Zachary, this is Frank calling from NYC VIP Access.

The reason I was actually giving you a call, the Grammys are gonna be held in New York City on Sunday January 28th, in Madison Square Garden, and we're actually selling VIP tickets for that event.

According to the FBI, 15 people gave him over $100,000 for those tickets.

Josh, Frank is gonna call off the list.

If they don't pick up, you send them an email.

I'll write a script for you right now, okay?

What are you recording?

It's hard for me to say if these guys didn't know what was going on.

But I also know that Billy is really good at keeping a level of information... below and above.

For every call, call twice in a row if they don't pick up.

Everybody picks up on the second ring.

Let's cut for now. Thanks.

On June 12th, I published an article outlining all the crossover between Billy McFarland and New York City VIP Access, and about six hours later Billy was rearrested and charged with five felonies.

They included fraud, money laundering, identity theft, and witness intimidation after he warned at least two people not to talk to the FBI and to pretend that they were represented by legal counsel when they were not.

I mean, the idea of him doing this while he's out on bail is mind-blowing to me.

Because you're already under the biggest microscope, and then you're gonna go and commit another scam.

Like, I just don't understand why he didn't just stop.

You said Billy asked you about going, what...

What was he asking you about jail?

Well, unfortunately, I had a misstep in my past, and, um...

I unfortunately experienced it.

And I was in there for two months.

And, you know, he just flat out asked me. He was like, "What was it like?"

And I was like, "It's 23/1 for the first seven days."

He was like, "What's 23/1?"

"You're in a fucking cell for 23 hours."

And then they let you out for one.

You better stretch your legs, walk around, do whatever you need to do, but you're in there until you're processed. After that, they put you where they need to put you, "until you get sent up north."

And I remember the energy off of him. And it was just like...

That shit was so far away from what he knew and what he experienced in his life, that the cognitive dissonance just led him to say, "I'm not going to jail."

I reflected on myself and I was questioning to what extent was I guilty, to what extent was I complicit in all of this.

And I looked back at my posts on social media and it was like all beautiful beaches and sunsets.

You know? And...

And I was going through the hardest experience of my life, and yet if you had seen it, you'd have been like, "Wow, what a great life this guy leads.

He's living in the Bahamas, going to beaches all day."

And Fyre shows what happens when you take that to an extreme.

I've said this multiple times - the real Fyre Festival happened twice.

It was the shoots.

What the commercial was was what everybody wanted.

The shoots were parties.

It just happened to happen for 60 people versus 6,000.

It was epic.

It was nothing I never saw before in my whole entire life. Like...

I'm from the Bahamas, man. We're used to small island stuff.

That was like... That put me up on a new level, a higher level.

We're living in this influencers society, you know?

Everybody wants to have this online clout, people want to have access and they want exclusivity.

Fyre was basically, like, Instagram coming to life.

It actually dovetails really interestingly with just random news stories that have come out since.

I was reading about a company in Russia that now will sell people like three hours to do a photo shoot on a private jet that's just parked on the tarmac.

They never actually leave, but they get to take the picture looking out the window, and pretending that they're living this lifestyle.

And, like, they're successful. People are using it.

Billy seemed really invested in that whole lifestyle.

Yo, I wanna say happy birthday to my brother, my partner Billy in the building. Happy birthday, Billy.

I think it was important to him not just to be on a plane with a model, but to feel like that was his life.

That he belonged there. And not because he owns Fyre, but because that's who he was.

He was completely out of his depth, and he's, unfortunately for himself, a compulsive liar.

And someone that at the end, you know, should be held accountable.

He has a massive debt, not just to the people who invested or to the concert-goers.

I think he has a larger debt to the employees that were reporting and working with him.

The only way, in my opinion, a guy like this learns his lesson is actually going to jail.

I don't think that we've heard the last of Billy McFarland.

I mean, if there's anything that guy is good at, it's separating consumers from their cash.

And if there's anything that this country celebrates more than that, I don't know.

Billy has a presence where, you know, there's something behind the smile.

I wouldn't be surprised if ten years down the line, we're hearing about Billy McFarland starting some kind of other venture that's... you know, imaginative and, uh, and gets some serious momentum and, you know, this all happens in some form again.

[laughs}


It's Billy!

What's up, Billy?

I'm in front of the cameraman. I'm talking...

I'm good.

Yeah. I'm putting in some good words.

You want me to say anything on the camera for you?

All right.

All right. Action!