Fyre Festival Wasn’t The First Time That Founder Billy McFarland Dramatically Undelivered On Promises

Deputy Music Editor
05.01.17

The Bahamian “luxury” getaway Fyre Festival is one of the most memorable debacles of mis-orginzation in quite some time. Though, if anyone had taken time beforehand to look into founder Billy McFarland’s business background, they might have predicted how this whole thing would’ve turned out. You see, as the Washington Post reported, McFarland has a long history of overpromising and underdelivering.

Before going all the way in on Fyre Festival with Ja Rule, McFarland had another company named Magnises, which offered its members the chance to “unlock their cities and take their lives to the next level,” in the form of “Private members-only concerts, tastings with notable chefs, and exclusive art previews at top galleries.” All they needed was a quick $250 payment. Want to guess how that all turned out? Trips abroad were cancelled and tickets to the Broadway play Hamilton disappeared into the ether. The Better Business Bureau calculated 17 different complaints about Magnises over he years.

For his part, McFarland described the issues as “growing pains.” Adding, “We’ve hit some roadblocks along the way, and that’s what happens when you grow really quickly, and that’s on me,” he told Business Insider.

Shortly after the full scope of the disaster of Fyre Festival became clear, McFarland spoke to Rolling Stone to explain what went wrong. “We were a little bit ambitious,” he said in the statement. “There wasn’t water or sewage. It was almost like we tried building a city out of nothing and it took almost all of our personal resources to make this happen, and everything we had, to make this festival go on. We thought we were ready and built two different festival sites.”

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