By Pavel Zlatin – 1851 Staff
In 2019, streaming giants Netflix and Hulu released documentaries about Fyre Festival and the events preceding them: Hulu’s “Fyre Fraud” and Netflix’s “Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened.” The two documentaries are very different in tone and the way they covered the same events.
Fyre Festival is one of the biggest frauds of our time. Initially advertised as a luxury music festival, it ended up be- ing a complete and utter disaster. The festival was supposed to take place April 28 – 30 and May 5 – 7, 2017 on the island of Great Exuma in the Bahamas, set to be the new age Coachella.
Billy McFarland, a Bucknell University dropout and the former Magnises CEO, was, one of the main visionaries behind the scam. The key to the fraud’s initial success was solely the social media campaign; McFarland paid numerous Instagram influencers including Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, Hailey Baldwin, Emily Ratajkowski, and others to promote the festival.
Those who were convinced by the legitimacy of the festival payed thousands of dollars for the passes, only to find out that the lineup of musicians were not paid for, the island was actually a concrete chunk of land with no infrastructure, and the alleged luxury villas were in fact hurricane relief tents with soaking wet mattresses.
The first thing that stands out about the Hulu’s documentary is that they featured an interview with McFarland himself, who is now convicted for six years due to the numerous fraud allegations against him.
Despite appearing as if he was not to blame for the whole fraud, he gave the audience his own vision of the events. “Fyre Fraud” provides the audience with a lot of insights on McFarland’s biography as well as his other fraudulent ventures, like the credit card company Magnises. The creators of “Fyre Fraud” also interviewed a lot of people from McFarland’s inner circle, including his girlfriend Anastasia Eremenko, and his mother. Overall, Hulu’s documentary gives us a better insight into McFarland’s personality.
Netflix’s “Fyre” appears to be more serious in its delivery. However, it doesn’t focus on McFarland’s personal story and it is mainly focused on the events of the festival. “Fyre” gives more insight into Jerry Media, the media company that helped McFarland create the hype around the festival.
I liked Hulu’s “Fyre Fraud” better due to McFarland’s interviews and more extensive background research on him and his other projects. Netflix’s documentary has deeper insight into the festival itself was extremely informative. Although both documentaries are informative in the subject matter, “Fyre Fraud” is a more interesting watch with heavier subject material.
*Photo courtesy of Medium.com.
Netflix and Hulu both produced original documentaries on the Fyre Festival, reflecting on its mishaps and disappointments.