If you’ve been living under a rock or out in the desert or off the grid for the past few years, you might’ve missed the dumpster fire that was Fyre Festival. Back in 2017, Instagram influencers and stars alike were advertising the coolest, classiest, most elite new music festival anyone had ever heard of. It was going to be on a tropical island filled with luxury villas with yachts docked at the beach, with ticket packages costing up to $250,000 (and no, that’s not a typo). But when the festival-goers showed up after forking out thousands of dollars, all they found were disaster relief tents, cheese sandwiches, and approximately zero actual celebs. So what went wrong? We’ve got the details below.
What happened? Why was Fyre Festival such a s–t show?
Well, if you ask some people, it’s because the whole thing was the brainchild of a con man named Billy McFarland with a little help from Ja Rule. If you ask other people, it’s because the vision for the festival was just too big, and the organizers didn’t have enough time to pull it off. Usually, a festival that size takes about 18 months to put together — and the Fyre team had endeavored to do it in about four. Each documentary will have their own take on the topic, but one thing was clear. The whole event was pretty much a nightmare.
Why are there two Fyre Festival documentaries?
Well, to be blunt, there are two different teams behind each of them — and they don’t seem particularly fond of each other. In Hulu’s Fyre Fraud doc, you can see an interview with Billy himself as he struggles to come with explanations and justifications for everything, the film letting him trip over his own words. It also features Oren Aks, a former employee of Jerry Media, the company founded in part by @F–kJerry, an Instagram account that produces and shares viral content. Jerry Media was one of the main marketing companies that worked with Fyre Festival, promoting it online. Oren, who had since left the company, didn’t have much good to say about the way they handled the disaster. Netflix’s doc, Fyre, on the other hand, was produced in part by Vice but also by Jerry Media itself, the company claiming that they were just as misled about the festival as ticket holders themselves.
Hulu surprise dropping its Fyre Fest documentary today, mere days before Netflix was set to drop its own, is the level of aggressive pettiness I'm here for pic.twitter.com/hROF7C6HqV
— Caroline Darya Framke (@carolineframke) January 14, 2019
What’s different about Fyre on Netflix and Fyre Fraud on Hulu?
Other than the differing perspectives from the teams behind them, they’ve also got slightly different focuses. In Hulu’s Fyre Fraud, they position the failed festival in the larger context of what was going on in the world at the time, both politically and with other alleged con artists like Anna Delvey and Elizabeth Homes, the CEO of Theranos. Netflix’s Fyre, on the other hand, takes a closer look at the actual logistics that went into putting the festival together… and watching it fall apart.
When are the Fyre Festival documentaries release?
Though they never released a premiere date, Hulu’s Fyre Fraud dropped online on Monday, Jan. 14, surprising viewers just a few days before Netflix’s Fyre was scheduled to stream on Friday, Jan. 18. You can watch Hulu’s Fyre Fraud here and Netflix’s Fyre here.
Who were some of the celebs and influencers involved with Fyre Festival?
Most notably, Kendall Jenner had promoted the event on her Instagram page, though when push came to shove and things started to fall apart, she stayed silent and posted mirror selfies instead. Other celebs involved included models like Emily Ratajkowski, Bella Hadid, and Chanel Iman. Some of the Instagram stars included Alyssa Lynch and Austin Mills, who both appeared in the Fyre Fraud doc.
— tapas & cocaine (@BaddieLambily) April 28, 2017
How much did Fyre Festival tickets cost?
According to Slate, general admission tickets seemed to start around $1,500. Seth Crossno, featured in Fyre Fraud, told The Guardian that he paid $4,000 for the festival, which theoretically should’ve included a helicopter ride, backstage passes, and free drinks in addition to the concert. The docs also contend that tickets got as high as $250,000 for VIP packages that included villas to stay in — and that, in an effort to make enough money to put the festival on, organizers like Billy claimed that all general admissions tickets had sold out so that he could sell exclusively VIP tickets, which were much more expensive.
Did Fyre Festival give refunds?
In the days following the event, the official website for the concert promised, “All festival goers this year will be refunded in full. We will be working on refunds over the next few days and will be in touch directly with guests with more details.” According to Billboard, you could also opt out of being refunded for your tickets in exchange for twice as many VIP passes to a theoretical 2018 Fyre Festival that we now know never happened. According to a reddit thread on the subject, some would-be-attendees who could see the fallout coming requested and received refunds a few days before the festival. Others claimed that, while they had not gotten an official refund from Fyre, they were able to dispute the charges with their banks and credit cards and get their money returned. And some took legal action, winning as much as $5 million in damages, reports a Vice article. As far as actual, official refunds from the company, though, MarketWatch‘s Moneyish says that no one’s seen a dime.
thank you to those of you who endured fyre fest thus making these movies possible. we owe you. thank you for your service and I am truly sorry they screwed you so hard
— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) January 14, 2019
Was Fyre Festival a social experiment?
Unfortunately, no, though watching all the fallout on social media the weekend of was definitely a social experience. It seems that Fyre Festival really was at worst a scam and, at best, a total disaster.