McFarland said all guests will be going home and refunds are "being processed"

By Alexia Fernández
April 28, 2017 07:40 PM
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Billy McFarland, one of the co-organizers of the failed Fyre Festival, spoke out about the event that has received major backlash from fans who were left stranded on Exuma, the Bahamian island where the festival would have taken place.

The co-organizer told Rolling Stone that he and festival partner Ja Rule began the process of planning the festival and were very excited, until “a lot of reality and roadblocks hit.”

McFarland said that the island “didn’t have a really great infrastructure — there wasn’t a great way to get guests in here — we were a little bit ambitious.”

“There wasn’t water or sewage,” he continued. “It was almost like we tried building a city out of nothing and it took almost all of our personal resources to make this happen, and everything we had, to make this festival go on. We thought we were ready and built two different festival sites.”

Billy-McFarland-fyre-festival
Credit: Patrick McMullan via Getty

On the morning of the festival, McFarland said a “bad storm came in and took down half of our tents and busted water pipes,” while guests began to arrive. That was when he said the organizers realized, “Wow, we can’t do this.”

“We were on a rush job to fix everything and guests were arriving and that caused check-in to be delayed,” he added. “We were overwhelmed and just didn’t have the foresight to solve all these problems.”

Ticket holders on Thursday described the environment as having “barely any food or water or security or electricity” before the event was finally postponed indefinitely.

Tickets for the event ranged from $4,000 to upwards of $250,000 (for a VIP package split amongst 12 people).

After quickly realizing that a music festival would not be pulled off in the short amount of time they had, McFarland told the magazine that they immediately set out to process refunds to guests and made sure all vendors were “taken care of.” Refunds are in the process of being dispersed, he said.

McFarland is hopeful that a Fyre Festival in 2018 will come to fruition, saying that make-up dates in May 2018 will be “free for everybody who signed up for this festival.” Along with granting guests free passes, he said they will be donating $1.50 per ticket to the Bahamian Red Cross.

“We thought we were making timeframes that were correct,” McFarland said. “We were a little naïve in thinking for the first time we could do this ourselves. Next year, we will definitely start earlier. The reality is, we weren’t experienced enough to keep up.”