Fyre festival: two attendees awarded $2.5m each after disasterous event

Jailed festival organiser Billy McFarland ordered to pay damages over losses and ‘mental anguish’

Fyre Festival, billed as a luxurious weekend concerts in the beautiful Bahamas, is called off after reports of "total chaos" and disorganization. The event was co-organised by rapper Ja Rule. Video courtesy: William Needham FinleyIV / @Itbinsider


Two attendees of the disastrous Fyre music festival, which promised Caribbean glamour but delivered chaos, have been awarded $2.5 million (€2.15 million) each in compensation and damages after they sued the organiser Billy McFarland.

Seth Crossno and Mark Thompson each paid $13,000 in 2017 for VIP tickets to the festival on the Bahamas island of Great Exuma, which, following 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. The festival quickly became notorious though, 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.

Mr Crossno and Mr 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. “This was more than just a scam,” Crossno said. “It was fraud that was way over the top.” Their lawyer Stacy Miller said that 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 2018. 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.

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. – Guardian Service, agencies