Nearly two years after the captivating disaster of Fyre Festival rocked our Twitter feeds, people are even more invested in the music festival gone wrong than ever thanks to two brand-new documentaries. Hulu and Netflix both recently released documentaries giving an inside look into how Fyre Festival became the highly public mess that it was, and they probably left viewers with a ton of questions. Like, did Fyre Festival goers get their money back, and what are Billy McFarland and Ja Rule up to now? Here is everything people who watched Fyre and/or Fyre Fraud need to know.
1. Did Fyre Festival attendees ever get refunds?
Although Fyre Festival attendees were mocked on social media under the assumption that they were all rich millennial influencer-types, the reality is that a ton of financially struggling people bought into the festival's promise of escaping your humdrum life for a week of luxury. In fact, a big part of both documentaries was Billy McFarland explaining that his whole idea was to use rich and buzzy celebrities to lure the average teen or 20-something into dropping thousands of dollars on a chance to get a taste of that lifestyle.
Unfortunately, it appears as though the bulk of these attendees still have not been refunded for their expensive tickets. The Fyre Fest organizers promised refunds shortly after the event went south, but MarketWatch reported that refunds have not been widely issued at the time of Netflix's Fyre doc release. The report states that one attendee was able to get a refund by disputing charges with his credit card company.
2. Were the Bahamian workers ever refunded?
The Fyre Festival fraud did not only affect partygoers — Netflix's Fyre doc also focuses on the local workers from Great Exuma who lost tons of money after agreeing to help at the event. In particular, caterer Maryann Rolle appearing the documentary and revealed that she lost her life savings over having to pay employees to work around the clock to feed stranded guests, without ever getting reimbursed by the festival.
Thankfully, the documentary has helped Rolle get back on her feet. A GoFundMe page dedicated to Rolle and her husband has already raised over $150,000 for her, as of Tuesday, Jan. 22.
3. Where are Ja Rule and Billy McFarland now?
Of course, the two biggest names associated with Fyre Festival are its creator Billy McFarland and the celebrity who publicly attached himself to it, Ja Rule. Shortly after Fyre Festival crashed and burned, both McFarland and Ja Rule were hit with numerous lawsuits. Ja Rule has remained out of jail and maintains that he was also tricked by the festival organizers to this day.
But Billy McFarland is currently serving a six-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to two counts of fraud. The Hulu documentary in particular showed how McFarland had a history of making false promises and claims to consumers in order to build his businesses. McFarland also appears in that documentary to be interviewed.
Both Fyre and Fyre Fraud are streaming now on Netflix and Hulu, respectively.