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The Real Fyre Festival Victims Were The People Of The Bahamas

By Sharelle Burt

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In 2017, the infamous Fyre Festival made headlines as one of the greatest music festivals that never happened, but we never got the full backstory. Until now.

Last week, Netflix and Hulu released informative documentaries on what really happened after founders Billy McFarland and Ja Rule bamboozled thousands of ticket holders. The luxury festival was supposed to take place in Great Exuma, a private island in the Bahamas, where elite influencers, young entrepreneurs, supermodels and more would be living the life while jamming to some of today’s hottest bands. McFarland and his team hired tons of local workers to pull this off. When the idea failed miserably, some of his crew were left to fend for themselves, leaving them with almost nothing.

One of those people highlighted in the Netflix documentary, titled Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened, was Bahamian restaurant owner Maryann Rolle. She was the one that hosted hundreds of Instagram influencers and ticket holders at her spot, Exuma Point Bar and Grille, when they landed on the island and had nowhere to go. Rolle claimed that she had to use $50,000 of her life savings just to pay her staff.

“I had 10 persons working for me just preparing food all day and all night, 24 hours,” Rolle said in the documentary. “I literally had to pay all those people… I went through about $50,000 of my savings that I could’ve had for a rainy day. They just wiped it out and never looked back.”

RELATED: Nassau, Bahamas Off The Beaten Path: From A Local’s Perspective

Viewers were disgusted by how everything went down and tweeted about how they felt.


Donations have been pouring in from all over for Rolle and her husband, cleaning up some of what the Fyre team left behind. A GoFundMe page was set up with a goal of raising $123,000. To date, the page has exceeded its goals and raised $161,962.00. After the film aired and Twitter got wind of it, Ja Rule decided to post on Instagram, sharing his deepest sympathy about what happened to Rolle and others affected by his disaster of an event.

More than eight lawsuits have been filed against McFarland and his team, totaling close to $100 million in damages. As for the master scammer, McFarland was sentenced to six years in federal prison for wire fraud and issuing fake documents to get $26 million from investors.

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