We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.


Staff at the festival-that-never-was are not going to get paid for their work

The festival came in for huge criticism in April when thousands of ticket holders arrived in the Bahamas where they were promised a luxury getaway.

THE EMPLOYEES OF the disastrous Fyre Festival have been informed that they will not be paid for their work over the past two weeks.

Staff members were told by the founder of the festival, Billy McFarland, that they would not be receiving their paychecks, nor would he be firing them, a precondition for unemployment benefits in many US states.

The festival came in for huge criticism in April when thousands of ticket holders arrived in the Bahamas where they were promised a luxury getaway.

Instead, they arrived to find disaster relief tents, portaloos and wet mattresses.

Vice News / SoundCloud

Audio from an internal meeting on Friday, which was obtained by VICE News, reveals McFarland offered to allow his employees to remain in the unpaid roles with a view to growing the business to a place where they might get paid again.

“After conferring with our counsel and all financial people, unfortunately we are not able to proceed with payroll,” McFarland said.

We’re not firing anyone, we’re just letting you know that there will be no payroll in the short term.”

Fyre Media, the festival organisers, have been hit with a number of lawsuits, with one party seeking $100 million in damages. Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid and Hailey Baldwin promoted the event but it is not clear if they have been paid.

McFarland noted at the beginning of the call that everyone should have been emailed a “preservation notice” warning them not to delete any files they may have in relation to the lawsuits filed.

One employee on the call claimed she heard another had been contacted by the FBI and asked what she should do if she was to receive a call: “Should we be concerned about the FBI, Billy?”

“That’s really more of an individual thing,” McFarland said. However, he offered to connect anyone contacted by the FBI to Fyre Media’s lawyers. The FBI declined to tell Vice News whether an investigation had been opened into the firm.

“I understand that this is not an ideal situation for everybody, and this will likely cause a lot of you to resign, which we totally get and understand,” he said.

That said, if you want to stick with us, we’d love to have you and we’d love to work together and hunker down and get back to a place where everything resumes business as usual.”

Employees went on to question why they weren’t being fired – which would have allowed them to collect unemployment benefits. He responded, “If that impacts you, you can email me.”

McFarland also responded to accusations claiming that he had misled his employees into thinking Comcast had invested money when it hadn’t.

“We have not closed a Series A round, and that’s as much as I can say,” he said.

The majority of Fyre Media employees quit over the weekend and soon after their company emails were closed down.

Billy McFarland is an American entrepreneur and CEO of three companies; Sling, Magnises and Fyre Media. The media firm own a music booking app.

Read: ‘Closer to The Hunger Games than Coachella’: Fyre Festival hit with $100m lawsuit

More: A Ja Rule-organised festival promised music and models on the beach, instead it turned into chaos

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.