She was left without pay and a massive bill after a failed music festival, but things have dramatically turned around for Maryann Rolle. The Bahamian caterer was hired by the now-infamous Fyre Festival to cater the event, but when things went sour, Rolle was stuck dealing with the fallout. Now, a new GoFundMe campaign is helping Rolle rebuild her life in the wake of the disastrous Fyre Festival.
Fyre Festival has been in the news a lot recently, and it’s easy to see why: Hulu and Netflix both released documentaries on the nightmarish event within days of each other. Fyre Festival was meant to be a weekend of sun, fun, and great music in the Bahamas. Unfortunately, poor planning and outright negligence quickly changed the tune of the festival.
Patrons — some who had shelled out hundreds of thousands of dollars for exclusive flights, villas, and A-list entertainment — found themselves sleeping in tents in the pouring rain with nowhere to store their stuff and no way to get home. Almost all of the celebrities who said they’d be there canceled, and the event proved to be an epic disaster for all involved.
Rolle, who co-owns Exuma Point Bar and Grille, spent the hectic festival cooking thousands of meals every day without pay, only to learn at the end that founders Ja Rule and Bill McFarland were nowhere to be found. With no help to be found and plenty of workers who had been struggling to keep the event afloat, Rolle dipped into her own savings to pay everyone off.
Rolle estimates that beyond the $140,000 she was owed by Fyre Festival officials for her work, which included finding lodgings for so-called VIP guests, she contributed $50,000 of her own money to pay off workers. With her financial situation growing dire and attention from the documentaries raising awareness about the Fyre Island debacle, she decided to turn the situation around.
Rolle set up a GoFundMe page following the release of the Netflix film and was immediately surprised by how quickly donations came in. In just a little over a week, the GoFundMe has already reached $164,403 — and that number continues to steadily rise.
In an interview with CBS MoneyWatch, Rolle explains that she kept working even as things began to fall apart because she had hoped it would help the people of the island in the long run and bolster the local economy.
“I did it because I wanted the event to be a success,” she said during the interview. “I knew if it was a success they would pay me well. They assured me they would pay me well.”
Among the highest donations are a whopping $20,000 from Elliot Tebele. Tebele is best known for Jerry Media, the company that did the promotional work for Fyre Festival. Another $10,000 came directly from the company itself. Tebele explained his donation on Twitter and urged others involved with the event to do so as well.
“Just gave every dollar my agency earned from the Fyre Festival back to the go fund me. Others should do the same.”