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March 8, 2018: Fyre Festival Organizer Pleads Guilty to Fraud, Concert Venue Sues Migos Over Riot, Miami's Winter Music Conference Is Probably Ending

By Ian Zelaya March 8, 2018, 8:39 AM EST


1. FYRE FESTIVAL ORGANIZER PLEADS GUILTY TO FRAUD: Billy McFarland, the organizer of last year’s disastrous Fyre Festival in the Bahamas, has pled guilty to two counts of wire fraud. The New York Times: “On Tuesday afternoon the festival’s main organizer, William McFarland, pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud related to the festival and to his media company that prosecutors said had cost investors $26 million in losses. He told the judge, Naomi Reice Buchwald, of Federal District Court in Manhattan, that he had begun organizing the festival with good intentions but had ‘greatly underestimated the resources’ it would take. Mr. McFarland, who has been free on bail, left the courthouse after his appearance without making any further statements. Federal prosecutors began investigating soon after the festival collapsed and concluded that Mr. McFarland had defrauded investors in Fyre Media as well as a subsidiary that had promoted the music festival. Charging documents filed by prosecutors said that Mr. McFarland, 26, had provided investors with false financial reports, including one that listed millions of dollars in talent-booking revenue for Fyre Media. In reality, the documents said, the company had earned only about $57,000 in bookings in the year leading up to the festival. … Both counts that Mr. McFarland pleaded guilty to carry maximum penalties of 20 years in prison, though a sentence of that length seems unlikely. His sentencing is scheduled for June 21.” http://nyti.ms/2FB9i2q

2. CONCERT VENUE SUES MIGOS OVER RIOT: A venue in Albany is suing rap trio Migos after the group’s 2015 concert ended in a riot. Page Six: “On Monday, Albany Basketball & Sports Corporation, owners of the Washington Avenue Armory, filed suit against the rap trio accusing them of inciting a violent riot, according to court docs. The suit alleges that during the early hours of March 7, 2015, the group—which consists of Quavo, Takeoff and Offset—‘caused a riot’ at the venue that ‘caused patrons to be stabbed, robbed, beaten, severely harmed and injured as the defendants continued to incite a select group of individuals to continue the onslaught of attacks, assaults and destruction of the premises.’ The venue’s owners also claim that Migos skipped an agreed-upon meet-and-greet and showed up hours late for the show, which was supposed to start at 9 p.m. When they did arrive, they were accompanied by ‘an entourage that appeared intoxicated, wreaked of marijuana and reportedly under the influence of other controlled substances.’ … The venue owners are seeking damages, claiming that the fight, and resulting publicity, caused it to lose its liquor license and incur costs because of damaged property and shows they were forced to cancel.” http://pge.sx/2D4vhJR

3. MIAMI'S WINTER MUSIC CONFERENCE IS PROBABLY ENDING: Overshadowed by music events such as Miami Music Week and Ultra Music Festival, Miami's Winter Music Conference has probably ended after 32 years. The annual event hasn't updated its website or tweeted since August 2017. Billboard: ”Miami New Times reports that co-founder Bill Kelly commented only that WMC has a 'major announcement' coming, but would give no further details. Billboard Dance has reached out to Kelly for comment. If you've ever enjoyed Ultra Music Festival or the so-called Miami Music Week celebrations, you should know that everything it can all be traced back to Winter Music Conference. The annual celebration and industry conference helped put south Florida on the international map. Founded in 1985 by Bill Kelly and Louis Possenti, WMC was one of the first industry gatherings in the dance music scene, luring DJs, agents, label executives, managers, tech developers and partiers to the warm, sandy beaches of Fort Lauderdale, and soon Miami, during a time when most of them were stuck in snow. There were keynote lectures, product demos, record swaps and networking opportunities galore. Soon, WMC started organizing parties for DJs to share their new music and break new sounds. Eventually, those parties began to overshadow the conference itself, and third-party promoters started scheduling their own functions and label showcases during WMC week in March. In 1999, Ultra Music Festival used WMC as the perfect excuse to throw a dance music festival on the beach. UMF grew in the shadow of its parent celebration, and always coincided with the end of the Conference week, but in 2011, WMC announced its dates in mid March, while Ultra Festival kept its previously announced dates at the end of the month. It rebranded the week full of UMF and outsider parties as 'Miami Music Week,' and there the divide grew." http://bit.ly/2oZu2Xn

* LOCAL NEWS *

AUSTIN:  Fairmont Hotels & Resorts debuted Fairmont Austin on Monday. The hotel brand’s second largest hotel in the world has 1,048 guest rooms, five restaurants and bars, and 140,000 square feet of meeting and event space. 

DALLAS/FORT WORTH:  The ninth annual Rock ‘n’ Roll Dallas Half Marathon will take place March 24-25. Toyota is the event's title partner. 

LOS ANGELES:  The American Cancer Society, Fight Colorectal Cancer, and the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable will kick off Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month with an event today at Smashbox Studios.

The Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association's Beastly Ball will take place May 19 at the L.A. Zoo.

For information on upcoming events in Los Angeles, visit Masterplanner: http://www.masterplanneronline.com/losangeles

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  Fontainebleau Miami Beach has hired four new members to its sales and marketing team: Luz Orbaiz and Christine Sahakians have been named directors of national accounts, Nerissa Edwards has been named national sales manager, and Jacqueline Gomez has been named executive meetings manager. 

NEW YORK:  The 49th NYC Pride March will take place June 24. This year’s march has changed its route to reduce the overall time of the march and wait times for the more than 350 marching groups. The march will kick off at 16th Street and Seventh Avenue and end at 29th Street and Fifth Avenue. Billie Jean King, Lambda Legal, Tyler Ford, and Kenita Placide will be this year’s grand marshals. 

For information on upcoming events in New York, visit Masterplanner: http://www.masterplanneronline.com/newyork

QUEBEC CITY:  The 51st season of Festival d'été de Québec will take place July 5-15 at 10 indoor and outdoor music venues. Headliners will include Neil Young, Lorde, Beck, Cyndi Lauper, the Weeknd, and Shawn Mendes. 

SEATTLE:  Cort Party Rental has acquired Seattle-based Choice Linens. 

YOUR NEWS: What are you doing? Tell us: tips@bizbash.com

JOB BOARD: Post a job or find a job: http://jobs.bizbash.com

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

BizBash Daily is the must-read digest of event industry news from BizBash.com.

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