Fyre Festival: The Greatest Party That Never Happened


The Fyre Festival had promised luxury hotels but guests were met with tents.

Emma Hodges, Staff Writer

Netflix’s documentary, Fyre Festival: The Greatest Party That Never Happened was released January 18th of 2019. This new drama explains to viewers how entrepreneur Billy McFarland and his partner, famous rapper Ja Rule, deceived guests by promising a VIP event, but budget and a short time frame led to failure and mass hysteria.

Many people in this day of age believe anything they see on the internet. The Fyre Festival, created by McFarland, brings truth to this theory and highlights how easy it is to mislead media users.

The Fyre Festival was first advertised on social media in 2017 as a three day music festival with popular performers on a private island in the Bahamas, with supermodels and luxury cabanas. Guests were hooked, until the Festival was revealed as a scam.

Festival goers on the island of Exuma were also shocked by what they found when they arrived. There were no celebrities, no luxury housing, no fancy meals and no flights back home. The entrepreneur was able to manipulate guests into believing false information, including the headliners of his show .

“The Netflix documentary shows how the living conditions were left over hurricane tents and how meals were bread, cheese and a salad, compared to the advertising the festival originally had. Its sad how Billy McFarland was able to manipulate so many people into this scam”  said Ella Hodges (‘22).

McFarland underestimated how much money he had available to spend and started construction just a month before the opening date, leaving his staff scrambling to set up.

Because of McFarland’s massive over budget, local Bahamian workers were left unpaid and many other corporate employees were let go, also without pay. Many Bahamians worked hours of overtime to help McFarland prepare for the approaching festival date. These workers were overjoyed to learn about an upcoming job opportunity, expecting to be paid.

“Maryann Rolle, owner of the Exuma Point Resort, raised over $160,000 with a GoFundMe campaign after she spoke out about how she was brought on to cater the 2017 festival. In the popular Netflix documentary FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened, Rolle says she had to spend $50,000 from her savings to pay her workers.”

McFarland was overconfident in the amount of funds he had available for the project and this resulted in the collapse of one of the most talked about events today.

“Fyre Festival sounded like an awesome event and seemed legit, so I think it’s wrong that Billy McFarland took thousands of dollars from tons of guests with his knowledge that none of his advertisements were true” said Sydney Soares (‘20).   

   Fyre Festival’s Billy McFarland owes a whopping 26 million dollars in debt and was sentenced to 6 years in federal prison. McFarland’s act of defrauding investors led to dishonestly between him, hits workers and the public, and had landed him a reputation that can never be looked over.