Fyre Festival Co-Founder Has History Of Failing His Customers

Fyre Festival Co-Founder Has History Of Failing His Customers

Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Billy McFarland’s Fyre Festival was supposed to be a luxurious escape for wealthy millennials. It didn’t turn out that way.

Billy McFarland’s credit card and private club for millennials, Magnises, promised access to exclusive events, but some customers say they paid for tickets they never received. In one instance last year, that might be because McFarland simply failed to pick up tickets he bought.

In 2016, McFarland, the 25-year-old behind the disastrous Fyre Festival, contacted a broker for tickets to a Radiohead concert at Madison Square Garden. The broker, who requested anonymity so as to not jeopardize his business, said he told McFarland that he’d need to pick the tickets up in person with an ID. (Brokers often require their customers to pick tickets up in person with an ID, to prevent fraud.)

But when it came time to pick the tickets up, McFarland sent an associate in his place. The broker says he called McFarland and explained again that McFarland, not an employee, needed to up the tickets because they were purchased with a credit card that bore McFarland’s name. “He was so arrogant, I almost hung up on him,” the broker said.

Eventually, McFarland agreed to pick up the tickets in person but never did, the broker said. A representative for the ticket broker waited for McFarland with the tickets on the street for 45 minutes, but he never showed.

The broker summed up his experience with McFarland by saying, “He lied.” Magnises and a spokesman for McFarland did not return several requests for comment.

McFarland’s failure in this instance to follow through and pick up tickets he’d purchased for his customers may help explain why the internet is littered with complaints from Magnises customers who bought tickets that the company never delivered. And of course, failing to deal with the logistics of picking up concert tickets does not bode well for one’s capacity to pull off something like throwing a music festival on a remote island.  

In an interview published Tuesday on Rolling Stone, McFarland admitted as much himself, saying he was a “little naive” thinking he could pull off the festival. He has promised that all vendors and Fyre Festival ticket holders will be refunded in full.

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