Fyre Festival organiser Billy McFarland has admitted to “lying to investors” in his first TV interview filmed from prison this week.
The 29-year-old is currently serving six years for fraud for masterminding the disaster music festival in 2017 at the Elkton Federal Correctional Institute in Lisbon, Ohio.
Speaking to ABC News’ The Con, he admitted: ”I knowingly lied to raise money for the festival, yes.”
Alongside rapper Ja Rule, Bill defrauded thousands of people, promising to be putting on the first of its kind luxury music festival and paying models like Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid to promote the event.
Ticket holders were promised lavish beachside villas and 'modern, eco-friendly geodesic domes' to stay in with high quality food prepared by celebrity chefs and chart-topping acts like Blink-182 and Tyga.
But when the guests got there, they discovered that instead of the luxury meals and accommodation they had been promised, they were given cheese sandwiches and hurricane tents, whilst performers began rapidly dropping out.
The situation escalated as people were stranded on the island with no flights home and as water and tents ran out, fights broke out.
Billy was warned multiple times that the scale of the event needed much more funding and time to organise, yet he refused to postpone.
He said: “The crime was inexcusably lying about the status of the company to get the money I thought I needed for the festival.
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“Had we given ourselves a year or two and had I obviously not made the terrible decision to lie to my backers, I think we could have been in a bit better place, but regardless of the mistakes that I made or what made things go wrong.”
Billy said that while there was “no excuse” for his actions he did believe that the festival would have been executed.
Billie continued: “There’s no way I can describe it other than, like, what the f**k was I thinking? And I think that applies to so many people on just so many decisions that I made.”
After Billy pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud in March 2018, McFarland was made to forfeit the $26 million he’d taken from investors by lying.
Last year Billy made headlines for requesting to have an early release due the coronavirus.
His lawyers argued his pre-existing conditions of asthma and “extreme” allergies put him at serious risk of the virus.
The story has been made famous by two critically acclaimed documentaries on Netflix and Hulu which followed the build-up and eventual crash of the festival.
- Kendall Jenner
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