Fyre Festival founder breaks silence in first TV interview from jail: 'I knowingly lied to them'

Kylie Mar
·Host & Producer, Yahoo Entertainment
·2 min read

On ABC's The Con: Fyre Festival Wednesday, which focused on the disastrous 2017 music festival and its founder, Billy McFarland, the disgraced organizer finally broke his silence from his jail cell in his first televised interview since being sentenced to six years in prison.

"When I think about the mistakes that were made and what happened, there's just, like, there's no way I can just describe it other than, like, what the f*** was I thinking? And I think that applies to so many people on just so many decisions that I made," McFarland said.

Fyre Festival, which was promoted as a luxurious music festival on the Bahamian island of Exuma over two weekends in 2017, with musical acts like Blink-182 and Migos, and was promoted by supermodels like Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid, was an epic fail as customers spent thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars on luxury accommodations and gourmet food, only to be met with emergency disaster tents, soaked mattresses and, of course, the infamous cheese sandwich, which broke the internet.

In 2018, McFarland pleaded guilty to defrauding investors and apologized for his role in the scam.

During the episode, which captured the making of the new Dumpster Fyre podcast, in which McFarland is currently 50 percent owner, McFarland admitted to lying to investors to swindle them out of $26 million. "I knowingly lied to them to raise money for the festival, yes," he said. McFarland also explained exactly how he did it.

"What I did was inflate our company's numbers. How much money we had, how much money we were making, in order to raise overall money. I tried to justify to myself, well, you know, everybody has access to my bank account, they all know what's going on. And so, just give us more money. We're going to make this happen, we all know what's happening. But in reality, everybody didn't understand, you know, what was going on in my head," explained McFarland.

While McFarland is currently housed at a federal prison in Ohio with two more years in his sentence, the disgraced con man did reveal that "lying to people who put their trust in" him is his biggest regret.

The Con airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on ABC.

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