I opened up Netflix today to find a documentary called ”FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened”. And I have many thinks.
I remember seeing the social media posts and tweets and pictures around the time the Festival happened, or more accurately, fell apart. Y’all remember TanaCon from last summer? Well, that was the TanaCon of the summer before.
Take all of our social influences, Insta models and a private beach. You get to stay in a villa, eat five star gourmet cuisine and see the best acts of the year. It was a concept moreso than an event. Live in your Instagram feed for three days, escape reality. The modern quandary of living loud enough so your social media feeds are colorful and fun.
Hulu released it’s documentary a few days before Netflix released theirs, get their foot in the door.
If you’re to watch one, watch the Netflix version. If you’re looking for more in-depth and more into the CEO, Billy McFarland, Hulu has you covered. They interviewed him for a pretty penny, how much is debated. The director of the Netflix doc decided it would be immoral to give the man money – I take that side.
There’s one consistent thing both docs show. Billy McFarland & his team advertised an event that wasn’t real and that wasn’t going to happen. Sold packages for an event that wasn’t real and wasn’t going to happen. They were told in the beginning by consultants that it wasn’t going to happen. They needed more time.
It’s clear McFarland had a moment where he was like ”maybe if I tell myself it’s true enough times, it will be true!” and just went with it. Or he’s a sociopath. The jury is still out.
This is a big juicy social experiment, if anything else. Why did this happen?
Let’s start with the consumers. Did y’all genuinely, genuinely believe this was gonna work out? They never showed any pics of the site, none of the acts talked about the festival and, ehm, THE PRICE?! I hardly spend 10 euro without having a receipt and assurances I can return it! Quitting your job because you couldn’t get time off for it? Is the island legit? Is it safe? In pursuit of a happy, Nashville-filtered weekend, you guys made some poor choices. The money you spend is with your consent. You have some responsibility to look into it.
Influencers. Opinion makers. Whatever the hell you people are. When you advertise a product to an oftentimes young & impressionable fanbase, please investigate and research exactly what you are advertising. This is a moral responsibility. And as one of the lawyers in the Netflix doc said, he’d love to put every single influencer’s name on the lawsuit as well. You enabled Billy & his firey brand. You encouraged ticket sales. The least you could have done was have some morality and actually ensure it was going to pull through.
YouTube is great at taking their creators to task on this. TanaCon, July 15th & the Kenza cosmetics thing to name a few. The community held the creators responsible and demanded action.
Finally, Billy & co. As aptly said by that white dude in the Netflix doc, ”If there’s anything the guy’s (McFarland) is good at, it’s separating consumers from their cash. If there’s nothing this country celebrates more than that, I don’t know.”
Billy was always an entrepreneur. Glorified for it even. He drove Maseratis, lived in a penthouse. He wanted the CEO life. So he grabbed it. I’m at the conclusion this man is nothing more than a narcissistic con-man. Growing up around enablers, he truly believed he could have anything he want. He was used to success. I think he genuinely believed he could pull off the Fyre Festival. He believed he could deliver the expectations his video ad set. When all of his senior associates told him otherwise, he muted them however he could. He wanted solutions, not negativity.
This is the problem with millenials, and the ultimate reason as to why this shit-storm in paradise happened. Genuine concerns and critique raised are ”hate”. We must do better. Positivity and love will not fix everything wrong in the world. Practical steps make things better. If McFarland was used to people telling him that he was going the wrong way early on in life, he could have actually made an incredible Fyre festival for 2018 instead. Impatience and greed hang over him.
And it’s fitting for the times we live in. As the other white dude in the Hulu doc said, ”There’s a Fyre festival every day in the West Wing (of the White House)”.
I love looking into he psyche of the people who let these phenomena happen, so let’s keep the conversation going. Lemme know what you think here or on my Twitter.
- There’s a GoFundMe for this poor lady who worked at a restaurant on the island they hosted the ”festival” in. They ended up taking care of the attendees for a few days and had to dig in savings. She features on the Netflix doc. Contribute here.
- An all around fascinating thread on the impurities in the Netflix doc & the Hulu doc. Take both docs with a pinch of salt.
- Reddit, because, well, Reddit.
Learned loads from all of those places, so help yourself!