Billy McFarland's failed festival left investors short of $26 million.
William McFarland, otherwise known as Billy, has become one of the most infamous festival promoters of all time. McFarland and his peers were set to put on an epic festival on a Bahamian island dubbed the Fyre Festival. Advertisements for the event boasted performances by artists such as Migos and Major Lazor, luxury camping grounds and facilities in addition to catered meals prepared by world renown restaurateur Steven Starr. The festival was discovered to be a scam, and after an FBI investigation, Mcfarland was served with criminal charges. Mcfarland has pleaded guilty and accepted a plea deal.
Ahead of his sentencing on October 11th, the festival founder's attorney has written a letter to U.S. District Judge Naomi Buchwald asking for leniency in his client's sentencing on the basis of his mental health. The attorney detailed his client's various struggles writing that he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, alcohol abuse, and ADHD. He went on to claim his illnesses prompted McFarland to conduct himself in a "disorganized" manner, experience "manic or hypomanic" episodes, as well as "delusional beliefs of having special and unique talents that will lead to fame and fortune."
The attorney defended his client stating, "Nothing in this case speaks to any malicious intent on his part. Just a sea of bad judgment, poor decisions, and the type of core instability that can only be explained by mental illness."