Welcome to the Dumpster Fyre Podcast

DFP Blog header.jpg

Before we begin, there are two GoFundMe pages to help the people on Great Exuma who worked for Fyre Festival. The GoFundMe for Maryann Rolle had a goal of $123,000 and has now raised over $200,000. A GoFundMe for other members of the community has been started by the Exuma Foundation.

Click here to support The Exuma Foundation for victims of Fyre Festival organized by Exuma Foundation

There has been an overwhelming outpouring of support for Maryann Rolle and the other local Bahamians who shared their stories on the Netflix Fyre documentary. We at the Exuma Foundation were saddened by the unfortunate impacts the Fyre Festival had on the people of Exuma. The Netflix Fyre docum...

It was supposed to be Coachella in the keys, a Burning Man in the Bahamas. Fyre Festival turned out to be a massive dumpster fire. And I was there.

My name is Seth and I tweeted from the island using the satirical character of William Needham Finley IV. Those tweets from @WNFIV went viral and the world watched Fyre burn in real time.

Since returning from the island, co-founder Billy McFarland was sentenced to 6 years in prison, my friend and I were awarded a $5 million judgment (basically an IOU) against McFarland, I unknowingly helped uncover McFarland’s NYC VIP Access scam, and I’m in both the Hulu and Netflix documentaries on the topic.  

As a Fyre expert, I can assure you there is so much more to this story. That’s why I’m starting the Dumpster Fyre Podcast. Through interviews with attendees, producers, and people involved directly with Fyre, I’ll answer the most burning questions about the millennial on millennial crime of the century.

How did Billy McFarland defraud investors out of $27 million dollars? Where did all the money go? What’s the real story behind the dueling documentaries on Hulu and Netflix?  How did Stacy Miller get a $5 million IOU from Billy? I’ll cover everything from the planning notebook to the cheese sandwich and more.

This is the bizarre, inside story of a dumpster fire that just won’t die. Welcome to Dumpster Fyre, it’s gonna be lit.

We don’t have a release date for the podcast yet. Unlike Billy, we’re actually planning the podcast before we launch a supermodel-filled promotional trailer. We’ll keep you updated on the latest news and let you know as soon as we have a date. Contact us if you’d like to share your story.

Below is my recap of the trip, originally posted by William Needham Finley IV on May 10, 2017 on ITBInsider.com

Lord of the Fyres: Tales from a Surfyrevor

I survived the first Fyre Festival. The now infamous festival was supposed to be an event in the Bahamas unlike anything else. Entrepreneur Billy McFarland and Rapper/Actor Ja Rule (The Fast and The Furious) co-founded the festival in late 2016. They began promoting it in December with the help of famous influencers.

Along with this video, the festival's website promoted a $1 million treasure hunt, luxury accommodations on a private island once owned by Pablo Escobar, exquisite cuisine, exclusive experiences like swimming with island pigs, and a music festival with soon to be announced big-name acts. This was clearly the trip of a lifetime. Three friends and I bought tickets during the first week they were on sale. We upgraded to VIP and one friend and I also bought an "Artist Pass" which included your food, drinks, backstage passes, 4 nights on the island, and "exclusive" experiences.

This was my chance to finally become BFFs with all the influencers and celebrities that would be there. I'd played the scenario out a million times in my head leading up to the trip. Emily Ratajkowski, Hailey Baldwin, The Rock, and I would be hanging out backstage looking at pictures of Dogs of ITB.

We would start chatting about how I run a media empire in Raleigh, and they'd all start following me for all my fire #content. The Rock would say, "I loved that story you wrote about how I'd be playing football for NC State next year. Will you be in Fast and Fur9ious? We need someone that drives a Tahoe."

"Thanks, The Rock. I'd love to, if I can fit it in my schedule," I'd say, playing it cool.

We'd spend the rest of the weekend swimming with the pigs and Instagramming until we got carpal tunnel. It was going to be perfect. And then, we got to the island.

As you can see, all of my dreams were crushed when Fyre Festival turned out to be a mashup of Lord of the Flies meets Outbreak meets Locked Up Abroad. My media empire instincts kicked in and I started documenting the event like the Samuel Pepys of Fyre Festival. My coverage was used in pretty much every news story and my Tweets were included in the $100 million class action lawsuit.

You're probably thinking, "This is great for you. You gained thousands of followers and a ton of exposure!" To be clear, I didn't want 15 minutes of global fame. I didn't want over 50 million impressions on Twitter in April. I didn't want to spend weeks doing interviews with the LA Times, People, CNN, the Washington Post, TMZ Live, Time, BBC, NPR, Inside Edition, and dozens of other outlets. Sure, all of those things were great for my #brand, but all I wanted from Fyre Festival was a relaxing vacation and new famous friends.

To show you what we went through, I've provided an in-depth account of exactly what happened. If you enjoy watching train wrecks, you're going to love this.

Thursday, April 27th

12:000 pm - My friends and I had lunch outside of Boynton Beach. It would be our last meal not served in a styrofoam container for the next 24 hours. We left for the Miami airport and arrived with plenty of time for our 4:35 pm flight to Great Exuma.

4:45 pm -ish - We boarded the plane and sat on the runway for about half an hour. We arrived at the island, boarded shuttle buses, and rode for about 15 minutes. That’s when we saw this.

7:51 PM - We realized organization isn't their strong suit.

Co-founder Billy McFarland tells people with a Lodge to "go find a tent". That went well.

The first tent that we claimed.

We returned to where we had been dropped off and asked where our tent was, again.

8:26 pm - Night had fallen. We had no luggage, but managed to find another tent.

8:56 pm - Two of us without luggage split up to hunt for our belongings while our other friends stayed back to guard the tent.

The "white glove concierge luggage service" required you to use your phone flashlight and dig through hundreds of bags to find your own. Maybe this was the treasure hunt they had advertised. I started to help unload a pickup truck full of luggage and just happened to grab my bag. A true Fyre Festival miracle. I dropped my luggage off at our temporary tent and then went to report on what was going on.

I believe this is when we found THE NOTEBOOK. We could devote an entire Dumpster Fyre Podcast episode to this. "Chips?" kills me every time I look at this picture.

The number one thing on the to-do list dated April 14th (13 days before the festival) was “Complete our corporate application to HOPEFULLY start order”. Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.

I'll give credit where credit is due. They did have a stage set up. I don't think there was a DJ at this point. I assume Billy just grabbed the aux cord and started playing his "Lit AF Beach Jams" Spotify playlist on his phone.

I took some food back to our tent, which we were then kicked out of. We walked over to the main area where we had been dropped off and saw that people were getting on buses to leave. My friend went inside the main house and somehow convinced them to put us on a flight out that night. I continued reporting while we waited for a shuttle.

The quaint General Store.

We rode to the airport with about 100 others who were desperate to get off the island.

Friday, April 28th

12:15 am - We were told the plane was on the way and that our flight would be at 1:30 am.

3:47 am - We had been sitting on the plane for over two hours while the crew tried to resolve an issue with the manifest not matching up to the headcount of people on the plane.

Embed Block
Add an embed URL or code. Learn more

4:34 am - The crew asks us to get off the plane so they can check us in one by one.

7:08 am - Locked up abroad. I later learned that locking the doors was standard protocol. Still odd that they use a chain and padlock though.

7:15 am - A girl loudly asks everyone in the airport "who is William Needham?". (See the video below.) They were on to me. I remained silent. She continued, "No really. He's in this room right now. Who is William Finley? He's fucking hilarious." Realizing that they weren't going to sacrifice me to the island, I raised my hand. One girl asked, "Are you always this funny?" I just replied, "I try."

If you recall, I had tweeted at my lawyer Stacy Miller as we boarded the plane (the first time) to leave the island at 1:47 am. He called me at about 7:30 am.

Stacy: Hey man are you ok? What is going on?

Me: I dunno, I haven't slept in over 24 hours. I don't really know how to make sentences.

Stacy: Are you still in the Bahamas?!

Me: I mean, I'm locked in an airport and they say a plane is coming soon, but yeah.

Stacy: Ok, well call me as soon as you land.

If you're exhausted after reading all of that just imagine living through it. I don't ever want to go back to Fyre Festival. I don't ever want to go outside the beltline again. Final verdict: Fyre Festival gets 0 out of 5 beltlines.

Note: Fyre Festival organizers have allowed us to "apply" for a refund. During the application process they asked if we wanted to forgo our refund in exchange for double the number of VIP tickets to next year's event. We all politely declined.

Seth Crossno