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'FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened' (2019) Review: A Glamorous Festival That Turned Into A Train Wreck

By: Ashley Velez

It will be almost two years since the infamous Frye Festival debuted. Chances are that if you use some form of social media then you saw articles, images, or tweets describing the festival. The festival was anything but a festival. More than 400 people paid a large sum of money to attend a festival that was advertised as being on a private island with famous people and some of the best talent in music headlining. Unfortunately, the festival ended up being on a non private island that was covered with soaking, it rained the night before, white tents previously used for hurricane relief and angry attendees. The festival had no talent to perform, all of the models in the advertisements were no where to be seen, and attendees were stuck trying to find a flight out of the Caribbean. People from afar who were learning about this whole debacle were wondering “how did this happen?"

This month Netflix debuted, FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened, a documentary that gives us an inside look into how a glamorous festival turned into a train wreck. In the beginning of the documentary you meet Billy McFarland, the creator of the festival. You watch as the team he brought together create the festival. At first you get drawn into how cool the festival seems and what unique idea it appears to be. It’s easy to understand why a bunch of people were willing to pay high prices for a luxury festival on a private island. In addition, many of the attendees were ‘influencers’ whose attendance would build his or her brand. Watching the FYRE company build this cool idea is fascinating and you start to believe they must have the cash for this whole thing if they are capable of doing a whole video shoot with supermodels in the Caribbean. Slowly we watch as preparation for the festival starts to unravel. Staff start to question Billy’s ideas and some get fired. As an audience you can’t look away at all the drama, its almost terrifying how out of hand everything gets.

The documentary shows behind the scenes videos of Billy and his staff in meetings. Former staff members give interviews describing their experience and why they chose to work for Billy. Instagram stories and photos are briefly shown to give extra color into what the festival came to be. The documentary is an hour and a half long but even that much time doesn’t feel like enough. When the documentary ended I found myself wanting to learn even more. I had so many more questions I needed answered. It is a fascinating documentary to watch. It would be nice to have a second documentary with more stories from attendees, the documentary only showed a few interviews with them. It makes you wonder what it must have felt like to land in a situation you never would have thought you would pay for.  This is definitely a documentary you should click on as you scroll through Netflix.

Grade: A-

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