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Fyre Festival’s Billy McFarland launches podcast from prison to tell his side of the story

By | Published on Thursday 22 October 2020

Billy McFarland

Imprisoned Fyre Festival founder Billy McFarland has launched a podcast to tell his side of the story of the big failed event in the Bahamas. Called ‘Dumpster Fyre’, episode one was released this week and features an interview with McFarland from prison.

The show promises that, as well as McFarland, it will also speak to various other people involved with the event in order to tell the story “from all sides”. Although, as the show is apparently a response to McFarland’s annoyance at how he was portrayed in the Netflix and Hulu documentaries about the Fyre Festival, some sides may be a little obscured.

“I hurt many people, and I’m aware of the pain and suffering that I’ve caused”, says McFarland in episode one, which came out yesterday. “What I did was completely wrong and stupid. Not only did I harm people financially, I know that I violated their trust. I let them down. And I’m truly sorry about that”.

From now on, he says, he plans to start “building trust” by operating with “extreme transparency”.

It’s possibly worth remembering here that when sentencing him to six years in prison two years ago, judge Naomi Reice Buchwald said that McFarland was “a serial fraudster” who “has been dishonest most of his life”. And this was after McFarland claimed to be remorseful about his actions.

His conviction, of course, was not for being shit at festivals, but for defrauding investors of that event. He then also committed further fraud while out on bail awaiting sentencing – something Buchwald said was “unique in this court’s memory”.

In the podcast, he says that spending three months in solitary confinement was the turning point that made him realise the error of his ways. He says that he realised there how “stupid and idiotic” his actions had been, leaving him wanting to dedicate himself to “helping those I hurt and helping those I let down”.

So, you can make your own mind up about whether or not that is true. McFarland says that he hopes to be able to repay some of the $26 million he was ordered to return to investors using proceeds from the podcast project.

Whatever, it is kind of impressive that three and a half years on, we’re still talking about Fyre Festival. And that apparently there is any more to be said about it. It remains to be seen how the series unfolds – McFarland says in the show that he hopes the makers can track down some of the people he insists had a good time, despite everything. For now, you can listen to episode one here.