Billy McFarland Talks Failed Fyre Festival in New Interview: “I Was Wrong”

McFarland just ended a four year stint in prison for the fraudulent festival

billy mcfarland interview
Billy McFarland on Good Morning America (ABC)

    Billy McFarland was recently released from prison after serving four years for wire fraud for the Fyre Festival, the 2017 event advertised as a Bahamian getaway that left people stranded in a sparse tent city. Now a free man, McFarland sat down with ABC News’ Michael Strahan for his first televised interview since leaving prison.

    McFarland began his interview by stating the obvious. “I was wrong,” he said. “I messed up, and I was so driven by this desperate desire to prove people right. I had these early investors, backers, employees, and I think I was just so insecure that I thought the only way to prove myself to them was to succeed, and that led me down just this terrible path of bad decisions.”

    Strahan tried throughout the interview to challenge McFarland’s polished psychoanalysis of his scam. “But was it more to prove yourself, or was it more for money?,” he asked. According to McFarland, he genuinely used all of the money he made from lying to investors to try to throw the event, even though all of his employees told him they couldn’t make it happen in time.


    “I put every dollar I had or could find to make this festival happen and I literally came back to New York after with $100 in my pocket,” McFarland said. Watch McFarland’s full ABC News interview below.

    McFarland served four years of his six year sentence, which included two stints in solitary confinement. Now on supervised release, he has been ordered to pay $26 million in restitution to the investors, vendors, and ticketholders he misled in talking up Fyre Festival, and his earnings will be garnished until it’s been paid back. In order to make these payments, he said he’s launched the new business PYRT, but he stayed mum on the new venture’s details, except to say he’ll “do something tech-based.”

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