Fyre Festival founder Billy McFarland was granted an early release from prison in March, according to TMZ. The scammer was serving his sentence there for his scheme to dupe investors about the fraudulent luxury music festival Fyre Fest in the Bahamas in 2017.
McFarland’s original sentence was six years in federal prison plus three years of supervised release, meaning he wouldn’t be released until 2024. His imprisonment came after he pleaded guilty in 2018 to two counts of wire fraud related to Fyre Fest.
However, after four years, McFarland was released on March 30. He was moved to “community confinement,” likely a halfway house or personal home, as the celebrity tabloid reported on Wednesday, May 18. He is to stay there until August.
In 2017, Fyre Fest was introduced as a music destination event by McFarland and his partner, hip-hop artist Ja Rule. Its lineup initially included artists such as blink-182 and Pusha T for two weekends in April and May 2017. But problems were reported when artists began dropping out of the lineup ahead of the festival.
Then the Fyre Fest gigs never took off. In the end, the event boiled down to the now infamous photo of a cheese sandwich being presented to attendees instead of the “authentic island cooking experience” they had been promised.
blink-182 subsequently commenced litigation with Fyre Fest after the event attempted to recover the $500,000 in concert fees it had paid the pop-punk band. The band pulled out of the holiday days ahead of their scheduled appearance. U.S. Marshals auctioned off unused Fyre Fest branded merchandise.
McFarland was investigated by the FBI for fraud shortly after the festival failed, according to The New York Times. He faced several lawsuits over it.
Commenting on McFarland’s 2018 conviction, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said, “Billy McFarland exhibited a disturbing pattern of deception, which cost investors and clients more than $26 million in two separate fraud schemes.”
The federal prosecutor continued, “As he previously admitted, Billy McFarland failed to keep his promises to his investors and clients. Today, McFarland found out the hard way that empty promises do not lead to jet sets, champagne and extravagant parties – they lead to federal prison.”
Guide to rock + metal festivals 2022
See what’s coming this year!