Fyre (2019) Movie Script

Okay. On you go.
All right, Jason's here on Fyre Cay,
showing him the newly purchased property.
-I like it, man.
-Getting set up for the Fyre festival.
I like your life, man,
I like what's goin' on.
-Are you excited for April?
-I'm ready, man.
-Do I got my ticket?
-You have.
All right, cool,
that's all I need to know.
-Biggest event in a decade, I promise you.
-I'll be there.
[interviewer] When did you first become
aware of Fyre?
I started seeing people posting
kind of the promo video.
It was this very slick production
that promised
that it was Pablo Escobar's private island
and that they were flying in
thousands of people on private jets.
It was just the coolest party
that you'd ever seen advertised.
[woman 1] My agency contacted me
and was like, "Hey, there's this
new festival coming up.
It's really exclusive."
[woman 2] The most insane festival
the world has ever seen.
[woman 1] All these models, like,
in the Bahamas.
Acts like Major Lazer,Disclosure, Tyga...
[woman 1] This is the first weekend
this has ever happened,
so, literally, I was excited.
But we didn't know anything.
[reporter 1] It's become one of the most
talked-about dramas on social media.
[reporter 2] A glamorous,
luxurious Caribbean--
[reporter 3] ...island getaway
turned disaster--
[reporter 4]
...quickly spiraling into chaos.
[reporter 2] Now, the event's co-founder
is facing up to 20 years in prison.
[woman] Are you sorry?
Do you have anything to say for yourself?
Thank you, guys,
I'll arrange a comment later. Thank you.
[man] Hey, Billy?
There's a bunch of people
who's filing lawsuits
against you today in federal court.
Did you hear about that?
[man 2] It just became much more
than anybody ever dreamed it would be.
I mean, you know the saying,
"Desperate people do desperate things."
And now I hope Billy doesn't go to prison
for it, but I don't know.
We are here at the Web Summit...
[Shiyuan] I remember that
it was a big dealthat Ja and Billy
were going to the Web Summit
to talk about Fyre.
It was the first real piece of press.
Well, I'm gonna let
my partner in crime here, Billy McFarland,
give you all the introduction
of what Fyre is.
[Michael] Billy and Ja met because
Billy's previous company, Magnises,
he would have parties and special events
and invite the members,
and one of the events,
he tried to book Ja Rule,
and apparently,
that was a very difficult task.
I went to Instagram
and found this guy named Reggie Muscles
and he says, "Give me 500 bucks
and I'll get you Ja Rule."
I paid Reggie Muscles.
[Ja laughing]
The next day, Reggie Muscles
brings in a guy named Gunner.
Gunner's a little smarter now,
so Gunner asked for $1,000 and he said,
"I'll get you Ja Rule."
So, I gave Gunner $1,000.
And Gunner called me a week later saying,
"Ja Rule hates your offer."
So one of the problems
that we're really tackling is...
the nasty business of booking.
[Michael] So, Billy actually pitched me
the idea,let me know he was
working with Ja Rule
and they wererecruiting engineers
to build this marketplace.
[Shiyuan] You go to the website,you can
scroll throughvarious types of talent.
Somebody who wants to have Ja Rule
at a birthday party
could, through the app,
book Ja Rule for that event
and that's sort of the type of thing
that you could never do before Fyre.
What these guys did was identify...
I think, a really beautiful "blindspot"
in the industry that...
The way the trifecta
between the three of us worked
is that I oversaw product,
ran the design development of the app,
Ja was the entertainment
industry connection
and Billy had connections through
what he told us was VC funding.
Every single thing
that goes into the booking process
is right then and there...
[Samuel] I thought that this was
a functioning platform,
something that was really going--
That had the opportunity
to revolutionize the way,
you know, the industry worked.
The Fyre app had the potential
to be a billion-dollar platform.
After working on the app
for three to five months,
we were starting to figure out ways
to promote it
and in a meeting,
I had actually mentioned,
"Why don't we throw a festival,
a concert for industry professionals?"
That idea, Billy kind of hooked onto
and then it morphed
pretty dramatically
outside of any input from me or Ja
into what became the Fyre Festival.
[Ja] Let me fix you up, man.
Let me fix you up a little bit, a'ight?
A little sandy. That's a'ight.
We're sandy 'causewe're on
our fuckin' island havin' a good time.
[Andy] Originally, when Billy called me,
he said,
"I've bought an island in the Bahamas
and we're hosting a music festival
down there."
And I said, "What island?"
And he said, "Pablo Escobar's island,"
and I said, "Oh, my gosh!"
-A year and a half ago...
-Talk to them.
...Ja and I were flying over the Exumas
and we saw this unmanned runway.
We tried dialing it and no one responded,
so we landed there.
Turns out it was Norman's Cay.
[J.R.] When I met Billy, it was like,
"Man, this guy is stinking rich.
He's bringing all his friends down here
and he's paying for everything."
Four jet skis, four boats,
and, you know, all having a wild-out time.
You know.
I think the idea just popped up
in his head like,
"Ping! We're gonna throw a festival here."
They were going to have
celebrities there,
it would be
this big consumer-facing thing
and that they were going
to do buried treasure.
[Billy] A real-life treasure hunt.
Win a piece of land on the island,
your own private island,
right here, with the Fyre Cay team.
From a pure concept standpoint,
it holds water.
An amazing experience
in a beautiful location
with beautiful people and great music.
You can't ask for more.
[Ja] This is going to be
the most incredible fuckin' shit.
-The Magic Bird.
-The Magic Bird.
"The Magic Bird" is a phrase
that me and Billy coined.
The impact that Magic Johnson
and Larry Bird had on the NBA.
It changed the way people saw
and thought about basketball.
And me and Billy are going to change
the way people look at
a young tech entrepreneur
and a hip-hop mogul come together
and create something incredible.
Billy was kind of nerdy,
but clearly smart,
clearly an incredible entrepreneur.
[Shiyuan] We interacted a lot.
He seemed very charismatic,
very trustworthy.
I thought that he had a vision.
He was able to maneuver
and conduct himself around investors
and then build teams
to build his products.
We were hired to do all the advertising
and marketing for the festival.
They were hiring the best of the best
in each category.
Best talent, best distribution,
best social media company.
Fuckjerry had just launched
a new marketing agency
and we were hired by Fyre
to basically run all the social media.
We've got major news.
Ja Rule just called us,
basically said he wants us to pitch him
for his new app, Fyre.
-[Man] This is Fuckjerry?
-[Ja] Yeah.
[James] That was an amazing meeting.
They just bought an island
and they're going to have a party in April
for 10,000 people.
It felt like they were basically doing
a music festival to draw attention to
this bigger brand that would end up being
the Uber of booking talent.
Who was playing,
what the food was gonna be,
all the things that typically sell
a music festival wasn't the sales point.
This was like selling a dream,
selling a vacation, selling a concept.
We knew that there was a place
and we knew that there was an idea
of having a music festival
and that was pretty much it.
I directed the commercial.
When I saw the call sheet,
I was like, "That's crazy!"
Basically, like, ten of the top
supermodels in the world.
It was the titans
of the modeling industry -
Bella Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski,
Hailey Baldwin.
I'm talking about supermodels.
I thought it was the best thing ever.
"It can't get no bigger than this."
He's recording us!
[Brett] One camera crew is shooting
with the models,
and they had a dedicated film crew, like,
shooting the dialogue
between Billy and his people.
So, we ran into a little issue today.
-Sorry, cut. Talk to me.
Start, one more time.
-We ran into an issue today.
-No. Start again.
[Brett There was no,
"This is the story we want to tell."
There was just, "Capture everything."
We need genuine shots.
We need genuine people interacting,
having a good time.
I need a wide yacht shot.
We have to do the cave underwater,
we need the boats in a flying-V formation.
Could we tell Herbie to have
a big, big, big bonfire tomorrow night?
Like a huge bonfire?
Grant was a neurotic person.
He was a-- He's a smart dude.
He was just overwhelmed.
I'm our chief marketing officer.
I wouldn't call myself a perfectionist,
but everything must be perfect, you know?
[Brett] I mean,
it was like a job of five people.
And he had no experience
in doing music festivals
no experience in doing events.
But he did work hard.
So I know Billy wants to go see the pigs
and this is the only way to make it work.
[man on phone]
But we can't shoot it, dude.
Fair-- So I--
...and you know we don't need to shoot it.
[Ja] Real talk. Like,
we're spending a lot of fucking money.
If we want to go fucking see the pigs,
we go see the pigs.
[Grant] 'll find a way to make it work.
That's it.
If we wanna fucking see the pigs.
the girls wanna go see the pigs,
we go fucking see the pigs.
[Brett] It was like,
"We're gonna scratch the pigs now
and we're going to shoot it."
We were the production company
but we didn't have the authority
to organize it like we were supposed to.
Here go the shots, come on.
Hey, yo. Catch this, get this.
[all cheering]
[J.R.] Billy didn't have no rules.
He had everyone drinking, open bar
wilding out. It was more of a party
than a promotional shoot.
Yeah, let me fly the drone.
[Brett] Our guys were partying non-stop.
Sunup to sundown, gettin' loose.
Billy fell asleep on the beach,
literally, just broad daylight.
Out like a light.
[Keith] I flew here with Billy,
just for a holiday
and now this has ballooned
into a full production team
of girls and cameras.
There was this crazy pilot, Keith.
He made the plane go zero gravity.
I don't know how he did it.
[Brett] Near take-off, he's like,
"I bought this plane six months ago,
I just got my license."
I ended up teaching myself and you can use
Microsoft Flight Simulator.
Microsoft Flight Simulator
has lessons and it's excellent.
Once in the air, I was like,
"What are we gonna do?"
He was pulling off the end of the runway
and going straight up into the thing
and killing the engine.
You know, whenever I'm with Billy,
I have to...
do at least three zero Gs.
Billy and Ja made their famous toast.
That's when I was introduced to the toast.
Here's to living like movie stars,
partying like rock stars...
[Billy] And fucking like porn stars.
[Brett] It was definitely, like,
a trying work environment.
One night, they wanted to turn the bonfire
into, like, the Billy and Ja party
on the beach,
and that's all on camera.
[Ja] Come on, baby.
We about to create art.
Get over here.
Just get in the water.
If y'all don't want to put on a bikini,
it don't matter. Let's get in the water.
Hell, no, I'm not getting in no water.
[Ja] Yeah,
get in the fucking water, Chanel.
They wanted to get everyone in the water,
[Brett] So they made it sound
as if it was a scene,
but nobody was theredirecting that scene.
Guys, what's the purpose
of what you're trying to do?
[Ja] We're gonna jump in,
then the girls will follow us in.
This is the money shot!
Us jumping after you?
[Brett] It was them partying with talent
that didn't really know
what they were there to do.
But in the end, it didn't matter.
We're selling a pipe dream
to your average loser.
-Selling a pipe dream to fucking buyers.
-Your average guy in middle America.
[Brett] They were selling a vision
of what people want.
We should tell all the girls to post
one picture of them on the beach today,
or on jet skis,
#fyrefestival before five o'clock.
[Ja] Could y'all, like,
hashtag some Fyre Festival shit?
[Shiyuan] The models posted a lot
of their own pictures from the weekend
that they spent shooting there.
They need to be fucking tagging us.
Why aren't these people tagging us?
This is bullshit.
One of the women had posted...
the Mannequin Challenge that they did.
[Brett] And so Ja Rule is there
and Billy was there
and then ten of the top models...
The power of celebrity really there was,
like, "Whoa!"
The press of the trip
got picked up just by those girls
being there all together as a group.
So, The Daily Mail talks about
how they're hashtagging "Fyre Festival"
and that Shanina Shaik says, "It's lit."
I knew it would do that,
I knew with the buzz...
If you're constantly going to be
taking pictures here,
make sure you fucking, "Fyre Festival,"
because it's gonna create a small buzz
that can be a big buzz. It's free press.
You can't pay for that kind of press.
They captured a ton of footage
that was just,
really, from a marketing perspective,
second to none.
And it was the thing that gave
all of the New York agencies
some insight
into what was happening down there.
They would all have a tanand be smiling
and talk about these experiences
that they had,
which almost gave usa little bit of like,
FOMO: we're wondering what we hadn't seen
or what we're missing out on
and Fyre very quickly
became one of our most important clients.
They were trying to tap into a culture
and a zeitgeist that they believed in,
and they were uncompromising
when it came to marketing.
[Billy] Today's the big day. Five o'clock.
We have what will be known
as the best coordinated
social influencer campaign ever.
We have 400 of the biggest people
around the world,
influencers, models, comedians,
artists, actors, actresses,
all at the same time posting
the ambiguous burnt orange Fyre tile.
They came up with
the idea of the orange tile.
[Mick] Fyre handled
all of the major models
and then we and a number of other agencies
were reaching out to any influencer
we knew in our network.
And there's the caption saying,
"Join me @fyrefestival.com,"
so we're expecting millions
to come and visit our site,
see the video, showing people that
for three or four days,
you can escape reality
and come experience
Pablo Escobar's old island.
The commercial globally got launched
while there.
We had a whole edit team there.
We were editing the commercial
and had a launch strategy in the Bahamas,
which is crazy, 'cause there's no internet
and no infrastructure, nothing there.
[JR] Billy was like, "Man,
let's catch a plane to Nassau
and go on the phone and internet there,
because Kendall Jenner is
about to announce this live thing
on Instagram.
[Gabrielle] Kendall Jenner was paid,
I think, $250,000
by wire transfer
just to post that one post.
[Shiyuan] When I saw the video,
my first reaction was confusion.
I wasn't sure who was the target market
of the festival.
If you go, will there be Instagram models
lounging around
to feed you grapes?
So, it was a combination of confusion
and excitement.
[Mick] As soon as the models
started posting,
the Fyre Instagram account
just started to blow up.
Overnight, basically,
this massive influx of enthusiasm
and awareness,
a PR storm like you've never seen.
I had brand sponsors who had invested
millions of dollars into Coachella
asking if they could figure out a way
to get their investment out of Coachella
and put it over towards Fyre.
They advertised theseincredible
ticket packages.
They had the "rustic tent," that was
supposed to be kind of like a Coachella,
glamorous scenario.
And then they had private homes
and then it went up to like 250 grand for,
you know, a private yacht
with a private chef on board.
Within 48 hours,
they sold 95% of their tickets.
I think people thought
that this was one of the new hot things
that was starting to take over
the American and global market.
So now, you know,
we hope everybody comes and enjoys...
the cultural experience of the decade,
Fyre Festival.
[Marc] I remember I first heard
about Fyre Festival
at a music festival conference
in Las Vegas.
Ja Rule was a keynote speaker
and he unveiled this festival
that they were doing in the Bahamas
and everyone at the table
I was sitting with just started laughing.
They were like, "Yeah, good luck, Ja Rule,
build a music festival
'cause it's so easy."
And there was this tinge of resentment,
kind of humoring it and all that.
The industry insiders were laughing.
Fast forward two months later,
before I was introduced to Billy,
and I'm meeting with my friend Max
at Matte Productions,
who produced the influencer video.
And when I when I saw that video,
I was like, "These guys are
either completely full of shit
or they're the smartest guys in the room."
So, I spoke to Max...
and I asked him what the deal was
and he's like, "No, they're legit
and they sold out the festival."
So, as a first-time festival producer
to sell out your music festival,
it's a huge accomplishment.
[Keith] So we tried to fit 800 people here
and a concert for about 5,000 people.
So, Norman's Cay is on this end.
I knew the island. I've been going
to Bahamas for the past ten years,
so my role in the beginning was just to
try to map it out and do the logistics.
It's forty acres, right?
So one inch is a hundred feet.
So, this is about 200 feet.
-[Bill] You're going to write off--
-Shit. My bad.
[Ja Rule] On the floor plans.
You ruined my sewage calculations.
Instead of thinking about models,
you have to think about toilets.
We must buy lots of toilets.
We gotta go to Home Depot
and buy a thousand toilets. I mean...
The number of tickets they'd sold,
they couldn't physically fit
that many people on the island,
let alone build
some sort of insane infrastructure
that could support them
from a bio-waste standpoint.
I didn't think it was possible to fit
over 1,000 people on that island
so I had made a planto get a cruise ship.
The tricky part is getting drunk people
off the island at night.
to go to sleep on a cruise ship
on a little dinghy.
[man] We're not doing
a cruise ship anymore.
You're not doing the cruise ship?
Everybody is gonna be on the islands.
[chuckling] I'm not kidding.
-They said it's possible.
They really wanted to do tents,
so what I did is I took my wife
and we tried to sleep in a tent
for one night
and... it was so terrible,
that, you know, this tent is just not
going to be safe and it's so loud,
so many mosquitoes,
To do these tents without air conditioning
is pretty brutal.
It's just not possible, so I...
I strongly recommended against the tents.
[Martin] Keith raised a lot of concerns
about these things
and then I think he was asked
to no longer be part of it.
[Keith] It's just Billy at some point
told me,"Listen, you need to step back.
You know, we're going to go
with different people and...
Yeah, thanks for your help so far
and, you know..."
I wasn't the only one
that was changed out in February, March.
[Marc] They asked me to fly down
to the Bahamas to meet them.
And I flew down there.
When I was introduced to them
I was super excited
to, you know, to participate in what
could be a really special event,
if it was even half of what
they had promised their guests.
[Mark] Flying over the islands from Miami
and you see this water and it was magic.
I mean, I can't even describe it to you.
We were contacted perhaps...
forty-five days out.
We were asked to take a shot
at putting together a production for them.
The timeframe was very short,
but there was definitely a chance
of putting it all together.
Billy talked to us, talked to me
and I loved his vision.
I loved his ideas, his energy.
We sat down and basically put together
a budget for him in a day,
presented to him the next day.
"Here are your hard facts,
here are your costs associated do this.
And they said,
"This is fine. We can do this."
[interviewer] And so roughly,
what was that number?
I think it was maybe 38?
-[interviewer] Thirty-eight million?
Billy came and said, "Can you book
the lineup for the festival?"
I'm a 22, 23-year-old kid,
I've never booked talent for...
Forget about for a festival.
I remember the first artist I got
was Major Lazer.
I mean, grossly overpaid.
And then Disclosure, Blink-182.
The talent alone was three and a half,
four million dollars was spent.
Most of the artists they were working with
were expecting
a certain level of production,
a sufficient lighting package...
a good enough sound system
and, you know, we realized that
they didn't really have any idea
of what it meant to book the artists
that they were booking...
what it meant to put up a show like that.
You know? "What did this Billy do before?"
"He's the visionary behind Magnises."
That's what they told me.
"The visionary behind Magnises."
What the hell is Magnises?
[Bill] Jessica,
you're chasing the story about
the millennials' version
of the black card. What have you got?
This is Magnises.
It's the newest, coolest credit card.
[Martin] The original vision was simple.
We were just kids,
we'd figured out a way to turn
boring, plastic cards into
nice-looking, sleek,
stainless steel credit cards.
It was black, the thing was metal.
It would make a big clank
when you put it down.
The girls were like, "Holy hell,
what is that? What do you do?"
[Martin] We gained traction.
We start growing across
the 1,500-member mark.
We then decided to turn it
into a real membership club.
[Billy] Looking back to when I moved to
New York,I was looking for a community.
I wanted perks and guidance and, really,
I wanted to be told what to do,
where to go
where to find great things in my city.
So, we created Magnises.
Billy really is one of
the world's greatest salesmen.
He can convince anyone
of pretty much anything.
[anchor] Billy, I'm looking forward to the
day when I'll be working for you.
I've known Billy probably
since he was 20 years old
and Billy is an amazingentrepreneur.
This is a young kid who figured out
how to get these millennials
and lock them in.
So we take everybody who has a card
and create a lot of
networking opportunities.
And we're partners
with local merchants -
fashion stores, restaurants, gyms.
They offer deals and discounts,
and the big thing they had
was this clubhouse in West Village.
You could take dates and friends there
and that's where they had the events.
I helped Billy design wine tasting series
and lecture series
and many different things
that brought these kids together
with a sense of community.
The parties were unbelievable.
They had live music, booze and food...
I saw Ja Rule a bunch.
Ja Rule is taking his talents
to a new business.
The rapper lending his creative mind
to an elite credit card for millenials.
What we're doing with Magnises
is growing very fast.
[Martin] We built on an app, went digital.
We crossed the 10,000-member mark.
We were taking in close to $2 million
in membership fees.
As we kept moving with Magnises,
he wanted to penetrate
the New York upper class.
He thought that the Maserati
and flying to meetings in private jets
were necessary in his pursuit
of changing his external image
and he thought that image would also be
a serious driver for the company.
[Andy] I hosted probably 40 events
for Magnises
and a lot of the members enjoyed
being a part of that community.
That audience, I think, was the audience
that Billy was focused on
as far as Fyre was concerned as well...
but it was a vision that was so big...
that it was not something
that was going to be easy to pull off.
Could you imagine trying to host
a music festival,
even on Miami Beach or in Boston or LA?
Almost impossible without an
incredibly big infrastructure.
So, dial it up to a small island
in the Bahamas.
It would probably be
the most difficult place you could do it.
Billy called me and he said, "Listen,
I need your help and I need you to get
to the Bahamas as soon as possible."
And I flew in, not in any role,
except sort of subtly
being the new leader and being kind of...
Billy's whisperer.
To do a proper music festival,
I would say you should try to start the...
the design and the fundraising,
everything at least 12 months out.
The true core team
that came in literally had
six to eight weeks to build this thing
and put it together.
[interviewer] Were you ever aware that
they saidthey had bought an island?
[chuckling] Yeah.
It's like you couldn't...
differentiate what was true
and what wasn't true.
I think we chose the right island.
We got ours for ten million.
Freehold land, no lease.
We own the land forever.
I think it was like,
he had to put a million down
and then pay the rest
by a certain amount of time.
I don't know
if that million was ever paid.
[all laughing]
This was Pablo Escobar's island
twenty-five years ago.
So we're taking the dream
for your average person in America
or wherever they are and saying,
"For three days,
you can become Pablo Escobar."
[Andy] Billy was dealing
with Pablo Escobar's lawyer,
he was dealing with family members.
[J.R.] Norman's Cay is rich in history
with cocaine drug lords
running their drugs through the Bahamas.
The owner of the Cay,
he wanted a new reputation for his Cay.
They were told not to use the word
"Pablo Escobar"
and then they used that
in the first social media tweets.
The new owner saw
the first video promotion
and he kicked us off in one shot.
Like, no questions asked.
They were kicked off.
Six or eight weeks out,
he had to find a new location
on a neighboring Island...
and then start the whole process
all over again.
We wereconstantly trying to move,
like, trying to find a new location
and trying to find what fits.
Man, it just started to get hectic.
Then I went to another island,
until you finally got to Great Exuma,
where it was at least the biggest island
in the Exumas
so it had, you know...
American rapper, singer and actor Ja Rule,
also known as Jeffrey Atkins,
is in the Bahamas
with his business partners
to discuss the details
of a concert next month.
Fyre was like the thing of the island.
Renting so much, rent-a-cars,
big jets are flying in.
Everybody was saying, "Hey, that's Fyre,
they have lots of money.
They could do anything."
We hope this is the first of many steps
to bring entertainment
and bring value back to the Bahamas.
I was waiting for some shit like this
to happen in the Bahamas, to be real.
You know, we never had
that many American artists,
you know, on one stage.
This was supposed to go on
for five years, every year.
So, ifyou do good,
you were asked for five years.
You got the contract, so you wanted
to live up to the expectations.
[Mark] They had the site.
They let us onto the property...
and we looked at it.
And that's when some of the questions
started to rise.
The site...
was on a hill...
and at the base,
what I saw was, pretty much,
a housing development
construction site...
that was hazardous in many ways
and that needed a lot of work.
You know there's going to be hiccups,
there's gonna be things to be addressed.
It's a first-year festival
on an island and you find solutions.
We said,
"Here's what you should think about,
you know, here's what your tenting is,
you know, the geodesic domes...
Here's what it's going to cost to set up."
away we went.
What's crazy is they booked the festival
during the busiest weekend
of the year on Great Exuma.
It's like the Superbowl there.
It's called the National Regatta,
and the island basically doubles
in population size
and all of the hotels get booked months,
maybe a year in advance.
Billy had sold a villa package,
and these people were essentially staying
in an Airbnb,
so we had to find houses
all across the island for 500 guests.
To make it worse, they had oversold
their "Lodge" packages,
which were these tents on the main site.
And then the word comes down from the top
that all influencers will get housing
for free.
So I start calling influencers.
I was the first voice that they had heard
since they posted.
Each influencer,
and there were about 250 influencers,
were promised, for a post,
for one post...
a one-bedroom,
three-person villa on the beach...
that didn't exist.
I started talking to Billy...
and from the get-go, it was, you know,
we were all running around, scrambling,
every day to find new houses.
"We need help from you guys,
start to cut people.
These people aren't paying
for the experience.
Tell them not to come."
And it was a constant battle
because what they cared most about
was the influencers.
So I'm imploring them to cancel
paying guests at this point.
"They're not gonna have a place to stay."
And the response from Billy was,
"We're not a problems focus group.
We're a solutions-oriented group.
We need to have a positive attitude
about this. We need a good attitude."
And he was unflappable
but he was also entirely delusional.
So it was this constant battle
in my mind between,
"Is this guy a genius or is he a madman?"
Because he just would not take "no"
for an answer and he wouldn't take advice.
[interviewer] Where do you stand now?
He's a liar.
[Calvin] Billy McFarland first got
on my radarliving here in New York.
He was running a company called Magnises.
I had a number of friends then
that did get the Magnises card
when they started offering
access to elite tickets
at a cost well below the market rate.
The whole thing didn't make sense to me.
People that I've spoken to
that were cardholders
recount having their reservations
canceled at the last minute,
so it seemed very hard
for people to actually
access any of the benefits
that they were promised
And so, this guy was always out there,
just running hustles...
that were sort of slick,
but then not necessarily, in my mind,
something that was by the book.
I vividly remember
the Fyre festival video.
This video was everywhere on Facebook
and I see a few of the bands
that I actually work with
listed as headliners for this festival.
So I immediately called the agents
and I say,
"Hey, look,
this thing doesn't make sense to me,"
and they start saying,
"It doesn't make sense to us either.
These guys are promising to pay
two X what our market value is."
I say, "Have they sent the money?"
and they say, "Funny that you ask,
No, they haven't sent the money
for it yet."
I say, "Okay. This is interesting."
I take a more active role
in investigating everything
that was going on with Fyre Festival.
What I realized was that they had rented
an area north of Sandals Resort
and then effectively photoshopped out
the bottom portion of the map
to make it look like
they were on a deserted island.
I thought, "The world's gotta know
what's going on."
So I create the now-infamous
Twitter account, FyreFraud.
I thought, "Okay, I'm going to
put this out there
and people are going to see this
and everyone's going to know it's bogus,"
and nothing happened.
I got maybe two or three clicks
on Twitter and that was it.
So I said, "All right,
we gotta hit 'em a little harder."
What we ended up doing was taking
a plane down there
and photographing the development
and what they were working on.
One of the thingsthat really struck me
was that they were erecting
these dome tents
that were pitched as "luxury villas"
that I realized
were leftover hurricane tents
from Hurricane Matthew.
That is a far stretch
from a luxury villa on a deserted island.
I realized very quickly
that there was no way
that these guys were going to be able
to pull this off.
[Mark] We were building
a city within a city
in terms of waste disposal,
in terms of restrooms, water.
It was a fucking shit show,
but we were doing everything
that we could possibly do.
They're frantically building the site.
You know, 100 day laborers
working around the clock, no sleep.
It was just this mass,
big crew of local workers.
Billy paid them off and then he was like,
"You know, we need more guys.
We need more workers."
Billy paid them
for the next three days and then...
Billy's like, "Bring more workers.
We need more workers."
And then it was starting
to get too much for me to handle.
They had every living soul
on the island of Exuma
who could lift a towel, working.
My gosh, there had to have been,
probably at some point, 200 people.
I had to feed all the staff.
Basically, that was taking on
the whole Fyre operation under my wings.
I'd gone down to the Bahamas
with some friends
and just coincidentally we actually
ran into Ja Rule and Billy down there
and then they offered to take us
on a little tour of the site.
It was beautiful, you know,
but it's just like a big giant bluff
overlooking the ocean.
There are no buildings, there's no...
access to electricity or running water
or any of that type of stuff.
We were just kind of like,
concerned, really, there was
no infrastructure in place, you know,
but at the same time,
they sounded fairly confident
about their ability
to get this thing done.
[Samuel] How is it non-negotiable?
When you guys are not the headlining act
at a bigger festival,
you guys don't get top of billing.
I mean, in our contract...
I understand. I mean, it's a font size.
You had people working 24 hours a day.
I had to work basically two days in one
because of Fyre Media
and then Fyre Festival.
I noticed the people that were involved
in going back and forth to the Bahamas,
in the planning,
they were becoming growingly frustrated.
They would come to me and like,
"What are you working on
with the booking platform?
I can't wait to get back
on this side of the business
because the festival stuff
is just becoming chaotic."
We just knew very little about what was
happening on the festival side,
except, you know, the persistent feeling
of growing dread.
Every single day,
it got endlessly more tense.
We would be at standstill sometimes
for weeks
not being able to get that final sign off
or move through on things
because he was completely, you know,
succumbed to the festival needs.
Spending money at an outrageous cost
and speed.
I wasn't sure if it was startup woes,
just like "unorganization",
or if it was actually financial trouble,
but sometimes payments would be late.
Friday afternoon,
our favorite topic is, "Did you get paid
and was it for the right amount?"
and Michael once was like, "Yeah,
I got paid, but it was in a bag of cash."
[Andy] I knew that cash flow
was becoming an issue,
but Billy handled all the finances.
At that point,
Billy had said, "Listen, we're into this
for 25 million bucks.
I'm like, "Oh, my gosh, Billy, jeepers."
The word from people that knew Billy
was that he was a magician fundraiser
and he just kept pulling money in,
[Andy] Billy would get on a jet,
he'd fly to New York and he'd come back
and somehow have another
three million bucks
in his pocket to pull off
the next level of needs.
[Mick] Carola was one of
the many investors.
She was a big believer in Billy.
She was there from his earliest venture,
Magnesis, and then Fyre.
She had always been around,
always supporting this kid
and always believing in his ability
to become the next big entrepreneur.
We can figure out how to make an extra
three, four, five million dollars.
Whether it's higher-tier artist passes,
food and alcohol passes, VIP party passes,
the Kendall Jenner yacht party
for $10,000 a head for 100 people.
Billy had a vision, you know,
and he was definitely thinking
of every little twist
that he could come up with
to raise the money to make it happen.
There's two things going for us:
one, an audience who has cash,
and us, we have the celebrity,
we have the island.
There's ways we can monetize both,
we're gonna make that happen.
I overheard a conversation,
"Let's put up a cabaa for $50,000
and see if anyone buys it."
And Iremember thinking,
"Do you have a cabaa to sell?
Because I'm feeling concerned
that you're not thinking about that
before you are putting it live on the site
for someone to buy."
[Marc] So, this website came out.
It was, like, "fyrecay.com."
And the site's sole purpose
was to destroy this festival.
It was getting fed direct information
and photos
of the site that was totally unfinished.
News that was happening
by the day that only
pretty senior people in the festival
knew what was happening.
[Martin] It was almost like WikiLeaks.
We were having these confidential meetings
and then things from that meeting
were actually getting out, word for word.
So we knew someone actually
in the meeting had been wired up.
So we were all called to the war room
to have a meeting
and it was basically a witch hunt meeting.
It was, "If you are the person
or people that are sending
this information to this website,
we will pursue legal action,
you will leave this island,
you will not get paid
and we'll come after you."
The guy that put together Fyrecay
was extorting Billy.
Billy wanted him
to take the website down.
He said he would only do it
if the Fyre Festival
started releasing actual photos
of the campsites.
And I just kept saying to Billy,
"We need to get the messaging out now
that this is not a luxury music festival.
People aren't staying on yachts,
at least, most aren't,
many are not staying in villas
and if you can get that messaging out now,
we will be able to manage expectations."
[Mark] You know?
Like here's the reality. Just do it
and people will make
their own decisions on it.
But you have got to be honest.
Here's what it is.
Here's the tents, you know?
People are going to find out
sooner or later, so, like,
why are you walking around...
trying to dodge the inevitable?
[Marc C.] We were gearing up.
We were ready to go.
We're, like, going to the gym,
having this grand old time.
We would go on these jogs every morning
to get ready for Fyre Festival.
Like, powering around town.
"We're going on this great vacation.
We're going to have such a blast.
We're going to meet all these people
and have this...
just truly fantastic experience."
I mean, it was so exciting.
[Seth] On April 22nd, I get an email.
"I noticed you hadn't created
your Fyreband account yet.
It is your wallet for the weekend,
so load it appropriately.
The majority of our guests
have added $3,000 for the weekend.
But if you want to reserve tables
or take part in the add-on experiences,
you will want to put on much more."
Billy wanted the engineers to set up
payment through this RFID bracelet.
[Mark] We all said that was insane based
on the wireless communication issues.
I mean, this was never tested out.
[Shiyyuan] The urgency wasn't,
"Let's make thisa cashless experience
for our festival attendees."
It was, "We can't put on the Fyre Festival
because we don't have any money."
I received a call from a woman
asking me, I would say, very aggressively
to put money on my wristband.
They wanted you to buy jet ski things,
a private plane.
[Andy] It was a staggering amount
of money.
The first batch of kids had loaded...
$800,000 on these wristbands.
You know, you've spent all this
money on a ticket,
and now the same amount of money
on the wristband, it seemed...
sort of peculiar.
[Marc] So now we're down toprobably ten
days left to the festival at this point.
They didn't have enough tents
and 350 people would have nowhere to stay
and by the way, houses that we sourced
weren't getting paid.
So this was now becoming clear
that there wasn't any money.
Because homeowners were like,
"You sent me a wire...
five days ago
and I haven't received any funds."
I had an explicit phone call
from one of the management team
to stop telling Carola
about the housing situation,
because they were trying to get
more money from her...
and that my emails were alarming her...
and they outright told me to be dishonest.
And you have to realize I got paid 30%
of my fee, so they're hanging--
My fee's not due
until the day of the event,
so they're hanging 70% of my fee
over my head like a carrot.
[Andy] Every day,
something else would happen.
Every hour, something else would happen.
Every minute, there'd be another obstacle.
We had a $6 million contract
with Star Catering
to handle all the food service
and we only had $1 million allocated.
And Billy fired them over the phone.
And then he hung up the phone.
I stood there and he said...
"Can you salvage this?"
And I said, "Oh, my gosh,
I have two weeks to come up...
with food service for 6,000 kids?
This is going to be fascinating."
Grant, who was on the call,
pulled out the proposal
from Star and said,
"I told them I wanted
sushi chefs coming in,"
and, "I needed to see Indian cuisine,"
and I thought, "Gosh, Grant,
you've missed the boat here."
We are not spending $6 million,
we can only spend $1 million
and I'm eliminating all of that."
At this point in time,
there had been no progress pictures,
no updated videos.
They were using the same footage
and photographs
from that first promotional video
in all of the subsequent
promotional content.
The media and marketing companies
in New York,
we didn't have any visibility into what
was happening on the production side.
We're building out this vision that was
based around this kind of visual facade.
[Mark C.] We noticed quite quickly that
all of the original sketches of the rooms
that we had signed up for
got taken off the page.
That was sort of when we started
trying to dig a little bit more and see,
"Oh, can you send us pictures
of the accommodations?"
You had people asking
very legitimate questions on Instagram.
They were trying to book flights,
trying to understand logistics.
[Mick] We just started getting bombarded
with all these questions.
Grant was trying to use our employees
for customer service,
but that wasn't what we were hired to do.
The only thing we could do
was to just keep telling people,
"Email concierge@fyre.com."
And then we would get
another request saying,
"concierge@fyre.com didn't respond."
The unanswered questions
turned to people criticizing...
[Mark C.] It was very annoying.
I was like,
"This is terrible customer service.
They need to know better.
They're throwing this luxury festival..."
[Mick] And then you'd have Grant
reaching outand saying,
"These comments are killing us.
What do we do about all the people
that are talking shit?"
The decision was to screenshot
all of the legitimate questions
and forward that over to the Fyre team
and then delete
all of the negative comments
that were degrading the brand.
I saw them actively deleting comments
and then turning comments off entirely
so that you wouldn't have
3,000 people saying,
"Hey, I don't have my flight information.
Where do I need to go?"
So as me and Billy was riding back
towards the site...
You know, he was like....
Kinda likepanicky look, you know?
So he's like,
"What do you think?
You think we can get this done?
I said, "What do you mean?"
"You think we can get everything done
before Thursday?"
Me saying to myself right there, I say,
"You want to lie to him
or you just want to speak the truth?"
'Cause sometimes the truth
can come pretty,
and then sometimes
the truth can just come ugly.
So, I was like,
"Billy, being honest,
I think we could do it.
But we need some more time.
We need to do some overtime
and we need to just push...
We need to do more hours."
[Andy] Every day we met,
every day, we would talk about,
"Okay, should we pull the plug
or should we keep this thing going?"
And every day, Billy would say,
"We can't pull the plug.
We've got to keep this thing going."
"You can't have people come,
this is not going to work."
Verbatim. It was like...
"If you want to leave, you can leave.
If you're not going to leave,
we're here to find solutions."
And I would step outside,
right after each meeting,
literally go out on the porch
and burst into tears.
Never in my career did I ever do this,
but there I would be, thinking,
"Holy shit."
[Marc] So I sent an email.
"Guys, we're running out of time.
I've tried to warn you multiple times,
but my words have fallen on deaf ears.
We are one day out
without enough beds to safely house
our staff, our VIP guests
and our paid customers.
You need to cancel more guests,
I was basically like, "I know that
you're worried about press blowback,
but imagine a scenario where 350 people
arrive onto a remote island,
are herded onto yellow school buses,
brought to a festival site
that's unfinished
and realize they've no place to sleep
and to make it worse,
they have no way to get home,
because we don't have any charter flights
booked back for them.
I know you're worried about the press,
but there's no worse situation than that."
And the response?
The response was,
"At least they'll see
your smiling face and yoga skills."
'Cause I was supposed to be
the yoga instructor for the event.
Like, what am I supposed to do?
You know? Like, I'm...
"All right, sure."
Billy was under such immense
financial pressure
that he effectively
had to put this festival on
because otherwise he wasn't going
to be able to repay
any of the factor receivables
that he had raised money from.
It's the same thing as an individual
going to a loan shark.
No matter what happened,
this money was going to be owed.
They had told investors
who had already given money
that, in the event of a cancellation,
that they would be covered
when in fact they weren't.
And they didn't have festival insurance,
so canceling really wasn't an option.
[Marc] I mean, this was truly a disaster.
And events always feel like a disaster.
They always feel like everything's
going wrong and you're putting out fires.
The draw, the appeal was to be part
of creating something that was special.
And that desire overcamemy inner wisdom,
which was like, "This is a mess."
The atmosphere that was cultivated there
was that...
nobody, no matter what,
was able to cross them
and tell them, "No."
Had we not pulled off
these kind of crazy things
like Andy finding this caterer
with no time left,
then there would've been no festival.
It's possible that by solving problems,
we were just enabling them
to continue to create this monster.
[interviewer] Did Andy ever tell you
how he had to get the water out?
Oh, yeah.
Did Andy tell you
how they had to get the water out?
It was, like, fucking crazy.
I'm not going to talk about that.
Let me tell you something. We had...
four containers filled...
Four 18-wheeler trucks
filled with Evian water,
but I had left the week before
for two days
to go to meetings in Bermuda
for the America's Cup.
And when I came back,
I'd missed the big meeting with Customs,
and of course Customs
had said to Billy and the gang,
"You need to pay us$175,000 in cash today
for us to release the water."
I went down.
Well, Billy called me.
I'm gonna speak completely, you know...
This won't go that far, I'm sure, but...
Billy called and said, "Andy, we need you
to take one big thing for the team."
And I said...
"My gosh, I've been taking something
for the team every day."
He said, "Well,
you're our wonderful gay leader,
and we need you to go down. Will you...
to fix this water problem?"
And I said, "Billy, what?"
And he said, "Andy,
if you will go down
and suck Cunningham's dick,
who's the head of Customs,
and get him to clear
all of the containers with water,
you will save this festival."
And I literally drove home, took a shower,
I drank some mouthwash.
I'm like, "Oh my gosh, I'm really..."
And I got into my car
to drive across the island
to take one for the team...
and I got to his office,
fully prepared to suck his dick.
He couldn't have been nicer.
He's like, "Andy, listen,
I will release all the water,
I will let you serve it,
but I want to be want to be
one of the first people to be paid
this import fee for what you're doing,"
and I said, "Okay, great."
And I got back
and I had all the water that we needed.
Can you imagine,
in my 30 years of a career,
that this is what I was going to do?
I was going to do that, honestly,
to save the festival.
Major news in the vlog today.
Tomorrow morning, 5:30,
half of the Jerry Media crew is going
to Fyre Festival in Bahamas
on a remote island.
We've been doing their marketing
for the last couple of months,
so excited to see this thing take off.
I think it's going to be f... epic.
We went down with about four
of the teammates
the day before the festival.
Mick, the good news about this plane?
If we want to leave, just...
take the window off and just head out.
This is great. This is a great flight.
I remember the feeling,
getting off the plane, we were so excited.
"Finally here, this is happening."
There's literally no cars on the island.
We couldn't rent one.
They didn't hook us up with one, so...
this is us. We're hitch-hiking
for the next couple of days.
I was down there yesterday
and I said, "Man, this ain't gonna
be finished for no Friday."
So much work, so much things!
And so little time.
So, none of this was here.
All this sand is new.
-This was all put down...
-[James] Yeah, I can tell.
...a few days ago. Can you?
[Marc] It's all peaking on this last day
because it's going to happen.
We all know now
that this is an inevitability,
that this event is going to happen,
no matter what.
I'm working with this Navy SEAL
who's telling me
this is like a clusterfuck.
That's what he called it.
"An elephant of a clusterfuck."
He's laughing and not even laughing,
just disturbed at how fucked up this is
and he's a Navy SEAL, like, come on!
The last 24 hours were unbelievable.
All I kept thinking about was Woodstock.
Think of that music festival.
Does anybody talk about the hundreds
and hundreds of cars
that were stuck on the thruway for days?
Does anybody talk about the mudslides?
How many people died of drug overdoses?
Does anybody talk about the lack of food?
Almost no water.
Absolutely not.
And I thought, "You know what?
If Woodstock could get through that
and, from a publicity perspective,
land where it did,
FyreFestival can make it."
Well, actually we didn't sleep that night.
'cause I remember exactly
what happened, so...
we're standing outside
on the porch of this mansion,
looking out at the ocean
and it's a full moon or something
and it starts...
pouring rain.
Pouring rain.
Thunder and lightning.
And we just start laughing.
Like, belly laughs...
and look at each other and...
To this point, I'm so delirious
that I still am not sure
that this is 100% entirely true,
but I remember one of our group saying,
"At least they won't
get away with it now."
I honestly remember that
and I don't know that that's--
But that's what I remember.
So you have to realize
the site's unfinished.
There's mattresses
all over the place getting soaked.
Any tent that was done is now unlivable.
And the guests are still coming.
And we have nowhere to put them.
[J.R.] The rainstorm that morning
killed us.
Because I know the work
we had done that morning and...
I could have cried.
I think I did. [laughs]
The other funny thing that happened
was we were laughing and we were like,
"Well at least
nothing is on time in the Bahamas.
At least this rain...
The guests will be late."
They were supposed to come at 6:50,
the first flight got there at 6:20.
It was like a sick joke.
So... [chuckling]
Fyre Festival, baby. Here we go.
About to go to...
Miami for, like, four hours.
And then where are we going?
Check out my ice, baby.
Bahamas. We're coming for you, baby.
We are here in the... "private jet."
We thought we were going to get
on one of those propeller planes,
like a tiny little propeller plane
that was in all of the video footage.
I didn't realize what plane we were going
to be on until we were boarded.
And, I mean, it was like a737.
My understanding, it was supposed to be
this "branded jet experience,"
which I think was a...
I don't know where they got it from.
It was just... [laughs]
"Oh, let's slap a logo on it
and call it a day" type of thing.
It's actually worse than, like, really...
Like being low economy class.
[Seth] It was about 4:30
when we're getting on the plane,
and that's when my friend
looked at his phone and said,
"Blink-182 just pulled out.
Do you still want to get on the plane?"
And their reasoning wasn't anything like,
"Don't go, it's a disaster."
It was just like, "We don't think
we can put on the show
that our fans would deserve."
I've never been to a Blink-182 concert
so I don't even know what that means.
So we were like, "It will be fine."
[nervous laughter]
[Justin] We all got off
and landed on this beautiful island.
Still, nothing seemed amiss.
I do remember being presented a choice.
"Do you want to go to the campsite
or do you want to go to this restaurant,
this beachside restaurant?"
An executive decision was made,
I don't know by who,
but it was to essentially close down
the campsite
and to reroute all of the new attendees
to a separate bar.
It was never planned. I knew of it,
like, maybe 25 minutes
to them coming down to the restaurant.
Tons of buses,
bussing in hundreds of their guests.
And they were asking,
"Is this the Fyre Festival?"
They all thought
that they were at the first step
of what was going to be
a very exciting experience.
It's on this, like, beautiful beach.
A dock goes all the way out,
people are just dangling their legs,
having tequila.
I'm looking around and I'm like,
"This is the greatest decoy of all time."
The music playing,
and the guests was just cheering on.
They were dancing and having a good time.
[Mick] There was a lot of smiles and a lot
of happiness over at this other bar.
Quite frankly, it was probably
the best part of the entire experience.
What was happening on the campgrounds
was the exact opposite.
[woman] Oh, my God.
They're soaking wet!
[Mick] The tents are soaked,
mud is sliding on the carpets.
What was already this kind of
very loosely put together festival,
which was over-advertised,
has now devolved
into something much worse.
[Marc] We didn't have enough drivers,
we didn't have enough houses,
we didn't have enough beds,
we didn't have enough site,
we didn't have enough staff.
It was just... We were overwhelmed.
So I'm getting phone calls.
I'm trying to charge my phone,
and the calls are to get me
to the blue production house.
So I get there and it's mayhem.
People are scrambling everywhere.
They're still outside
trying to build stuff.
[Marc] Grant was like,
"You got the paper bags?"
Because he's like
hyperventilating in the bedroom.
People are crying
and it's all these emotions.
I was like, "Okay, get your shit done."
I'm literally getting now
physically pulled
in different directions by the assistants.
"Marc, this person arrived,
that person arrived.
We need to find them houses."
I thought something was wrong
after they held us on the beach
for six hours.
Kinda funneling tequila down our throats.
[crowd cheering]
They started asking,
"Where can I go? Where do we go?"
"How are we getting to the campsite?
Where is the campsite?
Where's my luggage?"
And I was like,
"What do I tell them?"
You know, Billy would be in the room
and he'd be kind of the CEO,
calling the shots.
Every now and then, he would walk out,
go get on his four-wheeler,
and just ride really fast
in, like, one direction.
Just take off.
And then he would come right back
and walk back in without, you know,
a lot to talk about, but you could see
he just had like bottled up energy.
It's time to let people in
and kind of see how it unfolds.
[indistinct chatter]
[Marc C.] There was no one
from Fyre Festivalon the bus.
The bus driver just knew where to go,
and he's telling us,
"Oh, yeah, they didn't start construction
on any of this until maybe a month ago."
Or, "Oh, yeah,
you're really in for something.
Just wait until you see
what you're getting yourselves into."
Which is a very concerning thing to hear
when you're on a bus
to you have no idea where
after taking a plane
to God knows what island
with who knows what people.
[woman] No!
Turn around!
Turn this bus right around!
We see this sea of white little tents.
[Seth] There was a disbelief on the bus.
A lot of people thought,
"Maybe we're passing through this area.
Our villas are just on the other side."
And it was the bus driver who said,
"Oh, no. That's where you're staying."
It was like, "Oh, my God!"
-[woman] Look at the beds!
-[man] Oh, Jesus!
This festival is never happening again,
I hope they know that.
[Seth] They kinda drive us around
the little lagoon
and we get to that blue house
that I guess was their headquarters,
and there was just a line
of hundreds of people.
[woman] We have literally been
standing herefor, like, an hour.
[Seth] We didn't know what
we were standing in line for,
but we kept standing there,
and some people
just had bottles of liquor.
Billy came up to me and told me
to just blast the music.
As loud as I possibly could.
That's one of the most annoying parts.
You could just hear this pulsating noise.
[Luca] And, you know, every five minutes
it would be...
Like, one of the hostesses or one
of the staff that would come,
"Please, we cannot hear anything
as we're trying to check in these people."
And so we would lower the music.
After five minutes, Billy would come back.
"Raise the music."
Everyone was, like, arguing, you know?
Everyone was making noise or like,
"Where I'm gonna stay?
What am I gonna do? What am I gonna eat?"
The attendees were looking towards
anything, anyone for direction.
Guys, stay here.
[Seth] Billy McFarland
stood up on a table.
So I just kind of walked up and I said,
"Where do you go if you have a villa?"
And he said, "Everybody that has a villa,
just go grab a tent."
And so this whole mass of people...
I was like, "It's a free-for-all."
[Justin] Everybody started sprinting,
running to their tents, grabbing bags.
[Mark] We heard this voice,
we heard this rush,
then we heard the screaming.
We walked out and there was just
this mass of people going to tents.
[CC] It's an absolute circus.
I don't know what's going on.
I'm not getting off this ship until I know
what's going on there.
[woman] It's 8:36 and people are now
just getting their luggage.
These are the lockers
that are just being set up.
They're taking off the plastic
that are supposed to hold our valuables.
[Justin] There was no one who planned out
luggage tags.
They brought out the luggage
in two big containers.
Like truck containers.
Eighteen-wheeler containers.
They just said, "Everyone, grab your bag."
And it was just a frenzy.
[Marc C.] Everyone was just looking for,
you know,
their black bag
amongst a sea of black bags.
And if they had to climb over you
and stomp over you to get
their piece of luggage, so be it.
This is an absolute disaster.
Where do you-- Yo!
We do not want to be on the perimeter,
I promise you.
[Justin] We didn't want neighbors.
Our strategy from there
was to kind of ransack
all the tents around us.
Just started poking holes
and flipping mattresses.
My buddy pissed on a few of the beds.
[Columbo] Shit got crazy.
People was just walking
with mattresses on top of their head.
Walking from this one around to that one.
[Marc C.] It became this
looting mentality.
One woman had a whole pallet
of toilet paper.
Somebody else had
this whole giant box of pillows
that she was lugging back to her tent.
It became very barbaric, in a sense.
[screaming in the background]
[Mark] Driving around, it was
the most eerie feeling in the world.
There was no lights.
[Mick] It looked like a horror scene.
People were scattered throughout
that area and spent one night.
My guess is most of them
never went to sleep.
[Mark C.] Some woman came in
in a panic at one point
in the dead of night.
She couldn't find her friend.
She was lost, she seemed
like she was drunk. I mean...
But there's nothing you can do
to help a person like that.
You know, I don't know where I am either.
And there was a definite turning point,
I would say,
when the sun went down,
when the camaraderie was over.
[Mark] All I know is that,
by the end of the night,
all of the tents were full.
And this is with one-third of the guests
we were supposed to have.
[Mick] I remember just leaving this place
and looking at this image
of the campground
for the first time
feeling what an epic failure really is.
[Seth] So, as I was
tweeting about the event,
just to be like,
"This is what's going on."
I mean, "Here's the lockers,
here's the concierge stand.
This is what Fyre Festival is."
The tweets just started going viral.
It was just kind of the perfect thing
to consume in real-time.
Then I saw the Twitter post.
The cheese sandwich.
That was when I knew this was done.
I remember The New York Times
came out with an article
that talked
about this entire Fyre Festival.
[Mick] They talked about it
very matter-of-fact,
from an operational perspective.
What they didn't talk about, which I think
was something that was missed,
was a couple of powerful models
posting an orange tile
is what essentially built
this entire festival,
and then one kid
with probably 400 followers
posted a picture of cheese on toast
that trended
and essentially ripped down the festival.
All I know is that people were stoked
to watch this thing go down.
[Gabrielle] There definitely was
kind of like
almost a gleeful response on social media
from people that weren't there.
The way that it seemed like it happened
is funny, you know?
A Lord of the Flies situation with,
you know, Instagram's top influencers.
[Mick] Grant was still calling orders
and asking us to do things.
I said, "No, Grant,
we're not posting any more promises.
We're not trying to propel this vision
any further."
You know, "This thing is dead."
Then I think, like, three minutes later,
I get a text from Grant
introducing me
to their new social media team.
"Can you please send him over
the credentials?"
I just remember calling Ja -
he wasn't even there yet -
and saying, like,
"There's, like, no way this is happening.
I'm sending out the email.
I really don't care at this point."
And then I told Billy
I cancelled the acts
and at that point, he knew
everything had fallen apart already.
And he was pacing back and forth
out on the terrace.
I could see that there were tears
in his eyes,
but that was the first time
that any of us had seen that.
Through thick and thin,
he stayed so positive
and it wasn't until that day...
that things started to crumble,
that he really started to get it.
[Mick] I mean, he went from,
two days before,
thinking he was
the entrepreneur of our decade
to essentially being a massive
viral disgrace and joke.
[Marc] I go into the production house,
and, like, Grant's crying
and Carola just looks
like she's been like hit by a truck.
Grant stayed and he was talking
about drafting up their official response
to what had happened, and it was like,
"Due to circumstances out of our control,"
and I remember Jorge looks at him
and he's like, "Do not lieagain.
This is your chance to tell the truth.
"Don't say 'out of our control.'
This was perfectly in our control."
[James] Major update.
Fyre Festival is officially cancelled.
-Just got the news, guys.
-[woman] Officially?
-[man] Is it really?
-It's what Mick said.
Apparently, there's no food on the island.
They're not letting people in.
[Gabrielle] People who just landed here
have to go back to Miami.
They were just trying to get out
at that point.
Part of the problem was that
there weren't planes to take them out
and the airport was totally overwhelmed
with all these people
and they eventually locked them in
and kept them overnight
without any food or water.
Okay. How long until water comes?
And food.
[man] When do we get our money back?
It was just this sort of real-time saga
that started at six o'clock
in the afternoon.
And in the morning,
the media started picking it up.
[reporter 1] This morning, the organizers
of the failed Fyre Festival
are feeling the heat.
We took a big jump here, a big risk,
and V1 has failed.
People were making fun of it,
making fun of us.
[Conan] Do you feel bad for the people
that did spend money and go to this--
If you had thousands of dollars
to go on a trip to see Blink-182...
that's on you.
That is Darwinism at its finest.
[Luca] At that point,
all of their promises started to collapse,
so the car rental companies
came and took the keys,
the house owners came and demanded
that their properties were returned.
[Andy] One of my head construction guys
came to me and said, "Andy,
I need $26,000 in cash,
and I want it right now."
He was a big guy and he followed me.
And then I went back to the tent
and he followed me.
I had the head
of the Bahamian Tourism Board,
the Minister of Finance
and the head
of the University of the Bahamas
waiting for $1 million
that they wanted to be paid.
[Luca] There was a huge workforce of
people that had been working under the sun
for, you know, a month,
a month-and-a-half without being paid...
that as soon as realized that, you know,
all of this was collapsing,
started, rightfully so,
demanding their payment,
so there was a sort of a strike.
And we get word that there's
an angry mob of locals
coming down through the gates.
They're pissed off
and they want their money.
[indistinct yelling]
And it's now, like, five of us
in the production house
There was about,
I don't know,
I want to say 30 people coming down.
And Billy is nowhere to be seen.
There were constant rumors flying around
of where Billy was.
He was like Dr. Evil.
It was like, "Billy's on a yacht."
"Billy's been at the Grand Isle
the whole time."
"Billy's in Miami." "Billy's in jail."
Like, everyone was kind of like
guessing where Billy was.
I didn't even know where Billy went.
I went tothe house
and it was, like, literally cleaned out,
and I was like, "Yo, where's Billy?"
[Martin] After the locals realized
they weren't going to get paid,
some of them started putting hits out
on people,
either to take them hostage
and then get ransom
or just to hurt and injure.
The management team
looked left and right
and suddenly it was sort of...
The "save yourself" mode kicked in.
And I literally traded clothes
with one of the employees
that had been working with me
and I hid behind a urinal.
Someone pulled up in an old car,
I jumped into the back
and lay down on the back seat
so I could at least
get out of the village.
Because I couldn't play Mother Teresa.
I couldn't fix this problem.
But I needed to go somewhere
and find safety.
When they realized
this thing came to an abrupt stop,
they all leave those rent-a-carsrunning
with the keys in the ignition.
I talked to one guy who said
the door couldn't get open,
so a lady kicked the door
and ran to the airplane.
So they knew that trouble was ahead.
People started to come to me
for, like, money. Like...
"You owe us.
Where's the money?"
"I don't know, but they're gone.
I don't know what to do."
I called Billy, I was talking to Billy.
Billy said, "Don't worry, I'll handle it."
Day after day passed. You know,
people were pulling up to my house.
They were getting mad for this money.
Like, literally mad.
I thought it was going to end up
in some blows getting thrown.
I was like, "Fuck this, I'm out."
I packed my shit
and I was fucking on the next boat.
You know? "I can't handle it no more."
I definitely had
a post-traumatic syndrome,
like many of us did, for weeks and weeks
and a lot of it was a guilt feeling of,
"Did I abandon everybody?"
I was the one
that would continue to say, "Listen,
I have been working with Billy
for four or five years now. Trust him.
This kid is amazing
and I think we can pull this off."
And we didn't, and I felt definitely,
as I was able to reflect when I got home,
that I had probably led a lot of kids on.
You know, you just go with somebody's...
It's that energy, and the belief system,
and you just go and you go and you go.
And then when do you stop? And no,
I never thought it would end like this.
I don't think anybody did.
If we did, we wouldn't have done it.
[Billy] First, I just want to give
a big apology
for how the festival turned out.
This is obviously the exact opposite
of what we were all striving for.
I made it back home Monday,
and came to the Fyre office,
and that's when we had
the teamwide meeting.
[woman] We have to rebrand the platform.
My orthodontist
has read about the festival.
And he asked me
what I did on the festival.
[Ja] Right now, yes, we are
the fucking laughing stock of everything.
We are the "Scam Fyre."
But that might not be the case
after we fucking put our plan in play
and start to spin it.
They used Samsung as an example of how,
you know, "This is just some bad PR."
"Samsung's out here blowing
people's faces off with cell phones,
but they're still selling cell phones."
They were kind of trying to make it seem
like we would overcome this.
[Ja] We can't dwell on how we fucked up.
We can't dwell on what made it go wrong.
We gotta dwell on how
we make it better in the future.
The vast majority of us on this phone call
were not involved with the festival,
and then--
Or actively told not to be involved.
So it was...
painful to be honest. We put, you know,
a big, very talented team,
put a ton of hours into that software.
The reality is that I just believed
in the core app
that we're building so much,
that I was blind to a lot
of what was going on internally
with what we were doing.
I mean, it was something
that we worked on for an entire year.
And because of the festival,
we lost everything within seconds.
Is there any way
that the product can be built
-while we take a step back?
-[woman] No. Absolutely not.
He was saying, "We are a family,
it's time for us to band together."
And I was feeling like
that was so manipulative.
We're not a family,
you won't even tell me anything!
You've completely violated
all the trust that we had
in the product, in the company,
in the brand and in you
and public reception is a separate
and almost unrelated problem.
[Ja] Come on, guys!
There's a lot of smart people
on this fucking phone call, man.
Let's think of how to dig ourselves
out of this shit, man.
We didn't kill anybody, nobody got hurt.
We made a mistake, we'll get past it.
I mean, granted, nobody died,
but we did flat-out lie to the public
about what we're giving them.
I mean, that's fraud.
Like, and that's not okay
as a company operates.
[Ja] That's not fraud.
That's not fraud.
That is, uh... I would call that...
"false advertising."
As we were getting on the plane,
I think I tweeted something like,
"See you later, Fyre Festival.
You'll be hearing from Stacy Miller,
my lawyer."
I thought to myself,
"That's a little strange."
So I looked on Facebook
and Facebook was going crazy
with this Fyre Festival,
of which I had never even heard about.
And,the day after, it was announced
that there was a $100 million
class action lawsuit that was filed.
In my experience
with class action lawsuits,
it was not going to get resolved
anytime soon.
So we decided to file independently.
The suit was for committing fraud
saying, "Look at how great,
this is going to be,"
when they knew all along
it was going to be
nothing close to what was advertised.
I feel very strongly that
if I had bought tickets to the festival,
I'd name every single one of the people
that advertised for it in the lawsuit.
[Calvin] What made this so interesting
was they made it all look organic
and, like, a bunch of celebrities
and famous people
were planning to attend
this music festival.
And that's why the impact and reach,
in my mind, was as great as it was.
[Brett] That was
a big criticism of people.
"How could you market something
that wasn't real?"
You know? But it's like...
everything was real.
Everything looked real.
If you get hired to do a BMW commercial
and that BMW then has a faulty engine,
how the fuck can you possibly know
whether they'll dogood
on what they said they were gonna do?
That's like saying the sound guy,
and the DP, and the location scout
has to do business due diligence
on whether or not
something's actually gonna happen.
How could we ask the models
to have the kind of awareness
of the Fyre Festival
that I myself didn't have,
being an employee of Fyre Media?
We certainly wanted to send the message
to influencers
that when you post a photograph,
and youdon't say "#advertisement,"
there is some level of responsibility.
The government, because of this incident,
has been cracking down more and more.
[reporter] Bella Hadid is now apologizing
to her fans.
"I initially trusted
this would be an amazing
and memorable experience for all of us."
I don't think that they knew
or were malicious in their intent.
I don't think anybody fully appreciated
the extent of Billy's fraud
and where he was gonna go with this.
They all kept working,
I think, a week or two after the festival,
and then Billy scheduled
an all-hands meeting
where he was going to debriefeveryone
and explain what was happening.
The fact that he let, you know,
20 to 30 people just get completely let go
with zero remorse...
goes a lot to show you
what type of person he is.
[Marc] An FBI agent showed up at the door
of my parents' apartment building
and gave his card to the doorman
and said, "I'm looking for Marc Weinstein.
He's not in trouble,
but have him call me."
I was happy to talk to him
because I felt that there was
some justice happening here.
I spoke to the FBI, yeah, of course.
That was the first time
I really understood
what Billy had done.
But I couldn't believe
what they were showing me.
Billy was...
frauding investors
who invested in Fyre Festival
based on how well we were doing
as a company
within Fyre Media.
My understanding is,
he'd been telling investors
that he booked Drake for $100,000,
which never happened.
We never booked Drake.
You know, he was lying to investors,
making it seem we were making money
when we weren't.
[Gabrielle] The original report showed
about $1.5 million in offers.
The report that was doctored
under Billy's instruction
showed closer to $35 milion.
Billy claimed that they had been given
an island in the Bahamas
worth $8 million,
when, in fact, they had not.
Billy falsely claimed
that he had more than $2 million
in Facebook stocks,
when in fact he had about$1,500.
[reporter] Billy McFarland
charged with wire fraud
in federal court.
McFarland allegedly sent fake documents
claiming the company made
millions in revenue.
He'd only earned less than $60,000.
I knew Billy,
but I never knew he was capable
of doing something like that.
This guy really made me feel
like he was part of my family.
I invited him to dinners with my family,
and for him to do what he did, you know,
I lost that judge of character in people
that I thought, you know, I had,
and that was really difficult for me.
He really leveraged your existing
emotional investment in this team
and in this product
to extort you to investing even more.
This was Billy's charm.
Like, Billy could just sell you
on anything.
He's an operational sociopath.
The reason he racked up
millions of dollars
on the Fyre app AmEx card
was to pay for Magnises tickets
for his Magnises users.
He got almost all of it paid off,
except for the remaining $250,000,
which now I'm being sued by AmEx for.
He left $150,000 of outstanding bills
on my personal American Express
because of the festival as well.
We lost a lot of money. A lot of money.
A lot.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars,
without a doubt.
A lot of people didn't get paid.
A lot of my workers didn't get paid.
He kept on saying,
"The money is coming, J.R.,
the money is coming."
It never reached.
[Brett] So there was a group ofBahamian
locals that built the festival site.
They were never paid.
The estimate that I heard
was a quarter of a million dollars
was owed in day wages to them.
I had ten persons
working directly with me,
just preparing food
all day and all night, 24 hours.
I had to literally pay all those people.
I am here as a Bahamian.
And they stand in my face every day.
I went through about $50,000of my savings
that I could have had for a rainy day.
They just wiped it out
and never looked back.
Personally, I don't even like to talk
about the Fyre Festival.
Just take it away
and just let me start a new beginning.
'Cause they really hurt me.
I am really hurt from that.
To see nobody return to say,
"Let me take care of what she's done,
we know she hasdone right."
I just leave it alone,
'cause it really pains me
when I have to talk about it
so I just wipe it away.
[woman] Are you sorry?
Thank you, guys.
I'll arrange a comment later. Thank you.
[reporter] He was released on Saturday
on $300,000 bail.
He claims he is broke.
He has apparently moved back in
with his parents.
Fortunately, I think Billy
is currently living in the basement
of his parents' New Jersey home.
He's no longer in his penthouse.
He's no longer riding around in Maseratis
and flaunting the wealth that he stole.
Coming back to the Fyre Festival
for a second.
You should make
a Fyre Festival game, dude.
'Cause you're going through--
They did the Fyre Festival
on Saturday Night Live.
I know!
You could turn this into so much.
You just gotta accept the Fyre Festival,
and you could turn this shit into gold,
like, a pot of gold and then run with it.
I'm not allowed.
-Wait, really?
-Angelo, help me.
Wait, why aren't you--
I hadn't spoken to Billy since he was...
arrested and released on bail.
So he asked us to come down
to this hotel where he was staying at,
and heasked us if we could bring
our video equipment,
we can do all of that stuff.
And we didn't really know
what we were gonna be filming.
Yeah, just film around the clock.
The one thing I've learned from this
is the more footage, the better.
[interviewer] How was he living
while he was out on bail?
He wasn't living like me.
Billy was living... He was living large.
That penthouse was beautiful.
I just had
a little bit of a confused face.
Like, "How are you able to pay
for all of this?"
There was a guy named Angelo.
And I don't know if it was Billy's PR guy,
but I know that this guy
was very connected.
That is the...
[indistinct chatter]
Just try to keep me out of your stuff
because my...
I can't say anything.
We're not saying anything bad.
You can talk.
You know, you can give me advice.
We talked about my experiences
in the legal system
and I'll never forget what he said to me.
He looked me dead in my face and said,
"I'm not going to jail."
Well, I was like, "This man
either knows something that I don't
or he is certifiably insane."
NYC VIP Access
was a company that reached out to me
December 15th, 2017...
with an offer
to the 2018 Masters tournament.
It was from a guy named Frank.
It just said,
"Hey, we've got these tickets
to the 2018 Masters.
It'd be great for you or your clients.
Let us know if you want."
And so I texted my friendMorgan,
"Did you guys get this Masters email?"
"Yeah. I got that too."
And so I'm like, okay, clearly
somebody's targeting
the Fyre Festival email list.
December 19th,
"Gift the gift of private flights."
December 21st, again from NYC VIP Access,
"Coachella 2018 VIP passes for $500.
"Please email me or call phone number
to reserve. Frank."
January 2nd,
"Meet Ed Sheeran, Demi Lovato,
DJ Khaled, Taylor Swift and more.
We want to one-up
your New Year's resolutions
by making your dreams become a reality.
Please email or call to reserve. Frank."
"Burning Man, 2018."
"Courtside at MSG
and dinner with LeBron."
"Victoria Secret Fashion Show,""Met Gala,
red carpet and gala tickets.
Please email, text or call me to reserve.
First come, first serve. Frank."
So we're basically
selling 2018 Grammy tickets.
VIP Access, baby.
What's the next number?
[Gabrielle] I first started hearing
about the NYC VIP Access emails
in December.
When I realized that multiple people
who had attended the festival
were getting the emails,
that was when I really started
to look at it more seriously.
Met Gala tickets can't be purchased
and anyone who attends has to be approved
by Anna Wintour in advance.
The Victoria's Secret Show
hadn't even been cast yet.
Taylor Swift,
she's very open about the fact
that she doesn't do meet-and-greets.
Burning Man told me
that they had not sold any tickets
and that there were no sponsors
who would have tickets available.
Pretty much everything that they offered
was debunked
through just a quick phone call
or a Google search.
That's fucking hustling right here.
The first time I met Frank Tribble
was at the hotel.
I had never seen him before
and usually the people
who are around Billy, I'm familiar with.
The strangest thing was
he actually had on a Magnises hat,
he had on, like, a Fyre sweater.
Frank is, I think, 22 or 23,
and Billy had reached out to him
and said, "I'm starting this company,
but I'm kind of in some hot water
related to Fyre Festival,
so I need you to be the face of it."
Hi, is this Zachary?
Zachary, this is Frank
calling from NYC VIP Access.
The reason I was actually
giving you a call,
the Grammys are gonna be held
in New York City on Sunday January 28th,
in Madison Square Garden,
and we're actually selling VIP tickets
for that event.
According to the FBI, 15 people gave him
over $100,000 for those tickets.
Josh, Frank is gonna call off the list.
If they don't pick up,
you send them an email.
I'll write a script for you right now,
What are you recording?
It's hard for me to say if these guys
didn't know what was going on.
But I also know that Billy is really good
at keeping a level of information...
below and above.
For every call,
call twice in a row if they don't pick up.
Everybody picks up on the second ring.
Let's cut for now. Thanks.
On June 12th, I published an article
outlining all the crossover
between Billy McFarland
and New York City VIP Access,
and about six hours later
Billy was rearrested and charged
with five felonies.
They included fraud, money laundering,
identity theft, and witness intimidation
after he warned at least two people
not to talk to the FBI
and to pretend that they were represented
by legal counsel
when they were not.
I mean, the idea of him doing this
while he's out on bail
is mind-blowing to me.
Because you're already
under the biggest microscope,
and then you're gonna go
and commit another scam.
Like, I just don't understand
why he didn't just stop.
[Interviewer] You said Billy asked you
about going, what...
What was he asking you about jail?
Well, unfortunately,
I had a misstep in my past,
and, um...
I unfortunately experiencedit.
And I was in there for two months.
And, you know, he just flat out asked me.
He was like, "What was it like?"
And I was like,
"It's 23/1 for the first seven days."
He was like, "What's23/1?"
"You're in a fucking cell for 23 hours.
And then they let you out for one.
You better stretch your legs,
walk around,
do whatever you need to do,
but you're in there
until you're processed. After that,
they put you where they need to put you,
until you get sent up north."
And I remember the energy off of him.
And it was just like...
That shit was so far away
from what he knew
and what he experienced in his life,
that the cognitive dissonance
just led him to say,
"I'm not going to jail."
[Marc] I reflected on myself
and I was questioning
to what extent was I guilty,
to what extent
was I complicit in all of this.
And I looked back
at my posts on social media
and it was like
all beautiful beaches and sunsets.
You know? And...
And I was going
through the hardest experience of my life,
and yet if you had seen it,
you'd have been like,
"Wow, what a great life this guy leads.
He's living in the Bahamas,
going to beaches all day."
And Fyre shows what happens
when you take that to an extreme.
I've said this multiple times -
the real Fyre Festival happened twice.
It was the shoots.
What the commercial was
was what everybody wanted.
The shoots were parties.
It just happened to happen for 60 people
versus 6,000.
[J.R.] It was epic.
It was nothing I never saw before
in my whole entire life. Like...
I'm from the Bahamas, man.
We're used to small island stuff.
That was like... That put me up
on a new level, a higher level.
[Jillionaire] We're living in this
influencers society,you know?
Everybody wants to have this online clout,
people want to have access
and they want exclusivity.
Fyre was basically, like,
Instagram coming to life.
It actually dovetails
really interestingly with
just random news stories
that have come out since.
I was reading about a company in Russia
that now will sell people
like three hours to do a photo shoot
on a private jet
that's just parked on the tarmac.
They never actually leave,
but they get to take the picture
looking out the window,
and pretending that they're living
this lifestyle.
And, like, they're successful.
People are using it.
Billy seemed really invested
in that whole lifestyle.
Yo, I wanna say happy birthday
to my brother,
my partner Billy in the building.
Happy birthday, Billy.
I think it was important to him
not just to be on a plane with a model,
but to feel like that was his life.
That he belonged there.
And not because he owns Fyre,
but because that's who he was.
He was completely out of his depth,
and he's,
unfortunately for himself,
a compulsive liar.
And someone that at the end, you know,
should be held accountable.
[MDavid] He has a massive debt,
not just to the people who invested
or to the concert-goers.
I think he has a larger debt
to the employees
that were reporting and working with him.
The only way, in my opinion,
a guy like this learns his lesson
is actually going to jail.
[Calvin] I don't think that we've heard
the lastof Billy McFarland.
I mean, if there's anything
that guy is good at,
it's separating consumers from their cash.
And if there's anything that this country
celebrates more than that, I don't know.
[Marc] Billy has a presence where, you
know, there's something behind the smile.
I wouldn't be surprised
if ten years down the line,
we're hearing about Billy McFarland
starting some kind
of other venture that's...
you know, imaginative and, uh,
and gets some serious momentum
and, you know,
this all happens in some form again.
[cell phone rings]
It's Billy!
What's up, Billy?
I'm in front of the cameraman.
I'm talking--
I'm good.
Yeah. I'm putting in some good words.
You want me to say anything
on the camera for you?
All right.
All right. Action!