Music Festivals That Ended Up Being Scams
It seems like more and more music festivals end up being total scams. Plenty are poorly organized or don’t fully deliver on their promises, but these festivals organizers ended up being full-blown scammers who had past fraud charges or would receive fraud charges for their festivals.
Of course, Billy McFarland is the poster child for music festival scams. Fyre Festival turned into one of the most infamous stories of 2017, with both Netflix and Hulu making documentaries about the failed festival turned fraud. After forcing attendees to camp out in FEMA tents and feeding them cheese sandwiches, McFarland pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud and ultimately served four years in prison.
The 2018 XO Festival was canceled before it turned into another Fyre Fest, but not before a ton of shady stuff went down. Promoter Sami Habab (aka Habibullah Said Qadir) and his brother Mohammed were arrested that same year for a housing fraud scam, and as for the XO Festival, announced acts like Ludacris and T.I. seemed to have never been booked for the fest, as they already had shows in other cities the day of their supposed sets.
In 2019, a Belgian festival called VestiVille canceled the entire fest on the morning it was scheduled to begin. The result? A small riot. The organizers were soon charged with fraud. Hilariously, Fyre Fest alum Ja Rule was scheduled to perform at VestiVille. Perhaps it was destined to be a scam all along.
See more music festivals that ended up being scams in the Loud List below.