How to Help the Restaurant Owner Affected by Fyre Festival

Screenshot: FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened (Netflix)

Fyre Festival, the infamous music festival that never actually took place, left several communities of locals in the Bahamas affected, including restaurant owner Maryann Rolle.

In Netflix’s Fyre Festival documentary (one of two recent takes on the debacle; the other is a longer series on Hulu), Rolle explained how she and her staff at Exuma Point Resort catered several meals to festival staff around the clock and housed some of them at the hotel, too; They were left unpaid after its cancellation.

Rolle said she used $50,000 of her personal savings to help pay some of her costs, including employee wages. Since the film’s release, an outpouring of support has inundated social media and Rolle has now set up a GoFundMe campaign to recoup some of her costs.

“As I make this plea it’s hard to believe and embarrassing to admit that I was not paid,” Rolle wrote on the campaign’s page. “I was left in a big hole! My life was changed forever, and my credit was ruined by Fyre Fest. My only resource today is to appeal for help. There is an old saying that goes ‘bad publicity is better than no publicity’ and I pray that whoever reads this plea is able to assist.”

In just over a week, the campaign has already raised over $160,000, surpassing its original goal of $123,000 (though, given several weeks of preparation for the festival, it could only be a drop in the bucket of her overall expenses). The campaign is still accepting donations if you want to help Rolle out.

“This has been an incredible outpouring of support for the workers affected by the Fyre festival,” A GoFundMe spokesperson told Buzzfeed News. “As ever, we’ll be working with the organisers and beneficiaries to make sure the money gets to the right place.”

Chris Smith, the documentary’s director, has also confirmed to Buzzfeed News that he is now actively seeking to create a campaign in support of the Bahamian workers, seen throughout the film, who are owed at least $250,000 in unpaid wages.

Since the film’s release, Ja Rule, one of the co-founders of Fyre Festival, has written a public apology on Instagram to Rolle, who has no known Instagram account. “My heart goes out to this lovely lady,” he wrote in the caption. “MaryAnne Rolle we’ve never met but I’m devastated that something that was meant to be amazing, turn out to be such a disaster and hurt so many ppl … SORRY to anyone who has been negatively effected [sic] by the festival…”

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