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Over the weekend, social media exploded with the Fyre Festival. Not because there was a new one planned but because of the two documentaries, on Hulu and Netflix respectively released on January 14 and January 18th. Fyre Fraud on Netflix and Fyre Festival: The Greatest Party That Never Was show different sides of the fallout from the 2017 festival created by rapper Ja Rule and serial entrepreneur William “Billy” McFarland.

Here are five reasons you should watch. (A picture is painted of the shenanigans that took place in each documentary but for the purposes of this story we are referencing the Netflix doc.


William ‘Billy” McFarland is a scammer and a criminal mastermind. He is also now a convicted felon though six years seems too little for a man who ran multiple scams of which the Frye Festival was the largest.And all by 25 years old, mind you. The New Jersey native,  raised by parents that are real estate developers,  first ran a company called Magnesis that produced and provided access to luxury events.

Through the connections he made there, McFarland creates an artist booking app and hooks up with rapper Ja Rule to conceive a luxury music festival on a private island in the Bahamas. Without ruining it for you, McFarland uses a shoot with top models and social media influencers to advertise the festival which sells out. With $27 M in hand, McFarland soon either finds himself in over his head, or he knows from the beginning he can’t pull it off, because one of the doc’s unanswered questions is if the money wasn’t used for booking acts for festival infrastructure, where did it go?


Rapper Ja Rule was the festival’s hype man and McFarland’s partner, who seems largely to have been used as celebrity bait. Somehow, even though the festival was geared to millennials, Rule had just enough star power to make it legit. But by the time the festival came to its inevitable downfall, you’re not sure how much he knew or didn’t know, especially as it seems he never actually makes it to the island on the day of the festival. After the docs aired, Rule born, Jeffrey Atkins says that he, too was hoodwinked, but there’s a scene in the doc that suggests once he knew the extent of the Fyre Festival deception, he was more interested in spinning it than making the situation right.




Had McFarland chosen to use his powers for good, The Fyre Festival could have been a huge success. Like many scammers, McFarland’s greatest talent was to convince a lot of people that nothing was something. A marketing video shot on the private island where the festival was initially supposed to take place on with top models/influencers Chanel Iman, Emily Ratajkowski, Hailey Baldwin Bieber, Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid went viral. Those models have now been  subpoenaed about their participation for the bankruptcy case arising from the failed festival.

McFarland also reportedly paid influencer Jenner $250K for the orange square post that when simultaneously posted by an army of influencers also went viral and created demand for tickets, despite the fact that the advertised acts would have barely sold out a day at Made In America or any other U.S. festival.


FOMO,  the condition known as “Fear Of Missing Out”  was apparently the impetus for thousands to sell out the festival days after it was advertised. That was one of the things that may have made McFarland decide that the stress of actually putting on a festival and the work and money it required would have been too hard, when just keeping the money would be easier. Once the marketing effort was over with, the doc is a descent into chaos that seems very clearly was never going to be pulled off. Aside from the questions of funding, organization and infrastructure, there was also just plain bad juju that hovered over the festival in its planning stages. Despite the young talent McFarland amassed to build the artist booking app that was to become and integral part of Fyre Media pre-and post festival, they were mostly wasted as the festival, the app and the company were all casualties of the mess he created.


Event producer Andy King will go down in documentary history as the individual most willing to take one for the team. His testimony about what happened when the Bahamian government denied festival organizer access to four trucks filled with Evian water became meme and social media gold after the doc aired. We won’t spoil it for you here but let’s just say, if you had to pull off a near impossible event with little resources and an egomaniacal con man at the helm, he’s the guy you want.

Here are the trailers for both docs:


Which one are you checking out?

PHOTO: Netflix


5 Reasons Why You Have To See One Of The Fyre Festival Documentaries  was originally published on