How would you like to go to the beautiful Bahamas for a weekend to attend the most exclusive and luxurious music festival of the century? How would you like to see Kanye West, Major Lazer, and Blink-182 all while bumping shoulders with gorgeous super models, social media influencers, and other wealthy Millennials? It sounds like paradise, right? A utopia? Like it's almost too good to be true? Well it was and it's all because of one single man, Billy McFarland.
Fyre Festival was supposed to be the event of the century. If you weren't there, you were nobody. You were a peasant. Instead, it became the biggest epic fail of 2017 and for those of us not in attendance, we watched it crumble in real time, comfortably in our own homes. Remember that picture of cheese on bread that went viral? Priceless. To live in a culture where we find something like that amusing and something to talk about is astounding.
Both the Netflix and Hulu documentaries follow the same basic format: a quick background on a hot, young entrepreneur looking for the next big business venture, what the Fyre app was and what it wasn't, how Ja Rule came into the picture, and the events leading up to the festival and it's aftermath.
What Fyre does well is who the Netflix team collectively got to interview and how it was directed. Aesthetically, it was much more pleasing to the eye and the sequence of events unfolded with fluidity. They also did an immense amount of research and managed to squeeze it into just 97 minutes. Fyre does a great job at making us, the viewers, sympathize with the Bahamian people who worked so hard on trying to do the impossible. They're the unsung heroes behind the mess and deserve to get back what was never promised to them. The Netflix doc also takes a brief moment to reveal what was almost done in order to get clean water to the attendees, and that part alone may have been the most climactic (and the most talked about) segment.
On the other hand, Fyre Fraud gets major bonus points for getting the man himself, Billy McFarland, to sit down and interview. Though he doesn't reveal a whole lot that isn't already known, nor does he try to make a better case for himself, Hulu will always have this over Netflix. The interviewer was grilling him with tough questions, but McFarland never budged, so that was a bit of a let down. Fraud also added in relevant clips of late night talk shows and stand up comedy to make valid points about how bad Fyre Festival really was. However, it hardly touched on the hard-working Bahamian natives and that seems to be highly vital.
At the end of the day, after an attempt to sell a lifestyle in the digital age where FOMO culture is too real, it's still intriguing to see how it all fell apart. Looking back at 2017, we knew it was a disaster, but we didn't know how bad it really was until now. Both documentaries make it abundantly clear that social media is everything and that it's incredibly easy to build hype and sell anything with the right influencer, even if it never comes to fruition.
Though both documentaries are great, the edge goes to the Netflix version for being much more compelling and overall interesting to watch. They sequenced it in a more easily digestible way and interviewed more key people. Hulu's felt a bit rushed when it came to the festival portion and that seems like it should be the main focus since it's what most people want to find out more about. However, it's best to watch both of them to see what one doc may have missed and to get a more complete story.
Fyre: ★★★★ | Fyre Fraud: ★★★½
★★★★★ Classic | ★★★★ Excellent | ★★★ Good | ★★ Fair | ★ Poor