NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Maryann Rolle, owner of the Exuma Point Bar and Grille, said yesterday that she is more than overjoyed with the outpouring of “support and love” from the international community, more than a year and a half after she paid $50,000 out of pocket to cater and pay staff during the famously doomed Fyre Festival event in April 2017.
In an interview with Eyewitness News Online, Rolle said while her losses were great, she plans to “touch the lives of many people who are hurting here in The Bahamas” with the $89,348 raised as of yesterday.
“I’m so delighted and happy to see how people throughout the world have sought to listen to my story and were kind enough to sponsor and donate to see my life go up again,” she said.
“I am so delighted and so pleased to see the outpouring of love.
“…The Bible says whatever you give, you receive, and today, I am overjoyed about what is happening. It’s unbelievable.
Rolle, and her husband Elvin, were featured in the Netflix documentary, “Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened” which aired last week.
Festival founder, Bill McFarland, who was sentenced last October to six years in federal prison for fraud, has been labelled a serial fraudster.
McFarland admitted to defrauding lenders out of $26 million, for what was sold to investors and guests as the “cultural experience of the decade”.
He also admitted to selling more than $100,000 worth of fake tickets to exclusive events while on bail pending trial for the Fyre Festival scam.
In the documentary, Rolle described her experience, preparing food all day and night for the Fyre Festival management team, who also stayed at her resort in Exuma Beach.
She also paid her staff of 10 out of pocket, but was never reimbursed or paid for her services.
As a result of the loss, Rolle failed to meet the payments on several cottages she began building several years ago to expand her business.
“I thought everyone had forgotten me; and there was no one who cared in the world anymore,” Rolle told Eyewitness News Online.
“After feeding thousands of people, I said someone should remember the food; someone should remember the good, kind deed, and the hard work, and thought about me here in Exuma.
“Through God’s mercy, I can feel a ray of hope,” she said.
“Thanks to the work at large and to the people of The Bahamas, and to God who saw it fit to touch the hearts of people to feed us love.”
The Go Fund Me account was launched last Monday.
Asked what she plans to do with the funds raised, Rolle said, “I really would like to [give] my 10 per cent to God, and sort of bless some people who have been really helpful to me in all of this, and my staff who worked very hard and believed in me, and hung with me through thick and thin.
“Although I made the terrible mistake, they never gave up on me.
“I just want to bless a few people and sow into the lives of a few people, so it can reap more benefit. I believe if you sow, you will reap. Today is a good example for me. I really want to touch the lives of many people who are hurting here in The Bahamas.”
Her husband, Elvin, said he was surprised by the overwhelming show of support and thanked all donators.
“It means a lot because we lost a lot, and we tried to get something back and we just thank God for everything,” he said. “We are grateful for what Bahamians and the international community has done for us.”
On the Go Fund Me Page, which was launched by Miami-resident Pamela Carter on the Rolle’s behalf, the long-time restaurateur said, “It has been an unforgettable experience catering to organizers of Fyre Festival.
“Back in April, I pushed myself to the limits catering no less than a 1000 meals per day.
“Breakfast, lunch and dinner were all prepared and delivered by Exuma Point to Coco Plum Beach, and Roker’s Point where the main events were scheduled to take place.
“Organizers would also visit my Exuma Point location to enjoy the prepared meals.
“Fyre Fest organizers were also checked into all the rooms at Exuma Point.
“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.
“My only resource today is to appeal for help.”
Yesterday, Rolle said Carter, whom she described as a hero, has been a pillar of strength and someone who continued to believe in her.
She added, “I looked at this situation and I saw it as a failure, but there were people who still believed in me, and knew I would bounce out of it.”