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The failed FYRE Festival is making a comeback

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The failed FYRE Festival is making a comeback
The man jailed over the infamous luxury music event in the Bahamas in 2017 is back with a second iteration of the festival calling it his “odyssey”.

Billy McFarland was released from post-prison house arrest in September 2022, following fraud convictions for the first FYRE Festival which was scheduled to take place on a Caribbean Island in April 2017, but no bands ever took to the stage and the promised luxury was non-existent.

McFarland has been talking up the second edition of FYRE Festival – FYRE Festival II or FYRE II – for months and the first 100 tickets went on sale this week. The tiny pool of tickets has now sold out with McFarland saying via a video on social media that there are 6,900 people on the wait list for tickets.

McFarland has been deploying the kind of viral marketing tactics that made the anticipation of the first festival a phenomenon on social media. On July 4, on social channels including Instagram and X – formerly Twitter – he announced that the first event in the lead-up to FYRE Festival II would be held on August 26 this year and that the attendees would be chosen by him based on comments received on the announcement video.

On August 12, he cancelled the event, also via social media.

“We’ve had so much interest and after a lot of long hard and honest conversations with partners, mentors, backers and even potential partners for the future, the FYRE vision is just so much bigger than 200 people,” he said in the video which announced the cancellation of the August 26 event.

“The FYRE vision is 10,000 people on one of the best islands in the world with the best talent in the world. The FYRE vision is the best the logistics partner who will allow me to go absolutely wild and make our stamp on culture and the future of music festivals.

“Since 2016, FYRE has had over 32 billion impressions online. That makes us the largest and most talked about festival in the world and over three and a half times larger than the festival in second place.

“I need to stick to my original vision and take all of the momentum of the great partners and backers that I’ve gotten over the past few weeks to go all in and focus on FYRE II.”

When the first 100 tickets went on sale this week, McFarland spoke of coming up with a plan for FYRE II while in solitary confinement during his prison stint.

“It has been the absolute wildest journey to get here,” he said.

“I wrote out this 50 page plan of how it would take this overall interest and demand in FYRE and how it would take my ability to bring people from around the world together to make the impossible happen. But it would find the best partners in the world to allow me to be me while executing FYRE’s vision to the highest level.”

The FYRE Festival II website lists six more pre-sale ticket drops are still to come, with the final drop of 26 tickets priced at $7,999 each. The first 100 tickets were priced a lot more modestly at $499.

McFarland says the aim is to deliver FYRE II at the end of 2024, with pre-events and pop-ups around the world to precede the main festival.

The failures of the first FYRE Festival were documented in two high-profile documentaries.

McFarland has also announced in recent times that he was been locked in to develop a broadway musical about FYRE Festival.

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