Fyre Festival Cofounder Billy McFarland Speaks Out: We Took a ‘Big Risk’ and ‘Failed’

Fyre Festival cofounder Billy McFarland opened up in a new interview with ABC News about the controversy surrounding the disastrous, canceled two-weekend concert event in the Bahamas. Listen to what he said in the video above.

“We took a big jump here, and a big risk, and V1 has failed,” the entrepreneur said on Monday, May 1. “We had this mega-thing on our hands and we never thought it would take the life that it did, so we went out to build what we now know is almost creating a city out of nothing.”

McFarland, who cofounded the festival with rapper Ja Rule, continued, “We had to install our own sewage and water. We bought an ambulance in New Jersey and drove it down to Florida and then took it over in a boat to get here.”

As previously reported, festivalgoers were up in arms when they arrived to the Bahamas last week to find dismantled tents, cheese sandwiches rather than gourmet food and mass disorganization. Some attendees even compared the scene to The Hunger Games and Lord of the Flies.

McFarland, for his part, blames the inclement weather for the downfall of the festival, which was touted as a “once-in-a-lifetime musical experience.” Speaking with ABC News, he said, “Early Thursday morning a big storm came through and busted our water system and affected half of our housing tents.”

The organizers behind Fyre Festival have since apologized for the disarray and are promising refunds and free VIP tickets to next year’s event. “How we’re solving this is — first of all, guests have been taken home safely on planes,” McFarland said. “Next, everybody is being refunded for their ticket purchase, and everybody is getting a comp ticket to Fyre Festival 2018, which is taking place in May on a beach location in the United States.”

For now, though, McFarland is dealing with the repercussions from this year’s event. According to court documents obtained by Us Weekly, celebrity trial lawyer Mark Geragos filed a $100 million lawsuit against Fyre Festival organizers on Sunday, April 30, on behalf of plaintiff Daniel Jung, who is seeking $5 million in damages. The filing, which seeks a minimum of $100 million due to more than 150 additional anticipated plaintiffs, alleges fraud, breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing.

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