How Some Fyre Festival Attendees Actually Secured Refunds

by Lia Beck

Nearly two years ago the disaster that was Fyre Festival occurred, and now, there are two documentaries about it. Hulu released Fyre Fraud on Jan. 14, and Netflix is releasing Fyre on Jan. 18. The documentaries answer a lot of questions, but something viewers and non-viewers alike might still be wondering is whether Fyre Festival ticket holders got their money back. After all, some of these people spent thousands of dollars and ended up experiencing a night in a hurricane tent, a night in an airport, or absolutely nothing at all if they didn't make it to the Bahamas before the event was called off.

Soon after Fyre Festival happened (or, "happened"), the organizers told ticket holders they could either get a refund or get tickets to Fyre Festival 2018, as reported by Mic. They also offered a two-for-one deal (or, "deal"). The refund form reportedly read, "Would you prefer to exchange your 2017 ticket(s) for additional 2018 VIP passes, as opposed to receiving a refund? (Ex: If you purchased three passes for 2017 you would receive six total 2018 VIP passes.)"

Obviously, Fyre Festival 2018 didn't happen. The co-creator of the festival and owner of Fyre, a talent booking company, Billy McFarland is currently serving a six-year prison sentence for fraud, per NPR. The other co-creator, Ja Rule, has stood by his vision for the festival. Anyway, it was immediately clear to everyone on the outside that no more Fyre Festivals would ever happen.


But regardless of whether they asked for a refund or more tickets, just because ticketholders filled out form, that doesn't mean they actually got anything in return. Moneyish reported on Jan. 15 that no one at Fyre Festival has been refunded, but that an attendee they spoke with, Dylan Caccamesi, said that he was able to get the money back through his credit card company after he disputed the charge. Similarly, a ticket holder named Shivi Kumar told the New York Times that her bank refunded the money she'd added to her Fyre Festival wristband, which was meant to be used in place of cash at the event.

A $100 million class action lawsuit was filed against the organizers soon after the event. As reported by the Los Angeles Times, it was initiated by ticket holder Daniel Jung, who is represented by celebrity lawyer Mark Geragos. This case has not yet been settled, but two attendees were awarded $5 million in a separate lawsuit in July 2018, according to Vice. The publication reports that one issue is whether imprisoned McFarland, who was also sentenced to $26 million in restitution, has the money. One of the men's lawyers, Stacy Miller, told Vice, "I think there’s going to be a lot of people looking to collect, but we’ll be first."

So, it seems that while some ticket holders were refunded, they got their money back from their banks or credit card companies. Fyre is shut down and McFarland and is prison, but with the class action lawsuit still in play, these documentaries still aren't the last anyone will hear of Fyre Festival.

Editor's note: Bustle Digital Group acquired Mic in late 2018. Mic is a co-producer on Fyre Fraud.