Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Review of "Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened"

A slightly over-long but fascinating documentary, spent in the company of some of the most obnoxious people you will ever meet. 'Entrepreneur' Billy McFarland is setting up some soft of artist-booking app, and decides to launch a parallel co-branded exclusive luxury festival. He promotes the festival by getting loathsome pointless celebrities (supermodels, rappers, etc) to have a party on the designated festival site and then using the celebrity-party shoot footage to get wannabe-celebrities drooling.

This works really well, only Billy doesn't really organise the festival. The site is unsuitable, the artists aren't really coming, there isn't nearly enough accommodation on the island (promoted as Pablo Escobar's Bahamian hide-out), or enough water or sewerage capacity. The pics of the site are photoshopped so that it looks like an uninhabited island, even though it's actually right next door to the Sandals resort. Whenever the hapless minions point out to Billy that things aren't working out, he hops on his jetski/quad bike and goes really fast, and then tells them to bring him solutions, not problems. Some of the minions walk, but most don't, and some kick in their own money in an effort to keep the festival show on the road a bit longer.

There is footage of the miserable millenials arriving at the site, where they are plied with tequila so that by the time they discover that there are no luxury villas (and not even food or water) it's dark and they are all drunk and confused. They begin to fight over the tents and bedding, because there aren't enough of either. And the next day they get airlifted out like refugees, their dreams of partying with supermodels crushed.

Along the way we discover that Billy is even more of a scumbag, because he's defrauded investors to the tune of $27m, telling them that the festival had many more punters than it ever could have, and that they were all paying even more money than the ludicrous amounts he had actually extorted from the suckers.

Eventually the FBI turn up and Billy is indited, though while he is out on bail he starts a whole new scam selling tickets to events that he doesn't have, through a young front-man.

It's tempting to conclude that all the idiots who were motivated to go to a festival on the strength of some supermodel tweets got what they deserved, and that people who invested in trash like this also...but plenty of others were also burned, including the day labourers on the island who worked for a month trying to prepare the site and never got paid. And the poor sods who were working on the app, who weren't even fired - Billy just tells them they won't get paid any more after he pulls the plug.

Billy got six years, but he'll probably only serve two, and that in a country club prison.

Watched on Netflix - it's a Netflix Original.

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