Netflix vs. Hulu – Which Fyre Festival Documentary Should You Watch?

We’ve all heard about them. The dueling documentaries about the scam of a music festival that took the world by storm. Netflix and Hulu nearly simultaneously released documentaries about the Fyre Festival Fraud.

To refresh your memory, in the winter of 2016, all of the world’s hottest models were featured in a video promoting a new festival: Fyre Festival. It would take place on Pablo Escobar’s island in the Bahamas, and it would be the newest, hottest event. Attendees could pay thousands of dollars to go to the festival and would be treated to 5-star meals, accommodations in luxury cabanas, boat parties, and performances by artists like Kanye, Blink 182, and more. The day tickets went on sale, all of those models (think Kendall Jenner, Hailey Bieber, Emily Ratajkowski) posted a picture of Fyre’s signature orange background with captions like “Join me at #Fyre festival, the hottest festival in the world.” What the captions didn’t disclose was that each of those models were being paid to advertise the festival. Then tickets sold out in hours. Come a couple months later, the day of the festival comes, and suddenly, Twitter blows up. Everyone’s feed is flooded with tweets of “#FYREFESTIVALFRAUD.” All of the artists dropped out. The “cabanas” were flooded tents. There was no plumbing infrastructure. And worst of all, the “5-star meal” was a piece of wheat bread with cheese, lettuce, and tomato. It was the biggest scam of the year. Most people probably forgot about it (besides all of the people scammed out of thousands of dollars) until a couple weeks ago, when Netflix and Hulu came out with different documentaries about the scandal.

But, if you only have 2 hours, which of the documentaries do you watch? Here, I’ll outline each network’s film to help you best decide which you should spend your precious time watching:


Netflix’s Fyre: The Greatest Party that Never Happened:

This documentary goes deep into the festival and the events leading up to it, starting with creator Billy McFarland’s past businesses, and how he built this company and wanted to create a hot festival to promote it. It focuses mostly on the festival itself: the people directly involved in its creation, the acquisition of the land (and the loss of it), the building crew, the people from Jerry Media, the people in charge of the music, the social media, everything. It documents the rise and fall of the festival, taking you through a rollercoaster of emotions as you learn about the stress and agony that these people experienced, especially the Bahamanian people who still have not been paid for their labor in building the festival. There is an interview from every party mentioned, with the exception of the villain himself: Billy. Netflix paints a vivid, detailed picture of every single reason why the festival failed.


Hulu’s Fyre Fraud:

While Hulu’s documentary is about the same subject as Netflix’s, it focuses more on the culture surrounding the buildup of Fyre: how social media plays into it, the science behind the promo video and Fyre’s orange logo, and even how millennials played a part in scamming themselves. It provides a fascinating view point into how our lifestyle perpetrates such a festival and scandal. The biggest noticeable difference is that in this film, Billy McFarland is interviewed. It was an 8-hour interview, completely unbiased, and incredibly informative. Obviously, all 8 hours of the interview cannot be shown in the film, but the parts that are shown reveal Billy’s character, and what kind of a person he really is. It unearths the mysterious question of “is Billy McFarland REALLY a bad guy?” I’ll let you be the judge of that.


At the end of the day, there are 2 documentaries at hand, and both are worth watching. I recommend watching the Hulu one first, just to get a general sense of the culture needed to produce such a scam, and then the Netflix one, to learn about the festival itself, and how it turned into the mess that it did.


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