Highlights many warning signs
Shows mad dash for tents
Invokes images of Hunger Games
Details alleged plan to rob Bahamas Customs
Fyre Fraud – a newly released documentary highlighting the disastrous events of the now infamous Fyre Festival of 2017 debuted Monday on the online video streaming service Hulu .
The 96-minute-long Hulu original, which focused heavily on the man at the centre of the disaster co-founder William “Billy” McFarland, shed light on how the event was conceptualized and featured numerous former employees, social media influencers and a number of Bahamians including some connected to the short-lived event.
McFarland who is now serving a six-year sentence in federal prison was convicted back in October of defrauding investors in his company, Fyre Media, and in the music festival.
Prior to his conviction, organizers were also hit with a $100 million class-action lawsuit, alleging that the “luxury” music festival on a private island in The Bahamas was “nothing more than a get-rich-quick scam” and that its promoters defrauded ticket buyers.
That lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California back in May 2017, by Los Angeles based law firm Geragos and Geragos, and is still an ongoing case, according to the Washington Post.
The Hulu documentary explored, among other things, what some of the men and women featured in the piece said, were many warning signs that the festival, which was billed as an event on a private island once owned by infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar, was in fact, a fraud.
The in-depth look into McFarland’s numerous previous ventures and failures is one of the ways filmmakers seemingly made the case that the festival was not a sound investment, considering his checkered past.
For Bahamians watching in real-time as the drama unfolded almost two years ago, as well as those glued to television screens for Monday’s film, there were many cringe-worthy moments, especially as some never before seen footage of the chaotic first and last day on Great Exuma invoked images of the hunger games, and was not seemingly representative of the hospitality this top tourist destination is known and revered for.
Instead, scenes of gravel, mattresses stacked up along the road and disaster relief tents – some pitched and others still in boxes – were reminders of all the things that really went terribly wrong back in 2017.
There were also scenes of a mad dash for tents, as well as pallets of liquor sitting next to kiosks labelled “bar”.
“Our pitch is simple. We want to bring music on this island, allow hundreds of people to come and experience the magic at one time, and we’re hoping to build this creative centre in The Bahamas where maybe our music artists could come and record and models could come and shoot. And we were hoping to have a year-round creative centre that was culminated in this annual festival,” McFarland said during an exclusive interview featured in the documentary.
However, the catastrophe of Fyre Festival, which played out on social media for all to see, told a very different story.
McFarland, who co-founded the event with well-known rapper Ja Rule, claimed his company had in fact secured proper housing for concertgoers.
“We had 250 houses rented, for millions of dollars with paper receipts and picture receipts of every house,” McFarland claimed.
When asked by the interviewer why guests never got to those homes, McFarland responded: “We had a box of physical keys, cars to take people there, and maps for every single house, and the box of keys, unfortunately, it went missing.”
“So, you lost a box of keys to $2 million worth of houses?” the interviewer asked. McFarland replied: “Uh huh.”
There are many other revelations in Fyre Fraud, including an alleged plot to rob Bahamas Customs.
It also featured an appearance by McFarland’s girlfriend Anastasia Eremenko as well as contributions by local Tribune Chief Reporter Ava Turnquest and Bahamian Delroy Jackson, who was named as a local fixer for the festival.
Jackson, who claimed to have spent a considerable amount of time with both McFarland and Ja Rule, recalled the first time he met the two and details a number of visits to the island ahead of the event, which was reportedly being billed by organizers as the “next Coachella”.
Hulu beat its competitor Netflix to the punch in telling the story of Fyre fest with its Monday release.
Netflix’s version called Fyre Festival: The Greatest Party That Never Happened is expected to debut in three days.