Heyo, NIghtrider here with a question for you: have you ever heard of the Fyre Festival? I haven’t until Netflix and Hulu came out with their own documentaries: Netflix’s Fyre and Hulu’s Fyre Fraud. Hulu came out with Fyre Fraud on 14 January 2019 while Netflix posted Fyre on 18 January 2019.
In simplest terms, both documentaries focus on the fast rise and fast fall of Billy McFarland. McFarland was the founder of the notorious Fyre Media Inc. where he promoted his equally notorious Fyre Media App with rapper Ja Rule; the promotion paved the way to the cultural failure that is the Fyre Festival that took place on 27 April 2017. After the “festival,” we see the terrible aftermath of the local Bahamians as well as the people involved with Fyre.
I watched Fyre first. The doc was informative and showed the promise of what social influence can do to people. The focus, however, was on the reality of the situations that led to Fyre Festival and its aftermath. Billy was a promising young millennial with money, parties and a powerful startup card company for millennials; he called it Magnises. Magnises was to be a black card to give millennials luxurious perks for being a member (e.g., access to exclusive clubs to meet the most significant influencers and celebrities, special tickets to exclusive events, meet and connect with wealthy millennials in an awesome hangout place). Fyre shows the viewer how McFarland made Fyre Media, the Fire Media App and his association with Ja Rule led to Fyre Festival. It also shows the disaster and aftermath of Fyre Festival. There was one instance where Andy King, the event’s producer McFarland hired for his 30-year experience, was about to perform oral sex to a customs officer to convince him to release bottled water to give to the stranded millennials; the customs water didn’t force King to do so and released the water on a promise that King had to pay a substantial debt later. The disturbing part was that King actually was going to do it for the team. It was a heartbreaker for me when the Bahamians were interviewed and revealed that they were cheated and humiliated.
As for Fyre Fraud, it was a bit more informative and included McFarland himself being interviewed. It was hard to see McFarland as a business genius for millennials because he had an aura of awesome around him that says “Trust me.” But later in the Hulu doc, Billy’s facade breaks in silence when asked about his post-Fyre venture NYC VIP Access and how it was maybe a front to paying off his previous debts that involved Fyre. I enjoyed another moment when Billy tried to prove the questioner wrong by asking him to show proof if Billy ever lied about his business ventures; each claim showed that McFarland was lying, forcing McFarland to ask for a ten-minute personal break. In the end, many people are facing a class action lawsuit while Billy is in jail for wire fraud.
Even though Fyre appears to be more superior to Fyre Fraud, Fyre was co-produced by Jerry Media, the same media promoter that promoted and covered up the Fyre fiasco. That poses some more questions…
Fyre Fraud and Fyre show the dangers of what influencers promote if they don’t do their research and what was the price? Millennials and influencers are the laughing stock of their generation thanks to Fyre Festival while the local Bahamians are still waiting for their promised pay. So I now I ask myself: are we heading to the dystopia that is Logan’s Run a little too quickly?