Two concertgoers who attended the failed Fyre Festival last year in the Bahamas were awarded $5 million in a lawsuit against co-producer Billy McFarland.
Last year’s Fyre Festival was promoted as a luxurious getaway with a star-studded lineup and chef-prepared meals. However, attendees showed up to a chaos-driven island with boxed lunches, tents, and no music. McFarland has faced a slew of charges since, and is currently in jail after pleading guilty to two counts of wire fraud related to defrauding investors and a ticket broker with the festival.
Last week, the two attendees from North Carolina, Seth Crossno and Mark Thompson, were each awarded $1.5 million in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages, Vice reports. The judge came to the decision after more than a year’s worth of court proceedings that McFarland failed to respond to, although the two originally only asked for a minimum of $25,000 in damages. Although co-producer and rapper Ja Rule was initially named in the suit, he was removed as a defendant after a separate agreement.
Crossno and Thompson are the first to obtain a judgement against McFarland. In their lawsuit, the duo said they spend about $13,000 on luxury VIP packages for the festival that included exclusive artist passes and a “residence consisting of four rooms and a living area” on a private island, according to Vice. None of the amenities they paid for were presented to them, and instead they received a tent around a gravel development pit. Additionally, the suit claims the men felt uncomfortable during the chaotic situation when a Bahamian native was “walking around near the site with a machine gun.”
“We feel very satisfied,” Stacy Miller, Crossno’s lawyer, said. “We asked the court to send a message to those who defraud North Carolina consumers, and we believe he did.”
Currently, there are more than a dozen class action and investor lawsuits pending across the country against McFarland and Fyre Media. While he said there are a lot of people looking to collect, he said, “we’ll be first.”