Fyre Fest Organizer Billy McFarland Admits From Prison That He 'Knowingly Lied' to Get Money for Event

Billy McFarland attends ONE.1 Hosts Dinner to Celebrate the Opening of the Magnises Townhouse at Magnises, 22 Greenwich Ave on March 6, 2014 in New York City.
Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

The Fyre Festival organizer gives his first interview from prison.

The organizer of the ill-fated Fyre Festival, Billy McFarland, is giving his first interview from prison.

The Fyre Festival made headlines in April 2017 when hundreds of festival-goers -- who paid up to $100,000 for tickets and were promised gourmet food and accommodations -- were left stranded on the island after arriving to an unfinished site and a lack of food and staffing, which quickly turned into chaos. Aside from the lack of accommodations, the festival also promised musical acts Blink-182, Migos and more, as well as appearances from influencers like Kendall Jenner, but failed to deliver. 

McFarland is now currently serving a six-year sentence for defruading investors of more than $26 million. In a preview of the ABC News special, The Con: Fyre Festival, airing on Wednesday at 10/9c, McFarland admits he did lie to investors to get backing for the festival.

"I knowingly lied to them to raise money for the festival, yes," McFarland confesses.

McFarland says his biggest mistake was setting an unrealistic timeline for the festival, and that if he had a year or two more, he would have been in "a better place." When asked what he would say to the people who would just call him a con man, McFarland says, "There's no way I can describe it other than, like, what the f**k was I thinking? And I think that applies to so many people on just so many decisions that I made."

In November 2018, McFarland apologized for his role in the disastrous festival, which spawned both a Netflix documentary and a Hulu documentary.

"I am incredibly sorry for my collective actions and will right the wrongs I have delivered to my family, friends, partners, associates and, you, the general public," he told People in a statement. "I've always sought — and dreamed — to accomplish incredible things by pushing the envelope to deliver for a common good, but I made many wrong and immature decisions along the way and I caused agony. As a result, I've lived every day in prison with pain, and I will continue to do so until I am able to make up for some of this harm through work and actions that society finds respectable."

Meanwhile, ET spoke to Ja Rule in October 2019, and he talked about his role as an early backer of the festival and all the subsequent backlash.

"It's the most iconic festival that never happened," the rapper joked. "I mean, I've lived it. I lived through the moment, I lived through all the craziness online, all the backlash of it all. I took it all like a champ like I was the only guy involved in the situation. But it's OK. It's cool because going forward, what I'm looking to do, is to make the situation right and have an amazing festival."

"It's so crazy because I'm a person that doesn't regret anything. If it happened, it happened," he added. "I try to look at everything as the glass half full. There was a lot of bad that came with the Fyre Festival, obviously, but there were some good things there too. A lot of lessons were learned. I'm taking all that into consideration going into my next venture."