By Amanda Gabriel
After a whirlwind of eight lawsuits and $100 million sought in damages, the world of social media and “luxury festivals” has never been the same.
Netflix recently released its documentary “Fyre,” which takes a deeper look at the chaos that unfolded during Fyre Festival, an event meant to be a socialite music festival for those eager to see some big names and various social media influencers.
Using interviews from former employees and footage shot by camera crews following its architects, the documentary tells the cautionary tale of how easy it is to be deceived and conned by offers, advertisements, and information on the internet.
Born out of the mind of Billy MacFarland and promoted by rap icon Ja Rule, Fyre Fest was, as the documentary notes, supposed to be a promotional event for MacFarland’s newly developed app Fyre, which gave individuals the ability to directly book celebrities for events.
MacFarland and Rule executed the event’s promotional phase more or less flawlessly, with ample time for uncouth shenanigans throughout.
Recruitment of models Bella Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski, and others for filming promotional videos proved successful. Some additional Instagram clout gave the crew at Fyre more than enough publicity for them to begin selling tickets.
Within hours, passes to the festival were sold out. In total, nearly 5,000 tickets were sold, with prices ranging from $2,500 to $25,000 per head. An additional $800,000 was spent by patrons on loading money onto “Fyrebands” which were meant to act as a substitute method of payment during the festival.
Conceptually, Fyre Festival was supposed to be one of the greatest music events of all time, rivalling the likes of Woodstock and Coachella.
The location was marketed as Pablo Escobar’s island; accommodations claimed to be lavishly decorated tents and villas, and food served by culinary masters from around the world.
As a result of horrific planning, mismanaged funds, and a lack of directive from MacFarland, however, the festival was moved to an undeveloped housing complex, and the tents were little more than FEMA refugee tents.
Not to mention, the meals were more like school cafeteria lunches than they were gourmet, as the now famous “cheese sandwich” tweet would demonstrate.
Beds were left soaked by a tropical storm, and visitors’ baggage was lost or stolen. What ensued was a primal free-for-all that seemed ripped straight out of “The Hunger Games” films.
It is safe to say that Fyre Festival certainly defied all expectations.
It has been 2 years since Fyre Festival took the world by storm, with memes and articles on the affair plastered all over social media.
MacFarland faces a litany of charges, and has been sentenced to prison for six years. Rule, though not facing incarceration, has faced a number of charges, as well.
So what do we stand to learn from this explosive documentary?
For one, social media is a deceptive entity, and has the potential to manipulate the masses to buy into even the most fantastic or unrealistic scenarios.
Another lesson, more so a reminder, is to have your wits about you when presented with something that seems too good to be true, for it fairly often is.