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Fyre Festival’s Billy McFarland Pleads Guilty, Faces 40-Year Sentence

Billy McFarland, organizer of last year’s disastrous Fyre Festival, pleaded guilty to misleading his company’s investors in a New York court today, according to multiple media reports. He had been charged with two counts of wire fraud.

Prosecutors and McFarland’s lawyers reached an agreement on a 97- to 120-month sentence, although judges are not required to follow that plea agreement. He faces up to 40 years in prison.

McFarland’s hearing is set for June. He was arrested last June and pleaded not guilty to the charges in October. Today, he acknowledged that he engaged in fraudulent behavior and apologized.

The heavily hyped Fyre Festival was to be a “luxury concert” — taking place on a small island in the Bahamas and featuring Blink-182, Migos and Disclosure — but collapsed on in a mess of disorganization on April 29 before it had even started. Far from the luxury accommodations and celebrity-chef-prepared meals promised by its producers —McFarland and rapper Ja Rule — concertgoers were met with flimsy tents, boxed lunches, near-total disorganization and long waits for flights to return to the mainland after airlines began refusing to fly would-be concertgoers to the overcrowded island of Exumas.

One production professional briefly associated with the festival told Variety the event was marked by “incompetence on an almost inconceivable scale.”

 

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