Fyre Festival, a luxury music festival co-created by Ja Rule and a constant punch line during the last week of April, inspired at least seven lawsuits filed by ticket holders, vendors, and service providers alike. Each suit alleged that just about everyone had been woefully misled about the festival, which descended quickly into “mass chaos” once attendees reached its location in the Bahamas. At the time, festival co-creator and planner Billy McFarland blamed organizational ineptitude, a lack of infrastructure, and inclement weather for the debacle, which left concertgoers without shelter on the unfinished festival grounds. According to the Department of Justice, however, at least part of the discrepancy between expectation and reality came down to wire fraud.
McFarland was arrested and charged with one count of wire fraud Friday in New York. Acting U.S. Attorney for Manhattan Joon H. Kim said in a statement, “McFarland promised a ‘life changing’ music festival but in actuality delivered a disaster. McFarland allegedly presented fake documents to induce investors to put over a million dollars into his company and the fiasco called the Fyre Festival. Thanks to the investigative efforts of the FBI, McFarland will now have to answer for his crimes.” The New York Times reported in May that the FBI had opened an investigation into “possible mail, wire and securities fraud” committed by the festival’s parent company Fyre Media. Now that at least one festival co-creator has been charged with a crime, it is with a heavy heart that one must now ask in all sincerity, “Where’s Ja?”