Fyre Fest event planner Andy King has claimed that it was the infamous cheese sandwiches which disgruntled attendees shared pictures of to social media that eventually brought down the failed festival.
He told ABC’s The Con in a special aired on Wednesday night that the sandwich was never supposed to be offered to guests but suddenly went viral after hundreds of attendees began lining up at the site’s employee food tent.
‘I blame the cheese sandwich for bringing down the festival,’ he said of the moment that bands began to pull out of the festival the night before they were scheduled to play when the sandwich became one of the main talking points of the failed event.
King’s claims came as the show revealed that convicted fraudster and founder of the festival Billy McFarland says his biggest regret is ‘lying to people who put their trust in me’.
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Fyre Fest event planner Andy King has claimed that it was the infamous cheese sandwiches which disgruntled attendees shared pictures of to social media that eventually brought down the failed festival. He explained to ABC’s The Con that they were not meant for guests
‘I blame the cheese sandwich for bringing down the festival,’ King told The Con
Billy McFarland is due to be released from prison in 2023. In jailhouse podcast interviews, he says he still thinks he could have pulled Fyre Festival off if he had more time
King told the show that he did not believe that McFarland was a con artist but that he wasn’t in touch with the damage he caused when he hide information and lied to others.
He recalled the struggle to keep the doomed event together before the cheese sandwich placed the final nail in the coffin.
Sad images of the meal were shared to social media after attendees had already been kept away from the campsite for hours as organizers procrastinated and tried to stall for time while they set up.
The 600 attendees who had arrived on the first day were plied with alcohol and sent to swim with pigs in an attempt to keep them distracted – but then landed drunk and impatient in one large group at the site.
Fyre Fest was sold as a paradise with ads showing bikini-clad models on the beach
Yet when attendees arrived they were met with a ruined campsite, pictured
King has blamed these pictures of a cheese sandwich for bringing down the festival
Th pictures went viral after being shared by disgruntled attendees
‘One young couple came up and they were drunk and I said “you need to eat something and over there is the employee tent and one of the chefs and just say “listen, Andy sent you over and he’ll make you a sandwich”‘
‘That was the employee lunch,’ King explained.
‘I’m thinking of liability with alcohol poisoning and what have you so they went over to get a sandwich and when I came back ten minutes later, there were probably 500 kids in line for this damn cheese sandwich.
‘Everybody had their phones out and they were photographing this sandwich and I’m like “no, no it’s not happening” and it went viral like that around the world,’ he recalled.
‘That’s when all the acts started to cancel right and left. They literally saw the image on the internet and said, “We’re not going. Are you kidding me? This is a farce” and I blame the cheese sandwich for bringing down the festival.’
Earlier on the show, McFarland had said he blamed the moment that he decided to keep the first-day attendees away from the site as they set up as the real point where it had all gone wrong.
Andy King claimed that the now infamous cheese sandwich was only meant for employees
He said he had directed a drunk couple to get one but that soon 100s of guests lined up
Attendees have been promised luxury tents but a storm the night before had ravaged through the site and left it soaked and in disarray.
Yet McFarland claimed that if he had just brought guests in smaller groups to check in instead of 600 in one go, that he could have salvaged the festival.
‘Keeping them away from the festival site and bring them all back at one time was the real issue and altered the whole course of the festival,’ he claimed, despite being the person who had abandoned the assignment plan that had already been established.
He had instead told guests when put under pressure that it was first come, first serve, sparking a mass panic to find a dry tent.
The show heard from the disgraced organizer from prison, where he is serving six years for wire fraud after admitting that he lied to investors about the event’s finances.
Yet he still claimed that he would have been able to arrange the event he promised investors if he had a ‘more realistic timeline’.
McFarland and Ja Rule (pictured together) had promoted a luxury event filled with DJs, models, luxury surroundings and epic music but the reality was a disaster
The promo for the festival included Victoria’s Secret models frolicking in the ocean
Hundreds purchase tickets after seeing promos from the models above
McFarland and rapper Ja Rule obtained $26million in investment with the promise of putting on a first-of-its-kind, luxury music festival event in The Bahamas with models, DJs, luxury dwellings and extravagant meals.
They paid models like Kendall Jenner to promote the event on Instagram and blasted seduction promo videos and pictures to lure people into buying tickets.
Thousands took the bait and hopped on planes from New York City and Miami.
When they arrived in The Bahamas, they found their luxury dwellings were hurricane tents. The gastronomical delights they’d paid for were nothing more than cheese sandwiches and there was not an organizer in sight to help with their question.
The situation became dangerous – people stranded on the island ran out of water and some started fighting over where to sleep.
McFarland was sentenced in October 2018. He is now at the FCI Elkton, in Lisbon, Ohio.
He is not expected to be released from prison until August 2023.
Last year, the Bureau of Prisons rejected his request for early release due to COVID-19 and punished him for bringing a personal recording device into the prison that was hidden in a pen.
His team tells DailyMail.com that he has been held in solitary confinement for 138 days as punishment for taking part in interviews with Harbinger that were featured on the show.
In an interview with podcaster Jordan Harbinger (of the Jordan Harbinger Show pictured) that featured as part of the TV show, he admitted to lying to investors and to others involved
McFarland was allegedly placed in solitary confinement after taking part in the interviews
McFarland with some of his friends in prison where he is serving six years. He says he knowingly lied to investors but thought he could ‘dig himself out of a hole’
The Con also referenced this as the reason why he had been placed in solitary confinement.
The Bureau of Prisons has not confirmed if he is in solitary or if so why.
In his interview, he seemed to think that everything would have run smoothly if he’d had longer to organize it.
‘The biggest mistake before I went awry was setting a realistic timeline. Had we given it a year or two, we would gave been in a better place.
‘What the f*** was I thinking? It applies to so many people and decisions that I made.
‘I knowingly lied to raise money for the festival, yes,’ he said.
DailyMail.com previously obtained the first clips of the podcast through Harbinger.
In those episodes, McFarland insisted that the whole story had not been told.
‘We essentially wanted to build a city out of nothing,’ he said.
Multiple event producers advised that a project on Fyre Festival’s magnitude would require at least 18 months of planning and millions more in funding. Notwithstanding the advice, McFarland pushed forward.
‘I couldn’t be told no,’ he said to Harbinger.
As the event neared, it seems that the warning signs were clear to everybody except McFarland. Forty-eight hours before guests were slated to arrive, performers began to drop out. Housing, bathroom facilities, water, food, the stage had all yet to be completed.
And yet, postponement was still out of the question.
On the podcast, McFarland gives insight into his mindset during that critical time: ‘As people were saying it couldn’t be done, some amazing advancement or idea, or deal, just something great would happen to take us to the next level,’ he says.
‘And then those old fears would be forgotten, but that next level would bring us numerous new concerns.’
‘It kept being this amazing ‘cat comes out of the hat’ trick at just the right moment, not only to save things but to motivate people even further.’
Promised ‘modern, eco-friendly geodesic domes’ and luxury beachside villas, festival-goers were shocked when they arrived on the island to chaos and a disaster-relief tent city.
These were the tents that the guests found when they arrived. They were hurricane relief tents with foam mattresses inside and had been soaked by a storm the previous night
The situation turned dangerous at the festival site. There was a concern there was not enough water on the island and people didn’t have any means of getting home
McFarland disputes this in the podcast; he insists that there was a massive effort to make good on the promise of ‘villas’ whether they were beachside or not. ‘We had certainly put in the time, effort and funding to secure the villas,’ he said defiantly.
‘For a period of four to six weeks before the festival, we actually rented over 200 separate villas and houses,’ he explained on the podcast.
He tells Harbinger that they hired a former Navy Seal to run a ‘street team’ that knocked on the doors of ‘every possible house, villa or condo they could find’ to offer them cash in exchange for use of their property.
Before McFarland was sentenced, he also sold fake Met Gala and Coachella tickets
‘We literally took physical possession of these keys. We had these keys in this cardboard box and a printed out Excel document outlining the address of each house and who was supposed to stay in that house.’
Inexplicably McFarland says, ‘The head of that villa team disappeared with the box of keys and excel document somewhere in the second of third flight of arriving guests.’
The alleged, ‘box of keys’ was never found.
On the podcast, McFarland claims that he has the bank statements and spreadsheets to back-up his claim, and says: ‘I know some of the guests found their way to the villas and many of them stayed their for the full week, and I’m hoping we can get some of them on to tell their story.’
While awaiting sentencing on bail, McFarland started a new scam that sold fake VIP tickets to exclusive events like the Met Gala, Burning Man and Coachella. In one case, two customers flew from Florida to New York for the Grammy Awards, only to be turned away at the door.
Those looking for an explanation will be disappointed.
He tells Harbinger: ‘This took me the longest to be truthful to myself about what really happened. I think I was just in denial for so long that I could have possibly followed up such a f***** up event with another mistake, especially while being out on bail.’
He added: ‘I was desperate and thought I could dig myself out of the hole.’
‘Forced distance is the harshest punishment,’ he said, when talking to DailyMail.com about the most difficult part of prison.
‘The whole concept of human connection really dawns on you when you’re essentially locked in a room and separated from the rest of the world.’
He hopes that people will be entertained with stories regaled in his podcast but says, ‘it all starts with acknowledging that I was wrong, and I violated trust.’
‘I just really need to start from the beginning and go through every step and just kind-of keep it raw and centered and not have an agenda for what’s being told.’