Raleigh man featured in new Netflix, Hulu documentaries about the 2017 Fyre Festival

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A Raleigh man who won part of a lawsuit against the founder of the infamous Fyre Festival is featured in two new documentaries about the event.

Seth Crossno is in Hulu’s “Fyre Fraud,” which was released on Monday, and in Netflix’s “Fyre,” which was released Friday.

“The whole process was really fascinating to see how everything works behind the scenes,” said Crossno.

Crossno is known in Raleigh for his satirical website ITB Insider. He SAID he planned to attend the 2017 Fyre Festival to document it as his internet persona William Needham Finley IV.

“The character was going to be the most influential influencer, and go on this island with all these people who were actually famous. I thought it would be really funny to go write about it and go post about it on social media,” said Crossno.

The Fyre Festival was billed as a luxury music festival that would give attendees the chance to rub elbows with celebrities and influencers on the island of Great Exuma in the Bahamas. Guests paid thousands of dollars for private villas and gourmet meals.

However, they arrived to find disaster style tents, mattresses, and cheese sandwiches.

“Right when you get to the site of the festival and you see the trailers, cargo containers, the Amazon boxes, mattress and tents, you’re like, ‘this isn’t what we signed up for,'” Crossno said.

Crossno said his plans of chronicling the glamorous weekend turned into reporting on the chaos.   Despite the number of social media users at the festival, Crossno says he captured some of the only video and photos of the vacation turned nightmare.  

His tweets gained the attention of national media outlets and were heavily used in reports about the failed festival.

In late 2017, Crossno said Netflix and then Hulu reached out to him. Crossno agreed to license his footage to both companies. He sat down with filmmakers for interviews in summer 2018. 

Crossno said he worked more on the Netflix documentary.

“The Hulu one focused more on the influencer side of things kind of unnecessarily,” he said. 

“I think they didn’t really cover much of what happened at the festival because they didn’t really interview anybody on the ground. The Netflix documentary had the planners telling you everything that happened and step by step why this happened, when this happened and how the whole thing happened,” Crossno said.

The failed festival was organized by Billy McFarland and rapper Ja Rule.

Crossno said initially he was just interested in getting his money back, but a lawyer determined he and a friend had a strong enough case for a lawsuit against McFarland.

Last year a judge awarded Crossno part of a $5 million settlement, although Crossno said he has yet to see a cent from McFarland.

“It will probably take years,” said Crossno.

McFarland was sentenced to six years in federal prison for fraud relating the Fyre Festival.

Crossno feels neither the Netflix nor the Hulu documentaries had the time to “go over the length Billy went to do defraud people.” 

He plans of digging deeper into McFarland’s businesses and finances on his podcast “Dumpster Fyre.”

Crossno said he also hopes to obtain the trademark for Fyre Festival, with the goal of holding a music festival to raise money for people defrauded by McFarland in the Bahamas.

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