Fyre Festival’s Billy MacFarland admits he lied to investors for first time

“I knowingly lied to them to raise money for the festival"

Fyre Festival founder Billy McFarland has admitted that he lied to investors who pumped millions of dollars into the infamous Bahamas event.

McFarland made the bold admission in an unauthorised interview from behind bars with radio host Jordan Harbinger for the Dumpster Fyre podcast – which has landed him in solitary confinement.

McFarland is currently serving a six-year sentence at the Federal Correction Institution in Elkton, Ohio after pleading guilty to multiple counts of fraud, including for the disastrous festival in April 2017.


“I knowingly lied to them to raise money for the festival. Yes. And that’s what the crime was,” said McFarland, who is serving six years for fraud.

“The crime was inexcusably lying about the status of the company to get the money I thought I needed for the festival.”

Fyre Festival
Fyre Festival (Picture: Netflix / Alamy)

McFarland went on to blame “an unrealistic time frame” for causing the failure of the event.

“Had we given ourselves a year or two and had I obviously not made the terrible decision to lie to my backers, I think we could have been in a bit better place, but regardless of the mistakes that I made or what made things go wrong,” he said.

“So that’s where things started and ended.”


McFarland expressed regret for the failure of the notorious event, which was billed as a luxury music festival but turned out to be an unmitigated disaster – with festival-goers stranded on the Bahaman island of Great Exuma.

While McFarland lied to investors, he also admitted that he kept believing in his own head that the festival would take place.

“I legitimately thought the festival was going to be executed,” he said.

It’s reported that 100% of its profits from the podcast will go towards paying the $26million (£20m) in restitution McFarland owes to those involved with Fyre Festival.

Back in April 2020, McFarland requested an early release from prison due to concerns over contracting coronavirus while behind bars.

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