Fyre Festival Caterer Who Was Scammed Out of Her Savings Raises $160K After Netflix Documentary
Maryann Rolle prepared 1000 meals per day at the disastrous festival but was never compensated.
A local victim of the disastrous Fyre Festival in Great Exuma, Bahamas is finally getting some relief.
Maryann Rolle, owner of the Exuma Point Resort, raised over $160,000 with a GoFundMe campaign after she spoke out about how she was brought on to cater the 2017 festival gone awry but was never compensated.
In the popular Netflix documentary FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened, Rolle says she had to spend $50,000 from her savings to pay her workers.
“It has been an unforgettable experience catering to the organizers of Fyre Festival,” she wrote on the GoFundMe website. “Back in April 2017 I pushed myself to the limit catering no less than a 1000 meals per day.”
Rolle added that while it is “embarrassing to admit that I was not paid,” her credit was ruined and she was “left in a big hole” so she felt obligated to ask for help.
Since starting the fundraiser just eight days ago, she has surpassed her goal of $123,000 with donations from more than 5,000 people.
The resort owner was hired to cater the festival—which promised music fans shelling out upwards of $1,595 a weekend filled with luxurious accommodations and five-star food—after the festival’s founder Billy McFarland allegedly fired renowned restauranteur Stephen Starr’s catering company.
“We had a six million dollar contract with Starr catering to handle all the food service and we only had one million dollars allocated,” Andy King, one of the top event planners, said in the Netflix film. “Billy fired them over the phone and then he hung up the phone, I stood there and he said, ‘Can you salvage this?’ and I said, ‘Oh my gosh, I have two weeks to come up with food service for 6,000 kids. This is going to be fascinating.'”
Instead of sushi chefs and a pig roast like was advertised, festival goers were served the now-viral cheese sandwiches. Rolle fed not only the festival goers but also the men who worked tirelessly to build the festival site that never fully came to be.
“I had 10 persons working directly with me just preparing food all day and night—24 hours,” she said. “I had to literally pay all those people.”
“I went through about $50,000 in my savings that I could of have had for rainy day and they just wiped it out and never looked back,” added a tearful Rolle. “Personally I don’t even like to talk about the Fyre Festival. Just take it away and let me start a new beginning because they really, really, really hurt me. I am really hurt.”
She has since thanked the generous people who donated by uploading photos to the campaign page.
The demise of the festival led to serious legal repercussions for McFarland. In March 2018 he pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud, effectively swindling over 80 investors out of a collective $26 million. He also copped to two counts of bank fraud: one for a “sham ticket scheme” that sold approximately $100,000 worth of tickets to fictitious events, and another for falsifying a check by using the name and account number of one of his employees without their consent.
He also pleaded guilty to making false statements to federal law enforcement. On Oct. 11, 2018, a Manhattan federal court sentenced McFarland to six years in prison.
“I am incredibly sorry for my collective actions and will right the wrongs I have delivered to my family, friends, partners, associates and, you, the general public,” he tells PEOPLE. “I’ve always sought — and dreamed — to accomplish incredible things by pushing the envelope to deliver for a common good, but I made many wrong and immature decisions along the way and I caused agony. As a result, I’ve lived every day in prison with pain, and I will continue to do so until I am able to make up for some of this harm through work and actions that society finds respectable.”