In April 2017, McFarland's company organized a luxury music and food event called Fyre Festival in the Bahamas, which was hyped by models on Instagram but devolved into a disaster that left concertgoers with no music, emergency tent accommodations, Porta-potties, and no flights home. After initially pleading not guilty, McFarland entered a guilty plea in March. Then just last week, a week before his sentencing, the U.S. Attorney charged the 26-year-old with another fraud: Offering tickets to high-profile events like the Met Gala, Coachella, and Burning Man.
On Monday, federal judge Naomi Reice Buchwald agreed to the prosecutors' demand that bail be revoked. "I do think that with the new charges combined with the forthcoming sentencing, there's a serious risk of flight as well as a danger in a non-violent sense to the community," she said. Page Six adds:
The 26-year-old — who came to court looking slightly disheveled in a short-sleeved brown shirt and khakis — got to put the specs on briefly but was forced to remove them in case they were being used to smuggle in something illicit.
“So the concern is what’s in his frames. We’ve all watched a lot of movies, right?” said Buchwald.
“Indeed judge,” said defense attorney Randall Jackson, who said he’d write a letter shortly requesting permission for the frames.
McFarland will be in jail until his new sentencing date in late July; these weeks will count towards his eventual sentence.
Hulu is currently producing a docu-series about McFarland, and directors Jenner Furst and Julia Willoughby Nason had already spent eight hours interviewing him before his arrest last week. Furst told us they "were the only outlet in the courthouse when he was detained by the FBI [and] turning himself in." He added, "The key component in Billy's story that I think is fascinating, that we want to explore in our documentary series, is that you can't learn morality on the Internet. You can teach yourself anything: you can go and you can Google things, you can figure out how to code, you can figure out what people want, you can figure out how to make an incredible social media campaign, you could find partners for it, you can link up with influencers. But you can't teach yourself morality on the Internet. And that I think is at the crux of what our docuseries explores: how there is a vacant quality to this whole thing. There is an absence of ethics and morality, and it's generational. And I think it's a wakeup call and we have to examine how these aspects of our culture are corroding our sense of reality and our sense of morality."