Nearly 300 people who paid to attend the infamous Fyre Festival won a $2 million payout in a class-action settlement

Billy McFarland
Fyre Festival founder Billy McFarland.

  • Nearly 300 Fyre Festival ticket holders have won a collective $2 million payout in a class-action settlement.
  • They all paid to go to the infamous 2017 music event, which organizers canceled on the first morning.
  • They will each get $7,220, pending final approval next month.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Ticket holders of the ill-fated Fyre Festival have won $7,220 each in a class-action settlement, the New York Times reported.

The nearly $2 million payout was awarded to 277 ticket holders in US Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York last week, and is waiting for final approval next month.

Fyre Media touted the infamous Bahamas-based music event as the “cultural experience of the decade,” promising 8,000 attendees luxury eco-friendly beach huts and top-tier artists across two weekends in April 2017. But when people arrived, they were shown to disaster relief tents without adequate food, forcing organizers to cancel the event on its first morning.

Billy McFarland, founder and CEO of Fyre Media, pleaded guilty to wire fraud in 2018 and is serving a six-year prison sentence for defrauding more than 100 investors out of $26 million. McFarland sold tickets to customers starting at $1,200, with some packages costing more than $100,000.

Social media influencers including model Kendall Jenner promoted the event – yet it was a single viral tweet about a cold cheese sandwich by attendee Trevor DeHaas that unraveled the scam.

De Haas has now teamed up with rapper and festival co-organizer Ja Rule to sell the rights to the tweet as a non-fungible token.

Ben Meiselas, partner at law firm Geragos & Geragos and representative for ticket holders, said he was happy with Tuesday’s outcome.

“Billy went to jail, ticket holders can get some money back, and some very entertaining documentaries were made,” Meiselas told the Times, referring to the popular Hulu and Netflix films on the debacle. “Now that’s justice.”

McFarland said in a statement to the Times in 2017 that he was “committed to, and working actively to, find a way to make this right, not just for investors but for those who planned to attend.”

Compensation attendees receive may go down depending on the outcome of other bankruptcy cases against festival organizers.

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Billionaires, celebrities, and influencers from Mark Cuban to Lindsay Lohan are joining the NFT craze. Check out what they’ve auctioned.

grimes elon musk
Elon Musk and Grimes attend the Met Gala in 2018.

  • Celebrities from Lindsay Lohan to the NFL’s Rob Gronkowski are jumping in on the NFT craze.
  • More celebrities and influencers are expected to join the space as it grows in popularity.
  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk planned to sell an NFT but later decided against it.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

As the craze for crypto art continues, celebrities, billionaires, and influencers are getting in on the trend and selling some of their own.

NFL player Rob Gronkowski, rapper Ja Rule, Lindsay Lohan, and Mark Cuban, among others, have jumped on board. And Alex Atallah, the cofounder of NFT marketplace OpenSea, told Insider he expects to see even more celebrities joining the space.

NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, have allowed artists to sell their digital work for thousands and even millions of dollars. They’re gaining popularity as NFTs – which are generally digital assets that operate as a type of collector’s item and can’t be duplicated – are now a more than $1 billion market.

As for CEOs, Twitter chief Jack Dorsey sold his very first tweet from 2006 for millions and donated the proceeds to charity. And just this week Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who has been a big promoter of cryptocurrencies, said he would sell a techno song as an NFT. But he later reneged, saying it didn’t feel right. His girlfriend, Grimes, has made millions selling crypto art.

Billionaire and “Shark Tank” star Mark Cuban sold an NFT of a motivational quote, that read, “Nobody ever changed the world by doing what everyone else was doing – Mark Cuban.”

Read more: Influencers are rushing to make money on NFTs using virtual avatars, digital collectibles, and one-off art

As for the music industry, Shawn Mendes teamed up with Genies, which makes 2D avatars, to make virtual versions of his guitar and gold ring and sell them as NFTs, Rolling Stone reported.

Hoping to get rid of bad vibes from his Fyre Festival days, rapper Ja Rule auctioned an oil painting that once hung in Fyre Media’s office as an NFT on a new platform Flipkick, and he offered to sign it for the purchaser.

Flipkick Fyre Fest painting
Flipkick is selling this Fyre Festival painting as an NFT

Other musicians have joined the trend, as well. The Kings of Leon was the first band to sell an entirely new album, titled “When You See Yourself,” as an NFT, Rolling Stone Reported. And in a tweet, DJ Steve Aoki announced his first-ever NFT collection.

In the sports world, Tampa Bay Buccaneer Rob Gronkowski, aka the Gronk, announced on Twitter he’d be launching an NFT collection of his very own. Four pieces of art commemorate his championship wins and one is a career highlight of him, according to his website. Kansas City Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes sold millions of dollars worth of NFTs in just minutes, actionnetwork reported.

As for influencers, Paris Hilton sold a cat painting for $17,000, Decrypt reported. And Lyndsay Lohan sold her “Lightning” NFT for $50,000 and promised to donate the funds to charities that accept cryptocurrency, according to Decrypt.

With a lot of money to be made in NFTs, internet influencers are likely to continue joining the space. So far, YouTube stars like Logan Paul and Zach “ZHC” Hsiehn have already begun experimenting with the trend.

Do you know of more celebrities and influencers who are selling or planning to sell an NFT? Email the reporter of this story at ndailey@insider.com.

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