Netflix movie review: Fyre festival fraud


Fyre is a 2019 Netflix documentary by Chris Smith regarding Fyre Fest, a disastrous music festival and scam run by Billy McFarland. The scam was backed by millions of dollars and many oblivious investors. Attendees were promised a fun-filled music festival, but the event left guests stranded on the island overnight without enough food, water, and shelter.

The documentary provides really good visuals to accompany the scam, including images of people stranded at airports, the FEMA tents attendees had to sleep in rather than their promised rooms, and the “luxurious” food that was provided at the festival.

The pacing was very deliberate. They set the tone that the festival was not a viral joke, but rather, a disastrous and dangerous event. Staff members were being assaulted by unpaid laborers and the US embassy had to rescue guests.
Chris Smith interviewed several former staff members and their experiences. One story features an especially chilling situation. The festival couldn’t afford water for a majority of their guests. To get the water out of customs, Billy McFarland had to bribe the head of the water customs.

In the end, Billy McFarland was sentenced to six years in prison. However, the last scene of the film allows us to assume that he will continue to cause more havoc. It would be interesting to see another one of these films regarding Billy McFarland’s future actions.