Update, January 21, 2019: There is one bright spot in the Fyre Fest saga: the GoFundMe campaign for the Rolles, the festival's unpaid caterers, has now raised more than $130,000 of its $123,000 goal. TajLana Stephen, who identified Elvis and Maryann Rolles as their in-laws, wrote on the campaign's page that the couple is "overjoyed and so utterly grateful and very excited to do good things in Exuma."
This post was originally published on January 20, 2019.
The saga of Fyre Fest is full of villains, scams, and more villains. We all know about the hapless festivalgoers who arrived onto an island full of FEMA tents and cheese sandwiches. But there are more unseen victims, and Netflix’s new documentary about the doomed luxury festival shines a light on one: the Rolles. And now, the internet is coming together to recoup the money they lost, thanks to a verified GoFundMe campaign.
Bahamian restaurant owners Elvis and Maryann Rolle were featured in Netflix’s Fyre, which premiered last week. The Rolles catered food for the festival management team, who also stayed at their resort in Exuma Beach. On their fundraiser page, the couple writes that they pushed themselves “to the limits catering no less than a 1,000 meals per day” for the organizers (though, as we come to find out, not much “organizing” actually took place).
Once it became clear that the fest was totally phony, the Rolles continued to provide food, because they are heroes. “I was able to get the breakfast out to them...[The guests] were quite happy...and when the sun set and they had to get into that bus and leave to go to the festival site, that’s when it becomes sour,” she said.
For their hard work, the Rolles were stiffed on their bill. In the documentary, Maryann Rolles estimates that they lost at least $50,000 to the Fyre Fest team, which she said came out of their own savings account. She started the GoFundMe in an attempt to recoup back some of that money, now that the documentary is proving them with publicity. “As I make this plea it’s hard to believe and embarrassing to admit that I was not paid…I was left in a big hole! My life was changed forever, and my credit was ruined by Fyre Fest,” Rolles wrote on their fundraising page.
Their GoFundMe asks for $123,000, to cover the additional expenses incurred for services provided after it was clear that Fyre Fest was not happening. As of publication, more than $83,000 has been raised. If Billy McFarland won’t pay his vendors, at least the internet can donate funds for this cause.