Fyre Festival ticketholders see their class-action payout slashed to just $280 each


Trustee Gregory Messer proposes paying Fyre Festival attendees $280 each in damages in a bankruptcy filing

Ticketholders for the disastrous Fyre Festival could suffer one final insult, after bankruptcy proceedings that suggest they will not get the $7,220 payouts they won in a class-action lawsuit against the organizers. 

Fyre Festival’s bankruptcy trustee, Gregory Messer, told a bankruptcy judge that he’s collected just $1.4 million, of which $1.1 million will go to attorneys and accountants, according to court documents first reported by the New York Post

That leaves a paltry $300,000 to divvy up among creditors seeking more than $7 million, including the ticketholders who won a $2 million judgement earlier this year.

Messer’s proposal, which has yet to be approved by a judge, is to pay out a total of $78,391.73 to the 277 ticketholders, which would equate to roughly $280 per person.

Tickets to the disastrous 2017 festival in the Bahamas were sold for $1,200 each, with package deals that cost up to $100,000, according to court documents. 

Tickets to the disastrous 2017 festival in the Bahamas were sold for $1,200 each, with package deals that cost up to $100,000, according to court documents

Tickets to the disastrous 2017 festival in the Bahamas were sold for $1,200 each, with package deals that cost up to $100,000, according to court documents

The proposal above shows the $7 million in unsecured claims against Fyre Festival LLC, along with how the trustee proposes to distribute the $300,000 in remaining assets

The proposal above shows the $7 million in unsecured claims against Fyre Festival LLC, along with how the trustee proposes to distribute the $300,000 in remaining assets

This was among the food said to have been served to ticket holders at Fyre Festival. The 'gourmet food' was barely passable cheese sandwiches served in Styrofoam containers and the 'hottest musical acts' were nowhere to be seen

This was among the food said to have been served to ticket holders at Fyre Festival. The ‘gourmet food’ was barely passable cheese sandwiches served in Styrofoam containers and the ‘hottest musical acts’ were nowhere to be seen

The festival sold a total of around 8,000 tickets for two weekends. With attendees having spent between $1,000 to $12,000 on ticket to the festival, it was cancelled on its opening day, leaving people stuck on the island without many basic amnesties

The festival sold a total of around 8,000 tickets for two weekends. With attendees having spent between $1,000 to $12,000 on ticket to the festival, it was cancelled on its opening day, leaving people stuck on the island without many basic amnesties 

Organizer Billy McFarland and rapper Ja Rule drew millions in investments with the promise of putting on a first-of-its-kind, luxury music festival event in The Bahamas with models, DJs, luxury dwellings and extravagant meals. 

They paid models like Kendal Jenner to promote the event on Instagram and blasted seduction promo videos and pictures to lure people into buying tickets that were sold at thousands of dollars each. 

But the event was a disaster, with people arriving on the island of Great Exuma to find a scene more closely resembling a disaster relief camp than a luxury festival.

Court filings documents described the scene met by concert goers upon their arrival as ‘total disorganization and chaos.’ The ‘luxury accommodations’ were FEMA disaster relief tents, the ‘gourmet food’ was barely passable cheese sandwiches served in Styrofoam containers and the ‘hottest musical acts’ nowhere to be seen.

The festival sold a total of around 8,000 tickets for two weekends. With attendees having spent between $1,000 to $12,000 on ticket to the festival, it was cancelled on its opening day, leaving people stuck on the island without many basic amnesties. 

After around 8,000 tickets were sold, the event turned out to be a disaster, with people arriving on the island of Great Exuma to find a scene more closely resembling a disaster relief camp than a luxury festival. Pictured: These were the tents that the guests found when they arrived. They were hurricane relief tents with foam mattresses inside

After around 8,000 tickets were sold, the event turned out to be a disaster, with people arriving on the island of Great Exuma to find a scene more closely resembling a disaster relief camp than a luxury festival. Pictured: These were the tents that the guests found when they arrived. They were hurricane relief tents with foam mattresses inside 

Organizer Billy McFarland and rapper Ja Rule drew millions in investments with the promise of putting on a first-of-its-kind, luxury music festival event in The Bahamas

Organizer Billy McFarland and rapper Ja Rule drew millions in investments with the promise of putting on a first-of-its-kind, luxury music festival event in The Bahamas

Billy McFarland, the promoter of the failed Fyre Festival in the Bahamas, leaves federal court after pleading guilty to wire fraud charges in March 2018

Billy McFarland, the promoter of the failed Fyre Festival in the Bahamas, leaves federal court after pleading guilty to wire fraud charges in March 2018

Two documentaries, one on Netflix and another on Hulu, were made detailing the event’s organisation and ensuing chaos. 

McFarland was arrested in June 2017 and pleaded guilty to numerous fraud charges relating to both the Fyre Festival and his company NYC CIP Access, which also sold fake tickets to events such as the Met Gala.

He was sentenced to six years in prison in October 2018 and ordered to pay $5 million to two North Carolina residents who spent about $13,000 each of VIP packages to the Fyre Festival. Ja Rule was cleared of any wrongdoing a year later.

Numerous lawsuits were also filed against the pair, and McFarland apologised.

‘I cannot emphasize enough how sorry I am that we fell short of our goal,’ McFarland said in a statement in 2017, but he declined to comment on specific allegations. 

‘I’m committed to, and working actively to, find a way to make this right, not just for investors but for those who planned to attend.’

The organizers attributed the event’s cancellation to a number of factors, including the weather. But some employees of the Fyre company said its bosses has invented features of the event – such as $400,000 accommodation called the ‘Artist’s Palace ticket package – just to see if people would by them. 

‘Billy went to jail, ticket holders can get some money back, and some very entertaining documentaries were made,’ Ben Meiselas, a partner at Geragos & Geragos and the lead lawyer representing the ticket holders told the New York Times in an email. ‘Now that’s justice.’ 

Scenes of desolation from the 2017 Fyre Festival which became a legendary disaster

Scenes of desolation from the 2017 Fyre Festival which became a legendary disaster

Guests paid $1,200 to $12,000 for tickets to the event, and found the site a shambles

Guests paid $1,200 to $12,000 for tickets to the event, and found the site a shambles

The organizers attributed the event's cancellation to a number of factors, including the weather

The organizers attributed the event’s cancellation to a number of factors, including the weather

Mark Geragos, another lawyer representing the ticket buyers in Tuesday’s settlement, filed the initial $100 million class-action lawsuit days after the event.

That lawsuit stated that Ja Rule and McFarland knew for months that the festival ‘was dangerously underequipped and posed a serious danger to anyone in attendance.’

A second class action lawsuit was filed against them two days later. 

Earlier this year, McFarland spoke out from prison to claim he’d have been able to arrange the event he promised investors if he had a ‘more realistic timeline’.

Before McFarland was sentenced to six years in jail in 2018, after he was also found to have sold fake Met Gala and Coachella tickets

Before McFarland was sentenced to six years in jail in 2018, after he was also found to have sold fake Met Gala and Coachella tickets

McFarland is not expected to be released from prison until August 2023.

Last year, the Bureau of Prisons rejected his request for early release due to COVID-19 and punished him for bringing a personal recording device into the prison that was hidden in a pen. 

His team told DailyMail.com that he has been held in solitary confinement for 138 days as punishment for taking part in interviews. The Bureau of Prisons has not confirmed if he is in solitary or if so why.

In an interview with podcaster Jordan Harbinger (of the Jordan Harbinger Show) that is featured as part of ABC’s The Con in March, he admitted he defrauded investors, but says his problem was thinking he’d be able to put the festival together in just six months. 

‘The biggest mistake before I went awry was setting a realistic timeline. Had we given it a year or two, we would gave been in a better place. What the f*** was I thinking? It applies to so many people and decisions that I made. 

‘I knowingly lied to raise money for the festival, yes,’ he said.   



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