- MusicNotes Conf/Facebook
Entrepreneur Billy McFarland and rapper Ja Rule have been the targets of several lawsuits since the Fyre Festival, the weekend-long luxury music event they had planned in the Bahamas for late April, fell into chaos before it could begin.
According to a New York Times report published Sunday, Fyre Media, which put on the event and was founded by McFarland and Ja Rule, is facing a criminal investigation by the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and the FBI. Investigators are looking into allegations of mail, wire, and securities fraud, according to the report.
“I cannot emphasize enough how sorry I am that we fell short of our goal,” McFarland said in a statement to The Times. “I’m committed to, and working actively to, find a way to make this right, not just for investors but for those who planned to attend.”
Pending lawsuits include one from the festival’s investors, who say they’re missing millions, as well as several from attendees who have claimed breach of contract, breach of a covenant of good faith, and negligent misrepresentation on the part of the organizers and the PR firms that represented them.
One suit, filed by the celebrity trial lawyer Mark Geragos, is seeking $100 million in damages, alleging that 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 – that was closer to ‘The Hunger Games’ or ‘Lord of the Flies’ than Coachella.”
According to a leaked tape reported by Vice, McFarland told Fyre Media employees on May 5 that they would no longer be paid but could stay at the company and work without pay if they wished. Employees have said that they were paid via wire transfer or in cash.
A host of supermodels had promoted the festival on social media, including Kendall Jenner, Hailey Baldwin, Emily Ratajkowski, and Bella Hadid. Blink-182, Major Lazer, Migos, Tyga, and Disclosure were among the artists scheduled to perform, according to the festival’s promotions. According to The Times’ most recent report, Blink-182’s equipment is still stuck in “customs limbo,” and Fyre Media owes more than $330,000 in customs fees.
Tickets started at $1,200, but reports have said some attendees paid close to or over $100,000 for the weekend.
- YourTube/Fyre Festival