The ITB Insider shares his experience from the now infamous festival.
by Catherine Currin
It’s difficult to avoid the buzz around Fyre Festival, the music festival fiasco hosted by rapper Ja Rule and entrepreneur-turned-fraudster Billy McFarland. In the past week, competing Fyre Festival documentaries were launched on Hulu (Fyre Fraud) and Netflix (Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened), and the momentum around the festival-that-wasn’t is growing. Raleighite and twitter personality Seth Crossno, better known as William Needham Finley IV a.k.a. the ITB Insider, attended the festival and is featured in both documentaries. Since then, his tweets have gone viral, and he’s won a $5 million lawsuit against Billy McFarland, although he has not been paid. Crossno told Vice: “We don’t have 5 million dollars in our pockets. It’s one of those things that could take 20 years, but Stacy’s [Miller] got a strategy for it. Maybe we’ll do a show about how to find Billy’s money.”
Obviously, we needed to hear more. Here’s what Crossno told WALTER.
How did you get involved with Fyre Festival?
A friend of mine had seen it on Instagram. I’m not really the festival type but I thought it would be funny to go as William Needham Finley IV, posing as the ‘wannabe’ influencer. It would also double as a vacation.
How much money did you spend overall on the Festival? Were you paid to post the infamous ‘orange tile’?
I spent $5,000. When you registered, you received an email and the last part of the email stated: “Post this orange tile for a special clue into the million dollar treasure hunt.” Which was pretty brilliant.
When did you realize this wasn’t what you thought?
As soon as you got to the entrance, you realized this was not what was advertised. There were palettes of Amazon boxes and mattresses scattered on the side of the road. I still thought, well, maybe this part isn’t finished and we’ll drive around the corner and it will be better. We got there Thursday and it was supposed to start Friday, so we figured maybe not everything was ready.
One of the problems was that we had the lodge package, advertised as a building with four bedrooms with a living room. It turned out to be two or three tents. We could never find where we were supposed to be. Luckily we got on the shuttle and made it on the last flight out that day.
How did you get involved in both the Hulu and Netflix documentaries?
My footage and tweets are probably the most used evidence from the island because I brought a ton of extra battery chargers. I was one of the few people with a functioning phone. As a result, people have reached out. I’ve licensed to Verizon, Netflix, Hulu, Bravo. I think the documentaries did a great job but it’s hard to tell the whole story. There’s so much more to the story. It’s hard when you’re dealing someone in prison who isn’t honest. There are a lot of facts that aren’t even out there yet.
Were there any redeeming qualities to the festival?
It’s been really interesting to experience being in both of the documentaries, and getting to know lots of different people. The aftermath of it was definitely the silver lining. Seeing these documentaries come out and seeing the outpouring for the people in the Bahamas has been really cool. (There’s a gofundme for the Bahamians at Exuma Point that has raised over $200,000.)
You can get details on the festival and more on Seth Crossno’s Twitter, Instagram and on his website. Find his podcast launching next month here.