- Despite Fyre Festival founder Billy McFarland currently serving a six-year prison sentence for fraud charges related to the disastrous music festival, Netflix’s “Fyre” director Chris Smith thinks we haven’t seen the last of McFarland.
- Smith told Business Insider he feels that way because of how easy it was for McFarland to rebound after Fyre.
- But Erik Bernstein, vice president of Bernstein Crisis Management, told Business Insider most people going forward are not going to trust something that McFarland is involved in.
Despite being known as the face of the biggest music festival failure in recent memory, there are some who believe we have not heard the last of Billy McFarland.
This week McFarland – who was touted as an entrepreneur on the rise before his brainchild Fyre Festival imploded – is the focus of not one but two documentaries released on streaming services. Hulu’s “Fyre Fraud” and Netflix’s “Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened” both, in their own ways, delve inside the disaster and give a deep look at McFarland’s shady business practices.
And though he’s currently serving a six-year prison sentence for wire fraud charges, you could make the argument that due to the amount of people who will watch both documentaries, McFarland will have a bigger profile in the public eye than ever when he’s eventually released.
In Netflix’s “Fyre,” the movie even suggests that we may have not seen the last of McFarland, as the movie ends with Marc Weinstein, a music festival consultant who was hired on to do Fyre, saying:
“I actually wouldn’t be surprised if ten years down the line we’re going to be hearing about Billy McFarland starting some kind of other venture that’s imaginative and gets some serious momentum and this all happens in some form again.”
Chris Smith, the director of Netflix’s “Fyre,” told Business Insider he agreed with what Weinstein said, and added that McFarland didn’t even need these two documentaries to land back on his feet after doing time.
“I think he would have that status regardless,” Smith said.
Smith based this on what stood out to him while making “Fyre” – seeing how easy it was for McFarland to rebound after the festival went up in smoke.
“He didn’t miss a beat,” Smith said. “He was continuing to move forward and seemed to be living the lifestyle that he had before Fyre.”
“He’s a very smart, very focused, industrious person,” Smith added.
But not everyone is convinced it’s a sure thing McFarland will make a comeback.
“Though McFarland may well try to raise his reputation from the ashes of the Fyre Festival fiasco, there were enough folks burned the first time around that I would expect to see concerted efforts to raise awareness of McFarland’s involvement in any future events,” Erik Bernstein, vice president of Bernstein Crisis Management, told Business Insider. “Name recognition is great in many cases, but the large-scale misery broadcast by Fyre Festival attendees should be enough to scare people from spending their money on anything McFarland is involved in.”
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