Promotional video for Fyre Festival

Fyre Festival ticket holders to receive £5,225 each

The disastrous event had been billed as the ‘cultural experience of the decade’ before it all went wrong

Ellie Harrison
Friday 16 April 2021 09:24
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Fyre Festival made headlines four years ago for being “the world’s biggest flop” – now, a court has put a price on the nightmare: approximately $7,220 (£5,225) apiece.

The $2m (£1.45m) class-action settlement, reached between event organisers and 277 ticket holders in New York on Tuesday (13 April), is still subject to final approval and could be affected by the outcome of Fyre’s bankruptcy case with other creditors.

The 2017 festival, founded by entrepreneur Billy McFarland and the rapper Ja Rule, was billed as “the cultural experience of the decade”.

Concertgoers paid between $1,000 and $12,000 (£727 and £8725) to attend, with the promise of a stay on an exotic island in the Bahamas with luxury accommodation, gourmet food and huge musical acts. It was promoted by influencers such as Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid.

What they arrived, however, it was described in the court filing as “total disorganisation and chaos”. Instead of luxury accommodation, there were disaster relief tents and sodden mattresses, cheese sandwiches served in Styrofoam containers and no big headliners.

Despite guests having already arrived, the festival was cancelled on the morning it was meant to begin. The whole fiasco spawned documentaries on Hulu and Netflix.

The lead lawyer presenting the attendees, Ben Meiselas, said: “Billy went to jail, ticket holders can get some money back, and some very entertaining documentaries were made. Now that’s justice.”

McFarland, 29, is serving a six-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to wire fraud charges.

US celebrity lawyer Mark Geragos initially filed the lawsuit in May 2017, and said that the luxury experience offered to attendees was, in reality, closer to Lord of the Flies.

“The festival’s lack of adequate food, water, shelter, and medical care created a dangerous and panicked situation among attendees suddenly finding themselves stranded on a remote island without basic provisions,” he said.

A hearing to approve the settlement is set for 13 May.

The experience of Fyre Festival was embodied in a tweet by attendee Trevor DeHaas, who shared a photograph of the limp cheese sandwich that guests were offered.

Now, Ja Rule has teamed up with DeHaas to sell the rights to the viral post as a non-fungible token.

You can read our explainer on NFTs here.

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