In 2017, festival goers from across America were excited at the prospects of a brand-new event to attend which promised to be unlike anything to come before it. A private island in the Bahamas, gorgeous women, world class musical performances, and lots of booze. What more could you want? It seemed too good to be true… and it was.
The Fyre Festival was labeled a disaster long before the new Netflix documentary was released this past Friday. But “Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened” offers a unique and terrifying look into the blatant fraud that took place nearly two years ago.
Director Chris Smith employs an often-used format, blending one-on-one interviews with those involved and footage of the monumental wreck that the festival ended up being. Event organizers musician Ja Rule and Billy McFarland, a now-disgraced entrepreneur, invited cameras and films crews along while they put together what ended up being one of the greatest scams of the decade. Because of this, their words and actions cement their clear intent to deliver a product that was not even close to what was advertised.
The documentary itself is very well done and demonstrates a clear mastery of film-making that comes through with the original score and use of shocking revelations made during interviews. There is a build up to the inevitable destruction which took place, painting a picture of men and women partying and living the high life and slowly unraveling. The chaos which ensued included the firing of employees who tried to raise concerns and event workers leaking photos of incomplete festival preparations.
Many of the interview subjects are with these people that worked with organizer Billy McFarland. Unanimously, they incriminate McFarland of knowingly putting together a false advertisement campaign and fraudulent set up to scam as many people as possible. It worked – thousands of people bought tickets within seconds of their sales going on line. Upon arrival, they were herded like sheep and presented the nightmare scene they had to deal with.
A great number of these attendees paid thousands of dollars for the promised experience of a lifetime only to be subjected to dangerous and inhumane treatment. Regardless of how one feels about a person spending so much on a festival experience, the documentary does a great job in making the viewer feel terrible for the victims of this horrendous scam.
“Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened” is now available on Netflix and is a must watch for anyone. If you like music, festivals, documentaries, or all of the above, you will love this.