Fyre Festival Documentaries

dvsDave

Benevolent Dictator
Administrator
Senior Team
CB Mods
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Jan 31, 2003
Location
DC Metro Area
I have been fascinated by the Fyre Festival since before it even happened. The sheer logistics boggled the mind. How could a remote island support 10,000 people? Water, food, power, housing, travel, all the insane infrastructure and sheer work it takes to pull off a festival.

So, when the Fyre Festival happened in April 2016, it was the most incredible meltdown ever seen in real time. I have made a bit of a hobby to follow the story and I’ve read every article and story that’s come out since. I wanted answers. How were all these people fooled into buying these crazy expensive tickets? Why wasn’t it cancelled when it should have been clear from the start that the timeline wasn’t feasible? In the end, you just look at everything and go…

WTF Happened?

That’s been answered in many articles, stories, and exposés over the last 18 months. But trying to put together the whole picture and get the answers to WHY this was able to happen, WHO was actually pulling the strings, and WTF were they thinking? I knew the WHO, but Billy McFarland didn’t put this together in a vacuum, there were a LOT of people involved, and these two documentaries really helped answer the How and the Why of it all as well.

Not gonna lie, It’s been like Christmas to get these two documentaries within days of each other.

Hulu did a documentary called “Fyre Fraud”, and today Netflix released their documentary, called “Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened”.

I have watched both of them now. Here’s my take on each documentary. In a nutshell, the Hulu documentary is more about Billy McFarland and how he ticks, and Netflix is more about the Fyre Festival itself.

Hulu - Fyre Fraud

First of all, they have been marketing this documentary as actually having an interview with Billy, but there’s almost nothing revealing. The one thing that comes out of the interview that seems to be new is that he makes a claim as to what happened to all the AirBNB style accommodations on the island that they had rented, and I haven’t been able to find anything corroborating that story.

Hulu goes way, way deeper into Billy’s past and how he got to this point. (Although Netflix doesn’t go into as much detail, I think they did a better job of connecting the dots between Billy’s ventures) But Hulu does a much better job of explaining how McFarland has been dishonest his whole career, how he’s morally bankrupt as a person, and gets more into his head.

The Hulu doc is more of a commentary and think piece that examines the cultural significance of the whole debacle. They examine the “millennial culture”, their love of exclusivity to FOMO. I personally thought the whole thing got pretty cringey at times, and if I took a shot every time they said the word “millennials”... I’d be dead. They also wrap the whole package up with odd graphics and weird old-school Apple voice to text at times. It kept pulling me out of the story.

Fire Fraud is a look at HOW they managed to pull the wool over the eyes of so many people and the culture that enabled them to do it. The part they get into least is what it was like to actually try to pull off a festival on an island.

Netflix - Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened

Right off the bat, Netflix gives more specifics about the chaos of actually trying to pull the festival together. They had better interviews with people who were involved. The best advice I heard on the whole thing actually came from their charter pilot, very early on. Seriously. Had they found a way to pull off his idea, it might have actually worked. But, you’ll see what happened to that advice.

Netflix’s doc spends a LOT of time laying out the wild work schedule and the challenges that went into trying to build the festival from scratch. One of the craziest stories is what Billy actually asked a staff member to do to make sure that 4 tankers of water could actually clear customs. Unreal.

Both docs go into what happened afterwards, but Netflix has actual footage of Billy and others scamming people after he had already pled guilty to fraud in federal court!

The part that got me were the interviews at the end of the documentary where numerous Bahamians talk on camera about never being paid for their work. One lady lost $50,000. It’s heartbreaking. The wreckage that Billy left in his wake is staggering. One thing is for sure, no future event will ever take place in Grand Exuma without cash up front for every.single.thing.

Verdict

Both “Fyre Fraud” and “Fyre” are good documentaries and come at the story from different angles. But, for CB users who want the behind-the-scenes glimpse of what led the festival to being a total meltdown, Netflix’s “Fyre” is the one to watch.

If you want to watch both, I would recommend watching the Hulu one first, as they do point out something about the Netflix documentary that's worth noting. Namely, that the main marketing company used by Fyre Festival was also one of the producers of the Netflix documentary.
 
Last edited:

RonK

Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2008
Location
Vermont
Thanks, you've saved me from watching both or fretting that I have Netflix but not Hulu.
Nice reviews, thanks for no spoilers
 

JohnD

Well-Known Member
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Jan 11, 2012
Location
north central OK
Just finished watching Fyre on Netflix. I thought it interesting that they interviewed Luca Sabatini (Unreal-Systems, Miami) , I was hoping they would do a follow up with what happened to the $10M in equipment that was being held by the Bahamian government.
 

dvsDave

Benevolent Dictator
Administrator
Senior Team
CB Mods
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Jan 31, 2003
Location
DC Metro Area
Just finished watching Fyre on Netflix. I thought it interesting that they interviewed Luca Sabatini (Unreal-Systems, Miami) , I was hoping they would do a follow up with what happened to the $10M in equipment that was being held by the Bahamian government.
The equipment was returned to Unreal Systems in July 2017. https://thenassauguardian.com/2017/...lighting-equipment-finally-returned-to-miami/ The article gets it a bit wrong though, the customs and duties were assessed at $390k, the equipment was valued around $10 Million.
 

josh88

Remarkably Tired.
Premium Member
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Jan 26, 2010
Location
Ypsilanti, Michigan
And the Netflix doc had a company called "Jerry Media" as one of the producers, who coincidentally also were producers for the festival. I may watch these tomorrow in the booth while I babysit a symphony lol.
 

Ben Stiegler

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2017
Location
Sf Bay Area
And the Netflix doc had a company called "Jerry Media" as one of the producers, who coincidentally also were producers for the festival. I may watch these tomorrow in the booth while I babysit a symphony lol.
Just mind the patching ... Sibelius would not be amused :>
 

dvsDave

Benevolent Dictator
Administrator
Senior Team
CB Mods
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Jan 31, 2003
Location
DC Metro Area
  • Like
Reactions: RonHebbard

NickVon

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 4, 2009
Location
07003
I watched the Netflix one over the weekend and much like you Dave have been fascinated by the whole debacle. I work as a Maintage A2/Production Assistant to the Main Stage Producer for a "moderate" AnimeNEXT convention on the east cost. Now the convention I think pulls like like 10,000 people across the whole events 2 1/2 days and between 30 things all happening at once. That's a nightmare to organize logistically and they do it at the AC Convention Center....where there is power, water, electricity, internet, food providers, major trade routes, and Major Hotel Accommodations.

I thought the pilots idea was also great, and solves 80% of your "poor" people accommodations. It also solves general necessary needs like water/power/food. Either way very interesting and sad.
 

videographer

Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2017
Location
Madison WI
If you want to watch both, I would recommend watching the Hulu one first, as they do point out something about the Netflix documentary that's worth noting. Namely, that the main marketing company used by Fyre Festival was also one of the producers of the Netflix documentary.
I've seen the Hulu one but not Netflix yet. As a guy whose job it was to shoot documentaries for big parts of the last 35 years, I see that both of them have severe structural flaws. As Dave pointed out, the marketing company was a producer of the Netflix version. <BZZZZZT!> But the Hulu version has a bigger flaw: They *paid* Billy for his interview. Not Done, Kids.

Still interesting viewing, but both are compromised, IMHO.
 

TimMc

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Joined
Feb 15, 2017
I've seen the Hulu one but not Netflix yet. As a guy whose job it was to shoot documentaries for big parts of the last 35 years, I see that both of them have severe structural flaws. As Dave pointed out, the marketing company was a producer of the Netflix version. <BZZZZZT!> But the Hulu version has a bigger flaw: They *paid* Billy for his interview. Not Done, Kids.

Still interesting viewing, but both are compromised, IMHO.
These docs are not documentaries as we know them; they are docs for the Influencer-driven and self-absorbed social media users. The ship of respectability, ethics and professionalism sailed far away from both of these 'movies' before the first camera shot was set up.

Still the sense of schadenfreude is delightfully strong. :discoball:
 

tjrobb

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 14, 2009
Location
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
These docs are not documentaries as we know them; they are docs for the Influencer-driven and self-absorbed social media users. The ship of respectability, ethics and professionalism sailed far away from both of these 'movies' before the first camera shot was set up.

Still the sense of schadenfreude is delightfully strong. :discoball:
Doctor, heal thyself?
 
  • Like
Reactions: RonHebbard

JohnD

Well-Known Member
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Jan 11, 2012
Location
north central OK
Hey, I just noticed that Ja Rule got a halftime show himself, NBA Bucks vs Timberwolves:
https://theblast.com/ja-rule-nba-halftime-performance/
I don't think it was the comeback he wanted.
Oh, Timberwolves got into the spirit of things.
Oh, and now it seems that Ja seems to think he is GOD!
 
  • Like
Reactions: RonHebbard

josh88

Remarkably Tired.
Premium Member
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Jan 26, 2010
Location
Ypsilanti, Michigan

Users who are viewing this thread