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Infamous fiasco Fyre Festival relaunches — and is already sold out

Here's what we know about Fyre Festival II so far: Line-up? Unknown. Date? Unclear. Location? Somewhere in the Caribbean. Price? $500 to $8,000.
Billy McFarland enters a yellow taxi on a New York street
Billy McFarland leaves Manhattan federal court in New York in 2017. Jefferson Siegel / NY Daily News via Getty Images file

Six years after Fyre Festival became synonymous with epic disaster, its founder announced he's relaunching the failed music and camping retreat and its first drop of tickets have already sold out.

After a stint in jail for fraud, Billy McFarland — the founder and organizer of the infamous Fyre Festival in 2017 — is back with his latest venture: the same botched fest.

The first drop of 100 presale tickets for Fyre Festival II went on sale Monday for $499 a pop and sold out within a day, according to the festival's website.

Virtually no details were released about the event, which has “targeted for the end of 2024 in the Caribbean,” according to the site.

There were no lineup and no details about accommodation, and the location was vaguely set as “The Caribbean.” The Bahamas Tourism Ministry said last year the government “will not endorse or approve any event” on the islands “associated with” McFarland. 

More tickets are “coming soon,” according to the website, dropping in tiers from $799 to an eye-popping price of $7,999 apiece.

The calamitous 2017 festival became a cultural phenomenon.

What was initially touted as the ultimate luxury music festival on the Bahamian island of Exuma, promoted by A-list celebrities like Kendall Jenner and Hailey Bieber, turned into a disaster.

Fyre Festival's promised glamping accommodations ended up being FEMA disaster relief tents, its decadent dining turned out to be meager cheese sandwiches, and its star-studded lineup — from Blink-182 to Migos — all canceled.

Donning a fluffy white robe, McFarland said in an Instagram video Monday that the idea to relaunch came to him “during a 7-month stint in solitary confinement.”

“I wrote out this 50-page plan of how I would take this overall interest and demand in Fyre and how I would take my ability to bring people from around the world together to make the impossible happen," he said.

“We spoke to people as far away as the Middle East and South America. Ultimately, we decided that Fyre Festival II was coming back to The Caribbean,” he said, adding that his company will be doing "pop ups and events around the world" ahead of the fest.

On Tuesday, he shared a written statement on Instagram insisting that this time, things will be different.

“This time we have incredible support. I’ll be doing what I love while working with the best logistical and infrastructure partners. In addition, all ticket sale revenue will be held in escrow until the final date is announced," he said.

Indeed, McFarland had much to learn from in the wake of his 2017 festival-turned-fiasco.

That festival cost investors — including the rapper Ja Rule — tens of millions of dollars. At least eight lawsuits followed, and McFarland was sentenced to six years in jail in October 2018 for fraud and ordered to pay $26 million in restitution. He was released from jail early and moved to a halfway house in May 2022.

The saga was chronicled in two hit documentaries on Hulu and Netflix.

Social media users responded to McFarland's Instagram posts about Fyre Festival II with wariness. 

“Bro give it up, get a normal job,” an Instagram user commented. Another demanded, “pay the locals of that island that you scammed first!!” 

“If you really buy into this deserve to be scammed and no one will feel bad this time," another follower wrote.

"So pumped for the premiere of season 2 on Netflix!" another added.

CORRECTION (Aug. 23, 2023, 8 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misspelled the last name of a celebrity who promoted the first Fyre Festival. She is Hailey Bieber, not Beiber.