Netflix recently rolled in with their take on the Fyre Festival—subtitled “The Greatest Party That Never Happened.” It really could have been, but it never was.
Fyre competes with the Hulu production Fyre Fraud, which most viewers are comparing and contrasting together. However, Netflix’s Fyre prides itself on telling the story and relaying the facts instead of solely stringing together what happened on screen.
In 2017, entrepreneur Billy McFarland and rapper Ja Rule orchestrated what they thought would be the best music festival that has ever hit the industry: the Fyre Festival. The team hired Instagram influencers to market their campaign for the festival, including models like Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner, and Emily Ratajkowski.
The only catch? The festival wasn’t real. Maybe it was real when they had started from scratch, but as their money drained, so did their ideas. After shooting their commercial on the island they had purchased in the Bahamas, better known as being owned by drug pin Pablo Escobar, the festival spread on social media.
Essentially, ticket buyers were purchasing a vacation. Better yet, they were buying a concept, one that spun out so large that its organizers panicked—from start to finish. Why buy tickets to a festival like Coachella or Osheaga when you can be accommodated with music, a villa, and your own personal crew?
These were the things that Fyre employees were promising to the public. The idea of the festival became illusionistic, and, quite frankly, it was too good to be true. This is exactly why millennials emptied their bank accounts to go—because why not buy into a good thing while you can?
The interesting concept that emerges from the documentary is how quickly influencer culture is spreading, and how fast it can get to normal, everyday consumers. To be honest, why not buy your tickets to this festival where sun-soaked models were promising to be on the beach? On Instagram, they’re pretty and boundless, and if you go, maybe you will be too.
By the time organizers realized they were running out of money, the event was not shut down. Although McFarland was a business tycoon, he proved to be difficult to work for. He was pulling funds from all over the place until he couldn’t any longer, but refused to shut the festival down before it started.
The first night, festival goers quickly turned into an angry mob when it turned dark. Being alone on an unknown island, with only disaster tents and barely enough food to make it for the weekend, did not equate to the lifestyle they were promised.
There is a lesson to be learned through watching wealthy kids travel far and wide for this experience. However, Netflix does not zoom in on this. The documentary highlights the worst place that millennials can find themselves in. It asks the questions: how entitled to their money are they, and can they be expected to be scammed by people even richer than they are next time?