Frye Festival

October 10, 2019

Maddie Grate ’21

Earlier this year, a documentary came out on Netflix about a crazy incident that occurred April of 2017. Fyre Festival concerns the fraudulent music festival founded by Billy McFarland the CEO of Fyre Media. Rapper Ja Rule helped to plan the festival. Billy and Ja attempted to hold a luxurious music festival on Great Exuma, a private island in the Bahamas that inevitably fell apart. This festival promised a VIP experience when it turned into something from a nightmare with hurricane shelter tents,wet mattresses, and cold cheese sandwiches.

McFarland blamed the disaster on bad weather and poor planning. Just days before the party McFarland canceled. Hundreds of people had already showed up on the island expecting yachts, villas, and a lineup of performers including Major Lazor, Migos, And Blink-182. Tickets cost up to $100,000 with the promise of the best food, art, music and adventure on the island. The attendees were promised modern, eco-friendly domes and meals from celebrity chefs. When the attendees arrived, they were welcomed by a yellow school bus that brought them to a campsite with almost no infrastructure. 

The critically acclaimed Netflix documentary reviews were overwhelmingly positive. Judy Berman from Time Magazine says, “FYRE captures all of the above in jaw-dropping detail, following McFarland from his origin story as the founder of a company that combined metal credit cards (really) with the lifestyle perks of a social club for millennials through a final ticket scam he ran while waiting to be sentenced.” Popular critic Kenneth Turan from Los Angeles Times says, “The wreckage of 2017’s Fyre Festival was so compelling that this documentary, which opens simultaneously in theaters and on Netflix, is released in the same week as another doc on the exact same topic, which will play only on Hulu.” The Hulu documentary is called Fyre Fraud.