What Happened To All The Unpaid Workers Who Built The Fyre Festival?

Netflix's Fyre festival documentary has been released to rave reviews but fans have been particularly disturbed by one element more than any other: what happened to all the unpaid Bahamian workers who built and serviced the festival?

The infamous music festival, organised by Billy McFarland and rapper Ja Rule in 2017, promised attendees luxurious, star-studded accommodation and was promoted by supermodels and A-listers including Emily Ratajkowski, Bella Hadid and Hayley Baldwin.

But when guests, some of whom shelled out £3,000 for a ticket, arrived, they were met with a lack of basic facilities such as running water, with guests complaining about the standards of food and drink. The entire festival was eventually called off.

After the festival's collapse, local newspaper Tribune242 reported that Bahamian vendors and workers who are owed thousands of dollars would likely get "nothing", according to Tourism Minister Dionisio D'Aguilar.

When asked about the fate of unpaid workers and vendors, he said: "Probably nothing, sadly it will probably be nothing. I don't want to be harsh but unfortunately that's one of the risks businesses take."

Meanwhile, concerned viewers of the Netflix documentary clubbed together to raise more than £100,000 for a caterer who was left out of pocket after collapse of the disastrous music festival.

Viewers were struck by the story of local caterer Maryann Rolle, who owns the Exuma Point restaurant in The Bahamas. Maryann was hired to provide food for the infamous festival - spending around £40,000 on staff and supplies - but she was left unpaid when the luxury music event unravelled.

Viewers were struck by the story of local caterer Maryann Rolle. Credit: Netflix
Viewers were struck by the story of local caterer Maryann Rolle. Credit: Netflix

Speaking in the documentary, an obviously distressed Rolle said: "I had ten people working with me directly. They were just preparing food all day and all night, 24 hours. I had to pay all those people. I went through about $50,000 of my savings that I could have had. They just wiped it out, and never looked back."

But it hasn't been a total disaster for the island, some residents insist.

"It didn't affect my tourism - I was up 25 per cent in the last quarter," Kenneth Bowe, owner of Chat N Chill bar and restaurant in George Town, south of the Fyre site, said in a phone interview to Mic.

"Most people never heard of Exuma until [Fyre]. Then they look it up on the internet and they see it's a nice place. All we need for them to do in the press is spell the name right."

Featured Image Credit: Unsplash

Harvey Day

Writer for Pretty52, interested in all sorts of entertainment and lifestyle content. Previously worked at ShortList Magazine and website, the MailOnline and the Birmingham Mail. Contact: harvey.day@pretty52.com

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