Last weekend, I was glued to my couch watching not one but two different documentaries about the 2017 Fyre Festival—one on Netflix and one on Hulu. When I came into work after my binge, everyone was talking about how they were also obsessed with one of the most insane concert experiences (and not in a good way) since Woodstock ’99 went down in flames, literally.
I remember hearing news stories about the train wreck of an event that rich millennials paid as much as $250,000 for, thinking they were going to party on a private island in the Bahamas with influencers and celebrities, stay in luxurious villas, and eat food from world-renowned chefs. But when the festival goers actually landed on the island, they found that the concert had been canceled, their villas were actually FEMA tents, and they were being served cheese sandwiches in Styrofoam containers. I remember laughing to myself, thinking who would pay a quarter of a million dollars to see Blink-182 and Ja Rule in concert just because Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid are supposed to be there? The organizers of the concert blamed the fiasco on bad weather and infrastructure issues in the Bahamas, but I knew there had to be more to this story, and I was right!
Basically, tech entrepreneur Billy McFarland went into a partnership with the rapper Ja Rule to create a booking app for celebrities. In order to spread the word about the app, they decided to put on an exclusive concert even though they had no clue about how to plan a concert on such a large scale in a short amount of time. McFarland was millions of dollars in debt, basically running a Ponzi scheme, and ended up racking up federal charges for his shady business dealings. While I was watching Netflix’s Fyre and Hulu’s Fyre Fraud, all I could think about was how exhausting it must be to be a con artist, trying to fake it until you make it 24/7, keeping all your lies straight and having to think of more and more ways to fund all your schemes. And although I could never be someone like Billy McFarland, it doesn’t stop me from wanting to read up on people like him to try to get an understanding of how they tick.
Image Source: Netflix