July 27, 2018: Fyre Festival Organizer Pleads Guilty to Ticket-Selling Scam, Iceland Music Festival Becomes First to Book 50 Percent Female Acts, These New Hotel Concepts Might Give Airbnb Competition

By Ian Zelaya July 27, 2018, 9:29 AM EDT

1. FYRE FESTIVAL ORGANIZER PLEADS GUILTY TO TICKET-SELLING SCAM: Billy McFarland, the organizer of the Fyre Festival who was charged with wire fraud for last year's disastrous event, pleaded guilty to a new set of charges related to fraudulent tickets he sold while out on bail. McFarland, 26, was charged Thursday with selling fraudulent tickets to major events, including Coachella and the Super Bowl. NBC News: “Billy McFarland had already pleaded guilty in March to wire fraud charges relating to his failed April 2017 music festival in the Bahamas, a low-budget fiasco which proved to be nothing like the blow-out he and some social media influencers were promoting online. The event cost investors over $26 million. These new charges and pleas—one count of bank fraud, one count of wire fraud, and one count of making false statements—relate to a separate con that McFarland was running around the same time as the Fyre Fesitval, selling phony tickets to fashion, music, and sports events, according to a statement from Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman. McFarland was able to get about $150,000 in fake ticket sales as part of this scam. 'These customers later learned that the tickets didn’t exist, and that this was just another fraud in McFarland’s disturbing pattern of deception,' Berman said. 'McFarland’s fraudulent schemes cost real people real money, and now he faces real time in federal prison for his crimes.' Combined, his charges could lead to a maximum of 115 years in prison, but his plea deal calls for 11 to 14 years. McFarland is set to be sentenced in September."

2. ICELAND MUSIC FESTIVAL BECOMES FIRST TO BOOK 50 PERCENT FEMALE ACTS: Music festivals across the globe are feeling the pressure to book more female acts—and one festival in Iceland became the first to announce a lineup in which half of the acts are women. The New York Times: “Iceland Airwaves, the country’s answer to South By Southwest, is one of 109 festivals that signed up in September to a global initiative called Keychange that aims to address gender inequality at such events. The festivals, which include one of Sweden’s largest, Way Out West, and the BBC Proms, which describes itself as the world’s largest classical music event, agreed to aim for gender parity by 2022. The pledge came after years of complaints about the gender gap at festivals. Social media users have manipulated the posters of major festivals such as Coachella to show how few women were playing. None of the world’s largest pop festivals—like Glastonbury in Britain and Roskilde in Denmark—signed up to the target, although some are supporting the campaign financially. ‘We still have another round of acts to announce, but we’ll be over 50 percent,’ Will Larnach-Jones, Iceland Airwaves’ head of operations, said in a telephone interview. Female acts already scheduled to play the event, which runs from Nov. 7 to Nov. 10, include the acclaimed electronic act Fever Ray and the American singer-songwriter Soccer Mommy, he said. … Iceland Airwaves, however, has an easier job than other festivals, Mr. Larnach-Jones said. It is dedicated to new music, of all genres, whereas large festivals need established star names, meaning they have fewer women to choose from. But all festivals should be doing something positive on gender, he said. Only four of the 24 acts that played Glastonbury’s main stage last year were female stars or female-fronted bands, while the pop star Dua Lipa was the only woman among Roskilde’s nine headline acts this year. In January, social media users in Britain highlighted the disparity at the urban music festival Wireless, where a 40-strong initial lineup included only three women.”

3. THESE NEW HOTEL CONCEPTS MIGHT GIVE AIRBNB COMPETITION: A new hotel hybrid concept that combines both the features of boutique hotels and apartments—also known as boutique apart-hotels—might give Airbnb some competition in the hospitality industry. Bloomberg: “These kinds of accommodations generally bring to mind the budget-driven, ultra-generic extended-stay hotel typified by Homewood Suites or Residence Inn or sterile corporate housing. But this isn’t that: Boutique apart-hotels are geared toward project-based travelers who’d typically book shorter stays at stylish boltholes such as Hoxton or Soho House. At such properties, you’ll get three times the square footage, functional kitchenettes, and comfortable living spaces, plus contemporary design throughout—all for the same T&E-approved price as that of a mid-range hotel or an Airbnb down the street. If Airbnb is the biggest threat for most hoteliers—due to its value, perceived authenticity, and scale—apart-hotel owners say the opposite. 'Airbnb is the best thing that could have happened to us,' said Eric Jafari, who introduced the concept in the United Kingdom with his budding brand, Locke. Larry Korman, president of U.S.-based apart-hotel brand AKA agrees. 'Airbnb opened up this idea that there could be some advantages to a residence versus a room,' he said. ... The premise is gaining wider traction. The most recent report from hospitality data insights company STR, published in July 2016, showed that 46.5 percent of Airbnb guests were booking 'long-term stays' of seven nights or more. And while only 9 percent of hotel bookings in the U.S. were attributed to extended-stay brands, these hotels showed a 5 percent growth in the same period."


CHICAGO:  Palmer House will host the inaugural Palmer Palooza July 30-August 3. The event at the Hilton Hotel property will feature live music performances from local bands, live magic shows, express massages, and complimentary food and beverage tastings. 

DALLAS/FORT WORTH:  The Amon Carter Museum of American Art will begin a renovation in 2018, which is slated to complete in summer 2019. The renovations will take place in the museum’s upstairs galleries and areas and will add increased accessibility to the main entrance of the building and plaza. 

LOS ANGELES:  Yara Shahidi, Ellen Pompeo, Max Mutchnick, and David Kohan will be honored at the 2018 GLSEN Respect Awards, taking place October 19 at the Beverly Wilshire.

Vintage Grocers has named chef Rémi Lauvand its new culinary director. 

For information on upcoming events in Los Angeles, visit Masterplanner:

NEW YORK:  The fourth annual Fast Company Innovation Festival will take place October 22-26 at 92nd Street Y and Convene. 

The Breast Cancer Research Foundation’s symposium and award luncheon will take place October 25 at the New York Hilton Midtown. The event will honor Mary Dillon with the Sandra Taub Humanitarian Award and Hedvig Hricak with the Jill Rose Award. 

Heritage of Pride, the organizers of the New York City Pride March, have released a survey asking attendees what can be improved for WorldPride in 2019. AM New York:

Group Nine Media, the owner of digital media brands Thrillist, the Dodo, Seeker, and NowThis, has appointed Rachel Baumgarten executive vice president of marketing. 

For information on upcoming events in New York, visit Masterplanner:

TORONTO:  The Tim Hortons Southside Shuffle will take place September 7-9 at Port Credit Memorial Park in Mississauga. The event will feature more than 150 Canadian and international blues, jazz, and R&B acts. 

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With contributions from Claire Hoffman in Los Angeles and Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, Ian Zelaya, and Kristine Liao in New York.

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