A group of ticket-holders for the now-infamous Fyre Festival in early 2017 were awarded a nearly $2 million payout by the US Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York, pending final approval. The class-action settlement, which would apply to 277 ticket-holders, amounts to approximately $7,220 per claimant.
“[Festival founder] Billy [McFarland] went to jail, ticket holders can get some money back, and some very entertainment documentaries were made,” says Ben Meiselas, a partner at Geragos & Geragos, which represented ticket holders in the lawsuit. “Now that’s justice.”
Fyre Festival has become something of a cliche in live event circles, after the event was hyped as a sort of new-wave in festival luxury, only to see a near-total collapse as attendees arrived to the island location. Instead of the “cultural experience of the decade” that they were promised, ticket-holders arrived to the Bahamas to find disaster relief tents and inadequate food, causing the event’s near-immediate cancellation. This is despite paying ticket prices that ranged between $1-12,000 per ticket to attend, with copious social media influencers brought on to hype the event.
In the wake of the collapse, McFarland and co-founder Ja Rule were targeted by numerous lawsuits from event partners and attendees alike, who alleged fraud, breach of contract and more. McFarland is serving a six-year prison sentence stemming from wire fraud charges related to the debacle, while Ja Rule has largely dodged serious consequences for his role in the affair.
“I cannot emphasize enough how sorry I am that we fell short of our goal,” McFarland said in a 2017 statement, though he declined to address specific allegations. “I’m committed to, and working actively to, find a way to make this right, not just for investors but for those who planned to attend.”
A hearing to determine whether the settlement will be approved is scheduled for May 13. The final amount could be changed depending on available funds as other creditors are made whole.