Exclusive Documents Reveal Fyre Festival’s “Shitshow” Ticket Scheme
In the five months since the spectacular collapse of the Fyre Festival, a multi-day music festival for well-heeled millennials in the Bahamas, its 26-year-old founder, Billy McFarland, has been hit with a dozen-odd civil lawsuits, charged with federal wire fraud, and had one of his companies, Fyre Festival LLC, placed in an involuntary bankruptcy. For now, he’s still the CEO of Magnises, an all-but-defunct members-only concierge service.
But new documents exclusively obtained by VICE News show he may still have further to fall. Credit card records show that the fates of McFarland’s two companies became deeply entwined late last fall as he used a Fyre Festival corporate credit card to pay for discounted concert tickets Magnises offered as an exclusive member benefit.
The records, which were verified by two former Fyre Media employees who also had access to the account, show that in a span of just four months, McFarland used his corporate Fyre Media American Express card to purchase more than $1 million worth of tickets from Stubhub, Vivid Tickets, and Ticketmaster, which he then sold to Magnises members, often at a significant loss.
McFarland ultimately declined to pay off the card’s full balance, and one former employee who acted as a signatory on the card says he was left on the hook for more than $200,000. The employee, MDavid Low, a Portland, Ore.-based creative director whose job was to build the Fyre booking app, says his credit was also destroyed because of McFarland’s nonpayment.
“Mr. McFarland casually arranged for Mr. Low to open a Fyre company credit card for folks who worked with Fyre, including Mr. McFarland himself, and then proceeded to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on himself and his other businesses. He lied to whoever he needed to in order to prolong the ruse,” Low’s attorney, Grant Engrav, said in a statement to VICE News Wednesday.
McFarland’s attorneys representing him in the criminal case, Karen Chesley and Randall W. Jackson of Boies, Schiller and Flexner LLP, declined to comment on any of the allegations. VICE News was unable to identify any charges that definitively confirmed or disproved Engrav’s accusations that McFarland spent company funds on himself.