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Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened Review

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Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened Review

Picture by Shruthi Kumar

Picture by Shruthi Kumar

Picture by Shruthi Kumar

By Shruthi Kumar, Staff Writer

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Over the weekend, instead of doing my impending Calculus homework or attempting my Spanish essay, I decided to browse through Netflix’s collections. Suddenly, my eyes caught FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened. Documentaries are usually not my preference, but within twenty minutes of watching, I was hooked on the story the directors told.
Through the use of interviews and clips, FYRE’s directors slowly weave the story of the infamous FYRE festival. The slippery slope of gullible people is depicted, eventually leading to the ultimate disaster.
The story begins simply: Billy McFarland, a rising entrepreneur, decided to branch out of his conquests and start a new app used to book celebrities and talent. He partnered with the hip-hop mogul Ja Rule to develop the app. McFarland would cover the business portion of the app, while Ja Rule would use his celebrity connections to develop it. But aside from the app sharing the same name as the documentary, the main drama also surrounds the FYRE Festival. In order to ensure successful promotion, McFarland and his team shot several promotional videos for a music festival, which would precede a successful launch of the app. Using a picturesque landscape in the Bahamas and with several notable celebrities, the team of editors shot a dream-like vacation, filled with pristine beaches, A-list celebrities, and laughter for days. The promotional shoot was a success; tickets for the FYRE Festival began selling immediately. The celebrity endorsements only urged sales even further. Consumers bought $100,000+ tickets, and invested more of their money in luxury villas, VIP passes, and other exclusive packages.
As the employees’ testimonies continued, the disillusionment with the festival was clear. The event was poorly planned, and although they had promised many luxuries to their customers, the FYRE team had barely accomodated 500 out of the 3,500 people that were attending. Rain-battered pop-up tents had replaced the “high-end villas” that so many were promised. Artists backed out of their scheduled performances and wire transfers to refund accounts mysteriously never went through. New systems of paying were introduced, security and high end treatment was promised, but nothing more than rough sketches were provided as proof.
Still, with all sketchy financing going on, none of the customers paused to think what they were getting into. Since celebrities had endorsed it, the common public assumed that the festival was equipped with all their needs as well. It wasn’t until the day of the festival, where the meager shelter and lack of decent food or water clued in the consumers that this was not what they had paid for. Within 48 hours, everyone had left, leaving thousands of unpaid people who had toiled in the sun to pull together the festival. FYRE employees escaped, leaving the destruction of the once-beautiful island behind.
The documentary ties in the different insights. Some are from the employees, who recounted their experiences and how they were misled into working on this project until it was too late for them to back out. Other insights are from the consumers, who detail their experience on the island and their emotions when coming to realize that they had been swindled. The documentary also offers a rare look into the treatment of the natives and how their land and labor had been taken advantage of.
FYRE is different than other documentaries in the way it ties together the interviews and clips into one seamless story. The film also sheds light on some previously undiscussed topics. Because of the documentary, the overall gullibility of the people, the mistreatment of the locals, and the exploitation of consumers has been uncovered.
I was enraptured by the documentary, but overall felt disappointment in the people. The locals who worked were, in the end, never paid. McFarland, within days of getting out due to bail, began running another scam operation. I was also shocked by the lack of genuine remorsefulness from the employees, and their lack of initiative to take action. Sure, many stated that they felt that what they were doing was wrong, but none of them actually did anything to stop it.
If you’re looking for something to watch this upcoming weekend, or if you’re intrigued by the spindling tale of deception, FYRE is a must-watch. With its carefully planned structure and seamless flow, the documentary captivates the audience with the biggest scam of 2017.

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Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened Review