There aren’t enough red flag emojis in the world, y’all…
Disgraced Fyre Festival head honcho Billy McFarland only just got out of prison back in May of last year, but it sounds like he’s already planning a re-do. Yes, the 31-year-old dude may have served four years in jail after the infamous Fyre Festival epically crashed and burned back in 2017. And yet months after finally securing his freedom, he’s going to try again?!?!
McFarland has been drumming up support for a new event called PYRT — pronounced “Pirate” — that is supposedly set to be held in an island locale in the Caribbean. Does this remind y’all of anything he’s previously been involved with? Nah? OK. Just checking. LOLz!! (Also, what’s up with Billy choosing stylized festival names where “y” replaces “i”??)
Anyways, McFarland has cryptically called this new event a “virtual immersive decentralized reality” experience. So, uhhh, yeah. Whatever that is. Basically, if red flags aren’t IMMEDIATELY going up in your brain about this “immersive” shindig, you kind of deserve to give your cash to this dude. Just saying! Harsh but true!!!
According to the U.S. Sun, specifics about PYRT “remain hazy.” All they know is that the event is said to “involve a bevy of influencers and creators gathering together for a party on a remote island that will be broadcast across the world.” TBH, that sounds boring AF! Is there a market to sit at home and watch other people party?? Didn’t we try this already with virtual concerts in the early days of COVID?!
McFarland posted a cryptic TikTok video back in October promising PYRT would be “a little crazier and a whole lot bigger” than his previous projects. OK, that alone is over-selling it. Can any future fest be bigger than what the Fyre Festival s**t show became?? Just saying!
If alarm bells are ringing in your ears, thankfully, you’re not alone. One of McFarland’s most memorable associates from his Fyre Festival days is speaking out about PYRT. And to say he’s got, ummm, issues with this new project is an understatement. And no, we’re not talking about Ja Rule! Ha! We’re talking about Andy King.
Netflix watchers will no doubt remember Andy King as the veteran event planner who went in with Billy on Fyre Fest back in 2017. King, like so many others, got burned hard when the Bahamian festival flopped. And then, when the streaming service released their doc on the f**ked-up festival a couple years later, King was very heavily featured in interviews.
Now, he’s making the media rounds again! And this time, it’s all about PYRT!! This week, the event planning exec spoke to the U.S. Sun about Billy’s new festival. In an interview published on Wednesday, King balked at McFarland’s post-prison push to create another event:
“He brought a lot of angst, sadness, and turmoil to the Bahamas, and the fact he’s focusing on doing things down there again is odd. … What is he creating? Will it be completely aboveboard? Will it be successful? How long will that take? These are all questions that I’m sure everybody who’s watching has.”
“My immediate reaction was ‘it’s too fast, too quick, and too soon.’ I just couldn’t believe that so quickly out of prison he’s already promoting something. I would have thought he’d have taken more time to really plan something out and to re-establish relationships and heal some of the relationships he hurt through Fyre. But instead it looks like he’s just jumped right into something else. I’m confused by the concept or how it’s going to work, and I just can’t believe it.”
Took the words right out of our mouths…
From King’s perspective, PYRT signals McFarland’s desire to move forward without ever owning up to the past. The Hollywood event planner says Billy still hasn’t apologized to him for the Fyre Fest debacle.
Thus, to move on like this without apparent concern for anyone else is a huge issue for Andy:
“He hasn’t really addressed what happened with me or anyone else who got really hurt very badly by Fyre. I really did have a huge negative impact on my career. To be known as the guy who was part of the big scam was so damaging.”
King is also (rightfully) concerned that Billy’s new PYRT plans are supposedly so much more involved than Fyre. After all, if the first festival failed so spectacularly, is it really wise to try something even bigger?
“The irony is that at the end of Fyre, on the island, he got up to make a speech which we asked him to do. And he basically said to everyone that fire grew much bigger than he ever dreamed of and much bigger than something he could actually handle, that he didn’t have the experience or knowledge to actually do something of that magnitude. So I’m very surprised to hear him say he’s going to be back in the Bahamas and PYRT will be bigger and better than Fyre ever was. It’s a total contradiction of what he said … so it looks like he’s just right back into it all again.”
King — who confirmed he lost “a few hundred thousand dollars” amid the 2017 festival’s collapse — is also miffed at McFarland’s apparent prison experience. To the event planner, this new “immersive” event makes it seem as though Billy never took the time to reflect on past transgressions while locked up:
“I would say that generally spending a few years in prison, to my knowledge, often changes people, right? I think it usually makes you feel and hopefully become a lot more humble, and more grounded and more grateful, and I feel like those traits have come back a little bit. But then when you’re hearing him speak, and his deliveries and his presentations and videos and that kind of thing, it doesn’t look like he’s changed as much as I’d hoped.”
It’ll be interesting to see if PYRT actually becomes anything. Back in October, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism called McFarland a “fugitive” in a scathing public statement and said he wasn’t “welcome” back in the island nation. Per the U.S. Sun, the tourism board has since “pledged to prohibit any McFarland-linked ventures from obtaining permits.”
If that policy holds, what will happen to PYRT?! Will it be held elsewhere?? Those details apparently have yet to be worked out. In a fall 2022 interview with AdWeek after the tourism board’s comments, McFarland claimed he still had “really close friends and supporters” in the Bahamas and was optimistic about making another go. Hmmm…
Don’t count King among those friends and supporters, though. In Wednesday’s interview with the U.S. Sun, the event planner looked back on the last few years following Fyre Festival. Calling it a “journey,” King explained he’s worked hard to rebuild his professional life from the ground up.
He also told the outlet why he chose to be featured in that mega-memorable Netflix doc:
“I did that documentary for a few specific reasons: one was to create a vehicle to try to pay back everybody in the Bahamas and anybody else to the best of our abilities, and then two was to be able to tell the true story of what happened so that everybody that was involved beside Billy would appear in the public eye in a much more positive way because no one else was scamming anybody except for Billy. And so I feel like we accomplished a fair amount of that.”
But the stink of McFarland’s failed fest has stuck with Andy no matter what:
“The amazing thing is is after a 30-year career as an event planner, planning some pretty amazing events, I’m only known for one now: Fyre Festival. … Fyre Festival really did a number on me, but I say you take a bushel of rotting lemons and you make the best lemonade ever. And I’m now working on some pretty amazing events, and working my way back to where I was.”
So what happens if Billy reaches out to Andy? If McFarland finally apologizes to his former event-planning mentor, would King jump back in and help with PYRT?
If McFarland hypothetically asked to bring King aboard for this new venture, Andy explained he would decline:
“I probably would say, ‘I wish you all the luck in the world but unfortunately I can’t be involved with another project like that.’ Unfortunately, I don’t think any of my advisers would be happy if I jumped into another project like that. If I were him, I’d have started small, gradually building out a team and a concept, and taken a couple of years really trying to pull things together. But to make the kind of announcements he’s making, such a short time out of prison, I’m truly surprised.”
And yet the party planner can’t help but wonder if just maaaaaybe McFarland will make things right this time:
“Maybe he’s going to pull it off, who knows? But the world is watching.”
That’s what we’re all wondering, too.
Of course, we’re not gonna spend any money on this “immersive” new experience. That’s a sucker’s game. But you can bet we’ll be watching closely from the sidelines. And eagerly waiting for the next Netflix doc if this new pirate-party sinks, too!!!
What about U, Perezcious readers??
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