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The Fyre Festival settlement reveals the true cost of schadenfreude — $7,220 a pop

The Fyre Festival settlement reveals the true cost of schadenfreude — $7,220 a pop


The 2017 festival became a how-not-to for the events and influencer industries

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Image: Fyre Festival LLC

The organizers of Fyre Festival — think: The Hunger Games, but for influencers — have agreed to a settlement with 277 attendees for $7,220 apiece, The New York Times reports.

Tickets for the 2017 “luxury” music festival on a remote island in the Bahamas that actually turned out to be a beach full of FEMA tents and some pathetic cheese sandwiches, cost anywhere from $1,000 to as much as $12,000 — more if you bought a package deal. Yes, really, because Fyre Festival organizers, while apparently not adept enough to coordinate hotel bookings and a caterer, did enlist big-name Instagram stars to sing the praises of the inaugural event, including Kendall Jenner, who received $250,000 for a post she’s since deleted.

Organizers also (falsely) claimed that the island was once owned by notorious Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar. Weird flex, right?

Jenner did not attend the event, but she too, eventually paid for it, in the form of a $90,000 settlement last year. Organizer Billy McFarland was sentenced to six years in prison in 2018 after pleading guilty to wire fraud charges. He was also ordered to pay $5 million to two people who paid $13,000 each for VIP packages (did the sandwiches come with extra cheese slices?). McFarland’s business partner, rapper Ja Rule, was cleared of wrongdoing.

hunger games, but for influencers

The festival that became a go-to example of schadenfreude and (yet another) cautionary tale about believing sponcon on social media was eventually the source of two documentaries, for Hulu and Netflix. And because time is a flat circle, the tweet of the “dinner” from Fyre Fest is being offered for auction as an NFT, but at least the money there should go to a good cause: original tweeter Trevor DeHaas is having a kidney transplant and says he needs to raise $80,000 for medical expenses.

The $2 million class-action settlement, reached in US Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York on Tuesday, is currently awaiting final approval, with a hearing scheduled for May 13th.

The final amount attendees receive could eventually be reduced, depending what happens with other creditors in Fyre Festival’s bankruptcy case. But at least the ticket holders have already had some practice in getting less than they were promised.