6 Things We Weren’t Expecting to Learn from Netflix and Hulu’s ‘Fyre Festival’ Documentaries

The mega-disaster, known as Fyre Festival, sent the Internet into an absolute frenzy of mockery when the doomed event quite literally crashed and burned way back in April of 2017. Luckily, for those who wanted to learn the gritty details of what and how this all went down, Netflix and Hulu each produced a revealing documentary that covers just that. While the release of the films has seemingly revived the Twitter trolls, it has also brought about even more questions from viewers. One of which being: how did Fyre Festival founder, Billy McFarland, ever fathom that a Coachella-esque music festival on Pablo Escobar’s Bahamian island could ever be successfully tossed together in a handful of months?

Both Hulu and Netflix delved into McFarland’s past business ventures like Magnises, an exclusive credit card that grants its users VIP access to various parties and events. Once McFarland’s company fell into hot water, he began selling concert tickets as well as meet and greet passes that he didn’t have, or that didn’t even exist to gullible customers. After one failed project, McFarland created the Fyre app. This app allowed users to find and book talent for gigs and events. Born from the Fyre app was Fyre Festival, which was essentially a means of promoting the app. Netflix and Hulu’s docs both fill in the gray areas between Fyre Festival’s very first announcement in January 2017 and Billy McFarland’s six-year jail sentence in October 2018. Of the many things that were revealed, here are five of the most shocking.

1. Fyre Festival was kicked out of its original location

That’s right, Fyre Festival marketers had one job: to avoid name-dropping former island owner, Pablo Escobar, in any advertisement. Marketers overlooked this detail and the name appeared in the festival’s first promotional video, which caused the Fyre Festival crew to be booted off Norman’s Cay and moved to the Sandal’s Emerald Bay Resort.

2. Models were paid astronomical amounts to promote it

The only way that Fyre Festival really caught wind was through the social media magic of models and influencers. It all began with a single orange tile on their feeds and was soon followed by the promotional video that they created in the Bahamas with the Fyre crew. Kendall Jenner, in particular, was paid an estimated $250,000 to post a picture announcing the musical guest lineup on her Instagram.


Courtesy: CBS News

3. The main Fyre team received death threats when the festival was officially shut down

Once Fyre Festival was deemed a no-go, local vendors were informed that they would not receive payment for their work. This caused a complete meltdown that involved many of the locals attempting to take team members hostage in order to get ransom money. Events producer, Andy King, said he even switched clothing with a local and hitched a ride in the back of a stranger’s car in order to escape the chaos of the village.

4. Many of the local vendors never got paid

After putting months of work into trying to put Fyre Festival together, many Bahamian vendors were left with nothing since the entire Fyre team high-tailed it out of there. For example, local restaurant owner, Maryann Rolle, sacrificed $50,000 of her life savings to pay the people who were bamboozled by Fyre. Today, she’s accumulated $160,000 in donations from a GoFundMe page.

5. Billy McFarland went after Fyre attendees to scam them one last time

While out on bail, McFarland lived lavishly in a New York City penthouse where he continued to scam unsuspecting people. In order to raise funds to start planning Fyre Festival 2018, McFarland and his close friend, Frank Tribble, began to sell fraudulent tickets to events like the Met Gala, the Grammy’s and the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show (two of which are invite only).

6. Fyre team members were pressured to do some unethical things …

Fyre Festival’s event producer, Andy King, was pressured by McFarland to perform oral sex on customs workers in order to get four trucks full of Evian water released and to avoid a $175,000 fee. While King states that he was fully prepared to “take one for the team,” he thankfully never had to complete that task.


Courtesy: Wall Street Journal

In the end, justice was served and McFarland was sentenced to six years in jail and three years of probation, though many viewers believe he should have gotten much worse. Unfortunately, many still suffered from the Fyre Festival fiasco including the Bahamian staffers and the Fyre employees who weren’t officially laid off and, therefore, couldn’t apply for unemployment benefits.