WRITTEN BY: Chad Gelfand
Last week two documentaries Hulu’s Fyre Fraud and Netflix’s Fyre: The Greatest Party
That Never Happened, respectively, debuted covering the story of the universally panned Fyre Festival. The two documentaries pushed the event back into the news stream and started conversations about the happenings in and around the festival.
The festival was the brainchild of 25-year-old entrepreneur Billy McFarland and rapper
Ja Rule. Big dreams quickly turned into a massive nightmare when after an initially well
received social media marketing campaign, including a lavish commercial shot in the Bahamas featuring some of the top models in the world such as Bella Hadid and Emily Ratajkowski.
McFarland was trying to sell the grandiose idea of a music festival in the Bahamas, and
the vacation of a lifetime with pricey beachfront villas to go home to at night. The main problem though was McFarland wanted too much too soon. From the inception of the idea in October 2016 to the actual concert in May 2017, there were only six months of planning involved, not nearly enough for a festival of that scale.
Inevitably money and time constraints were the major issues involved with the festival.
Just a few months out from the festival McFarland and his team were low on funds and trying to secure more investments. On top of that construction on the festival site was not nearly finished.
A former Fyre Festival producer told The Cut that:
“This was a development lot covered in gravel with a few tractors scattered around. There was not enough space to build all the tents and green rooms they would need. There was not a long, beautiful beach populated by swimming pigs. There were, however, a lot of sand flies that left me looking like I had smallpox.”
There have been many questions, and people put under fire for the failure of Fyre
Festival, Billy McFarland received six years in jail. In the aftermath of the two documentaries, one person who seemingly escaped backlash until recently was McFarland’s co-founder of Fyre Festival, Ja Rule.
Ja Rule has stated that he was also a victim of the “Fyre Fraud,” tweeting “I too was
hustled, scammed, bamboozled, hoodwinked, lead astray!!!” However, in the Netflix
documentary Ja Rule said that the issue of the festival was “false advertising,’ not ‘fraud.”
Indicating that he at least was aware that the festival would not live up to expectations.
Fyre Festival was an ambitious event that was hampered by short-sightedness and trying
to cut corners. The disaster that was the festival has proven though to be an intriguing story prompting the creation of not one but two documentaries.