I have heard the word “clusterfuck” used to describe things that have gone wrong on numerous occasions but I don’t believe there has ever been any event that quite captures it the way that Fyre Festival did.
Prior to watching this documentary I had never heard of Fyre Festival. Maybe I was living under a rock or maybe it’s because I’m not the target market for a luxury, island festival but I think in many ways my unfamiliarity with this absolute dumpster fire of a project enhanced my viewing.
To give a little bit of background though, an “entrepreneur”called Billy McFarland has a dream to host a luxury festival on what was Pablo Escobar’s island in the Bahamas. He ropes in rapper, Ja Rule and then convinces a load of Instagram stars to turn up and party at his expense in order to create a promotional video that goes viral. It seems like genius until it all goes horribly tits up.
The thing is, Billy has never planned a festival, he doesn’t know anything about festivals and he doesn’t really have the money to back up his ideas. Not that that will stop him from selling loads of very expensive packages to rich kids with more money than sense.
This documentary looks at the unravelling of Fyre and the fallout of that unravelling told by the people that worked on it. In some ways watching it is hard to believe that anyone involved let things go as far as they did but by the same token so much of “Instagram” life is smoke and mirrors that it remains believable. Billy is also one of those people who manages to suck people in with his cult of personality. People want to believe what he is selling because if it were real it would be truly spectacular.
There are many bonkers moments throughout that make it a gripping and slightly stressful watch and there is a little bit of schadenfreude in watching a bunch of super rich wankers realise they’re spending a weekend in a shanty town. On the other hand seeing how much the Bahamian workers on the island lost out is kind of heartbreaking.
There is a reason Fyre has become a Netflix phenomenon with memes galore. There is something magnetic about watching something disintegrate and not suffering any of the consequences.
I’d highly recommend checking it out, especially if you enjoy a bit of shouting at your screen. However if your frustration levels are high or your job involves project planning, don’t say I didn’t warn you that you might find it very uncomfortable viewing.