Is there anything more satisfying than watching rich millennials try to make everybody else jealous by posting on social media about the “exclusive” music festival they’re going to in the Bahamas, only to find out that the music festival is basically a giant scam and the festival is only slightly better than a third world country?
Turns out there’s not. And that’s why Hulu and Netflix have both released documentaries this past week about the absolute shitshow that was Fyre Festival. And I can’t get enough of it.
If you don’t remember, Fyre Festival was supposed to be a luxury music festival on a private island in the Bahamas. The promos showed beautiful models, perfect beaches, and promised “the best in food, art, music and adventure.”
And it was basically all a giant scam, ran by another rich millennial named Billy McFarland. McFarland managed to partner up with Ja Rule, and take a lot of money from a lot of people for a music festival that was never going to happen.
Basically, the story goes like this – a rich kid decides to plan a music festival to promote his new artist booking app. He pays a bunch of models and influencers to take pictures and promote the Fyre Festival on their Instagram. He sells tickets to this festival, but when he runs out of money to actually put on the festival, he just keeps offering more “luxury” packages that they don’t actually exist. And eventually, he runs out of money.
Planning for this festival didn’t even start until a couple months before it was supposed to happen. McFarland claimed that they had bought Pablo Escobar’s private island, but it turns out this whole thing was actually going down in what was basically a gravel pit beside a Sandals resort.
The headliners pulled out of the festival at the last minute after not being paid. People in the documentary talk about being at the airport on their way to the festival when Blink 182 announced that they wouldn’t be playing. (Seriously, these people were spending thousands of dollars to fly to the Bahamas to see Blink 182?)
When people started arriving at Fyre Festival, they weren’t greeted by the luxury villas and private chefs they were promised – but by literal FEMA tents and cheese sandwiches. Apparently these people have never been camping before?
The most shocking moment of either documentary is when one of the event producers, a 30-year veteran who’s well-respected in the industry, talks about the time McFarland asked him to suck a customs agent’s dick in order to get the customs agent to allow them to bring water to the festival. AND THIS GUY WAS GOING TO DO IT. (He ended up not having to – the customs agent was a bro and let him take the water and leave what was left of his dignity intact).
It’s fun to laugh and joke about these all the spoiled yuppie kids trying to go a luxury music festival in the Bahamas so they can put it on their Instagram to make their friends jealous, but there were also a lot of people in the Bahamas who were ripped off by this scam too. The workers in the Bahamas are reportedly owed about $250,000 from this disaster, money that they’ll probably never see – at least not from Fyre or McFarland.
Both of these documentaries are absolutely great for anybody who’s sick of this whole social media culture, where people turn to social media personalities to find out what’s hot. The whole point of social media is to give people an outlet to share their own interests – not to look to “influencers” to tell them what their interests should be.
McFarland was eventually sentenced to prison for scamming a lot of people, but not before offering those people tickets to – get this – Fyre Festival 2018.