Why The Fyre Festival Documentary Shows Us The Controversy About Social Medias’ Influence

In 2017, the whole social media was in shook with the Fyre Festival’s fraud. In case you didn't know, Fyre was supposed to be one of the hottest events of the decade - an incredible music festival in the Bahamas, advertised by supermodels like Bella Hadid and Alessandra Ambrosio - but it turned out to be a total chaos.

On Twitter, we saw people at the Exuma's island complaining about the lack of water, food, technology and electricity – completely different from the luxurious party that Fyre was supposed to be. But in a matter of fact, everyone who was following the festival’s drama since the beginning kind of knew what was coming, and Netflix only showed us more to see and so we could find conclusions.

So let me show you some of my thoughts while watching it.

Image Source: Netflix

1. Billy McFarland could be easily played by Leonardo DiCaprio on a movie

If you know what I mean, the co-founder of Fyre seems to be a manipulative and charismatic man – just like Leo’s roles in Hollywood. Altogether with the rapper Ja Rule, he developed the Fyre’s symbol and people instantly followed him and his energical ideas. In almost every part of the footage, Billy seemed to have everything ‘’under control’’ and he constantly ignored advices from his staf.

He kept believing he was an unapologetic genius, but when the fraud was discovered, Billy just disappeared and left everyone behind – without payments or even properly excuses.

For the curious minds thinking about how it started, Billy McFarland was an entrepreneur and CEO of Magnises – a credit card company – mainly focused on satisfying the high society. After the Fyre scandal, Magnises was also a target of his megalomaniac actions and ended up breaking too.

He was condemned to 6 years in jail duo fraud. At least 80 investors lost their money on the Fyre fraud – it was more than 24 millions of dollars all invested in an disorganized cause.

2. It was not only about rich kids being screwed over

Even though Fyre’s audience was mostly rich duo the price of tickets (around 300 hundred dollars), they were not the only ones suffering from the disaster. Netflix also show us the essential job of the citizens of the Exuma’s island. As we can see in the documentary’s interview, Maryann Role (owner of Exuma Point’s restaurant) had to pay employees with her own savings – showing not only the bad financial administration but also the disrespect that the Fyre’s crew had with their own employees.

As I said, it was not only about wealthy people being played. The footage shows how Billy was promising ‘’more jobs to Bahamians’’, but those humble people worked hard and didn’t receive the money. The festival was supposed to put Exuma in a hot spot, but it just caused damage and embarrassment for its habitants.

3. Why are Millennials so easily influenced by social media?

Image Source: Netflix

This came to my mind a lot when I was watching the documentary. Everything Billy wanted was to catch the new generation’s eyes and gain money. The best way to do it is with social media’s help. But why do we let ourselves to be influenced so easily?

As we could see, Kendall Jenner was paid 250,000 dollars to post the hashtag. Supermodels and influencers also posted the orange board on Instagram for publicity. It was a way to make people pay attention to the product and buy it. After those publications, 95% of the tickets were sold out.

Can you see the damage? Social media influences us so badly that we want to be like those things we see. We want to tan in an exotic island, to become as cool as Alessandra Ambrosio – but it is all just publicity.

To specify Billy’s proposal to his audience, he also said in the footage that Fyre had the premise to ‘’sell a pipe dream to the average loser. The average guy in middle-America’’. It could be genius if it wasn’t so obscure.

Netflix really put McFarland in an arrogant and immature perspective, showing that he had the urge to capture and manipulate the buyer at any costs. Selling fake dreams – just like Instagram.

4. Fyre was like a real life Instagram

On Instagram we always show our very best side. We constantly see ourselves creating a flawless profile – always focusing on our qualities instead of defects.  But in reality, we are far from perfect. Instagram always sells us the perfect life, body and career and most people would do anything to be a part of this world. It can be superficial, but young people are willing to change themselves (or spent millions) to experience this.

Netflix showed us that Fyre was supposed to be the ‘’cultural experience of the decade’’, an enormous and iconic event that would change the music (and artists booking) world forever. But it was all fake.

Just like Instagram, the veracity of the event didn’t represent the real life, showing us that what we see in social media isn’t always true. It can be manipulated very easily to show us only the positive side.

The film made it pretty obviously that the founders didn’t know when to stop and how to solve their own problems. If Billy McFarland wasn’t so greedy, he could have created one of the coolest festivals in the world. The documentary also opened my eyes to social media’s influence – we need to be really careful to the things we share and see.

At any point now, a new ‘’Fyre Festival’’ can be created again just to show us that people are not as trustworthy as they seem – leading us to think twice about those lives that we worship. It is never as authentic as we think.