FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened, one of Netflix’s latest documentaries, brings viewers an interesting behind the scenes look into the infamous failure that was Fyre Festival. Fyre Festival was an over the top music festival that was heavily advertised on all major social media platforms. It was the love child of rapper Ja Rule and young entrepreneur Billy McFarland. The whole point the event was to bring awareness to the duo’s new entertainment app, FYRE. But what the world, as well as the festival’s attendees, would find out is that it was all a scam. It was the lie that rocked social media while gently reminding the world that sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction. 

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You have to give credit where credit is due, Billy McFarland was a textbook hustler. In an age where everyone is glued to their phones, McFarland sought the help of some of the world’s top models and biggest social media influencers (Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski) to hype up the event for months. As if that wasn’t enough McFarland and Ja Rule had a prime location. What’s not appealing about a beautiful, private island that once owned by Pablo Escobar? Even the original line up was promising. On paper the Fyre Festival was in the running for being one of the biggest events of the decade. Let me put in into perspective: Billy McFarland painted such a pretty picture that investors who had put money into Coachella were going out of their way to back out of that to put their money into Fyre. It was a big deal. At first.

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The team hired to put together the event knew from the get go that it was doomed. They knew that there was a good reason why the festival’s social media pages were not posting any updates nor were they answering any of the attendee’s questions. But you can’t blame them since McFarland had the final say in everything. Throughout the film viewers can clearly see that time and time again that every issue began with Billy McFarland. His horrendous management style, eccentric behavior and blatant disregard for the safety of attendees and staff was the downfall of his whole operation. Which prompts the question, was Billy McFarland just a master manipulator or was he just in over his head? And does it really matter? 

He did manage to sell out the event. The prices ranged from day passes that cost $500 to $1,500, and there were VIP packages that included airfare and luxury tent accommodations for $12,000. Who would pay such an exorbitant price? Mainly rich kids living their best lives so they could post it on Instagram.

If you like entertainment with a good shot of schadenfreude, then FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened is the documentary for you. It is funny no matter how you look at it. Comedian Ron Funches puts it perfectly in the clip from Conan that’s included in the trailer and movie, “…if you paid thousands of dollars to go on a trip to see Blink 182, that’s on you. That is Darwinism at its finest.” That being said, it’s also important to remember that McFarland’s actions did result in up to 200 Bahamian locals not getting paid for the grueling hours they put into a project that had unrealistic expectations, little time and hardly any leadership. It has equal parts tragedy as it does comedic elements. 

All in all FYRE is the ideal movie to watch on a lazy Sunday. It’s a roller coaster from start to finish that constantly requires viewers to do a double take and rewind just to confirm they did hear what they thought they heard. It’s bizarre, well made and not a bad way to spend an hour and a half. FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened is currently available on Netflix premiered on January 18th.  Check out the trailer below. 

An exclusive behind the scenes look at the infamous unraveling of the Fyre music festival. Launching globally on Netflix on January 18, 2019. Created by Billy McFarland and rapper Ja Rule, Fyre Festival was promoted as a luxury music festival on a private island in the Bahamas featuring bikini-clad supermodels, A-List musical performances and posh amenities. Guests arrived to discover the reality was far from the promises. Chris Smith, the director behind the Emmy Award Nominated documentary Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond, gives a first-hand look into disastrous crash of Fyre as told by the organizers themselves.

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Fallon Marie Gannon