Jailed Fyre Festival organizer Billy McFarland is speaking about the ill-fated 2017 bash that led him to six years in federal prison for defrauding investors of $27.4 million.
McFarland spoke to Jordan Harbinger in a candid new interview, breaking his silence from his jail cell.
“When I think about the mistakes that were made and what happened, there’s no way I can just describe it other than, What the f**k was I thinking? And I think that applies to so many people on so many decisions that they made.
“However, I tried to justify it at the time or shortly after that, or for the period after that, it’s wrong and it doesn’t matter. And there’s just no way to say it, I was wrong. And I hope now that I can in some small way, make a positive impact and hopefully actually bring help to those people that I let down.”
McFarland, who also spoke about ABC’s “The Con: Fyre Festival” episode, pleaded guilty to defrauding investors in 2018 and apologized for his role in the matter.
“I think to start, even if the Fyre Festival was the success and everything that I believed or I’d hoped is probably a better word that it was going to come true, I’d still be in jail. I was still guilty.
“And what I did was, I lied to my investors and other partners about the status of our company, how much money we had, how much money we were making to get the money that I thought we needed for the festival.
“So regardless I was wrong, but through all these mistakes, I think there were some positive takeaways. And that really was this theme that I like to harp on now that when different people connect, who wouldn’t usually meet, there’s a lot of good value and innovation that happens there. So there’s no way around my mistakes and how bad and serious they were but if I can use the positive aspects that I learned to do something good, then I think that’s a big one.”
When asked why he didn’t stop planning when he knew he couldn’t pull the festival off, McFarland said: “So I think the first thing that needs to be said is, I was guilty and there’s absolutely no way around that. I lied to people. I lied to investors. I lied to sponsors.
“And the lies were around this idea that I had where I needed to raise more money, or I thought I needed to raise more money to execute the festival. I did everything I could to try to pull that festival off. Looking back, there were thousands of management decisions made that were totally wrong and totally incorrect. That of course contributed to the failure. At the end of the day, I lied to a lot of people who were supporting me, who were supporting the vision, and that’s inexcusable.”
McFarland is currently serving his sentence for fraud at Lisbon, Ohio’s Elkton Federal Correctional Institution.