By Maoilíosa Ní Loideáin
Back in 2017, you may remember the story in the news of a cancelled festival due to the appalling conditions that the festival-goers found themselves in once they landed in the Bahamas.
You may have then forgotten all about it.
Netflix are never nothing but on the pulse of the cultural zeitgeist, and have brought the matter back into the public consciousness with their latest documentary offering, titled “FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened”
The hour and a half long documentary focuses on the problems and dilemmas arising daily from the shambolic organisation that led to one of the biggest comical festival mishaps.
The documentary has a variety of characters that explain what really happened behind the scenes leading up to the so-called luxury music festival. While one would think that everyone involved was at fault, the documentary displays only one real villain: Billy McFarland, a fraudster now incarcerated for six years.
Throughout the documentary, we gain an insight into the steps taken to bring the festival to life but also the delusion and never-ending denial of Billy that everything will run smoothly.
The people around him suffer financially through his lies and deceit. We also shockingly learn what one worker is willing to do to keep the festival afloat.
Even though paying tens of thousands for luxurious accommodation, tickets, flights and extravagant perks at the festival seems ludicrous to some; we are left feeling sorry for the young attendees that are left out of pocket.
The comedic effect of comments made on the economy plane by models and on the bus to the tent site by others possibly hides the shock and disbelief they are feeling.
The penny drop of the farcical situation they find themselves in dawns quickly upon seeing the white disaster relief tents as opposed to the promised extravagant villas.
Intents-Ly Bad: A photo of the accommodation at the Fyre Festival. (Photo courtesy of Netflix)
Other victims include construction workers who worked tirelessly for weeks, never to receive any pay. A heart-wrenching moment comes when caterer Maryann Rolle reveals she spent $50,000 of her own savings to pay workers who helped feed people at the festival.
A GoFundMe page has been set up and currently stands at $205,315 raised at the time of writing, as a direct result of the exposure received from the documentary.
One of the broader topics the documentary tackles is the power influencers have over the public.
The documentary raises a worthwhile debate in the role of influencers on everyday people, even poor little rich kids.
Like any good documentary like “The Thin Blue Line” or “Fog Of War,” you come away from watching it with some questions of your own.
Fyre Festival sold out which is unheard of for a first-time music event purely due to the sharing of an orange picture by models and influencers on Instagram.
The promotional video also helped gain sales with the promise of a luxurious event and the ability to mingle with celebrities.
Ja Rule, rapper and co-organiser claimed it was false advertising which is true, but when did the reality of the festival turn into falseness?
Influencers are hard to blame when they got paid to do a job and had no control over the happenings of the actual event. If Kendall Jenner gets paid $250,000 to publish one orange photo on Instagram, which she probably had an assistant do, then, of course, why not make easy money? Perhaps this documentary will teach influencers to be more cautious when adding their identity to something.
Perhaps it will also teach the public not to be so easily influenced by what they see online.