‘This was more than a scam’: two attendees of disastrous Fyre Festival awarded US$2.5m each
The two attendees each paid US$13,000 for VIP tickets to the festival in the Bahamas
Two attendees of the disastrous Fyre music festival, which promised Caribbean glamour but delivered chaos, have been awarded US$2.5 million each in compensation and damages after they sued the organiser Billy McFarland.
Seth Crossno and Mark Thompson each paid US$13,000 for VIP tickets to the festival on the Bahamas island of Great Exuma, which, after promotion by social media influencer supermodels such as Bella Hadid, was set to feature music from Migos, Major Lazer and Blink-182 in a luxurious setting.
But the festival quickly became notorious when the accommodation turned out to be dome tents and the food cheese sandwiches; attendees also found themselves stranded at the airport when they tried to leave.
“This was more than just a scam,” Crossno said. “It was fraud that was way over the top.”
Crossno and Thompson filed a lawsuit in May 2017 and were awarded damages based on losses for hotels and flights as well as the “mental anguish” they faced.
Their lawyer, Stacy Miller, said McFarland “lured these young men away from their homes to another country. It was a very dangerous and scary situation.”
McFarland is currently in jail, awaiting sentencing for fraud charges he pleaded guilty to in March.
He has since been accused of a scam in which he produced fake tickets for the Met Gala and a Victoria’s Secret fashion show. McFarland’s lawyer said they would “vigorously contest” those accusations.
McFarland is believed to have some remaining assets – US$50,000 in cash and a monthly US$40,000 income – though it is uncertain how much of their award Crossno and Thompson will be able to secure.
“I think there’s going to be a lot of people looking to collect, but we’ll be first,” Miller said.
The rapper Ja Rule, who co-organised the festival with McFarland, was initially named in the lawsuit but was later removed after an unspecified agreement was reached.