Restaurant Owner Scammed by Fyre Fest Is Getting Her Money Back Thanks to a GoFundMe Campaign
Over 5,000 people have chipped in to help a Bahamian couple get their life savings back.
About 21 months after what was supposed to be the greatest weekend social media influencers ever promised to see, the Fyre Festival has returned to the public spotlight thanks to two competing documentaries — one on Hulu, one on Netflix — about the now-notorious event. But though for the average viewer, these docs have served as little more than an opportunity to gawk at the historical remnants of a viral disaster, for the owner of a restaurant in the Bahamas where the Fyre Festival attempted to take place, the streaming flicks could prove to be a different sort of life-changing event.
Thanks to the popularity of the new documentaries, a GoFundMe campaign for Elvis and Maryann Rolle — owners of the Exuma Point Resort who say they lost their life savings after the event didn’t pay its bills — has raised over $160,000 and counting to help the couple out. According to the campaign, which was created by the Maryann Rolle herself, the resort handled catering for the doomed event, and the property was also booked up by organizers. “As I make this plea it’s hard to believe and embarrassing to admit that I was not paid…I was left in a big hole!” the GoFundMe description states. “My life was changed forever, and my credit was ruined by Fyre Fest.”
Maryann Rolle had a similar sentiment when she appeared in Netflix’s Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened. “I had 10 persons working for me just preparing food all day and all night, 24 hours,” she said in the doc according to CNN. “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.”
That appearance may prove to be her and her husband’s saving grace. “There is an old saying that goes ‘bad publicity is better than no publicity’ and I pray that whoever reads this plea is able to assist,” the GoFundMe page says. As of this writing, over 5,300 people have heeded the call in just eight days.
Speaking with CBS News, Rolle estimated the festival owed her over $140,000 that was never paid. “I did it because I wanted the event to be a success,” she explained. “I knew if it was a success they would pay me well. They assured me they would pay me well.” In the end, it looks like she may get her investment back thanks not to a bunch of phony organizers, but instead thanks to the generosity of average people.