Last October, Billy McFarland received a six-year prison sentence and was ordered to forfeit $26 million after pleading guilty to one count of wire fraud. That’s probably not how anyone involved in Fyre Festival thought things would turn out for the would-be music fest, yet here we are. Documentary filmmaker Chris Smith looks at what went wrong with the Bahamas excursion in “Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened,” a Netflix documentary about what has come to be, in its own way, a strangely resonant disaster. Watch the trailer below.
Pitched as a luxury music festival by McFarland and Ja Rule, Fyre Festival sold out within two days and was promoted on Instagram by such “influencers” as Kendall Jenner and Emily Ratajkowski (most of whom didn’t reveal that they were being paid to do so). It ended up being closer to “Lord of the Flies,” with none of the promised amenities (or, for that matter, bands) materializing and the whole event devolving into a survivalist nightmare. Not everyone was sympathetic: “If you had thousands of dollars to go on a trip to see Blink 182, that’s on you,” comedian Ron Funches says in the trailer. “That is Darwinism at its finest.”
Most recently, Netflix distributed Smith’s documentary “Jim and Andy: The Great Beyond,” which followed Jim Carrey in character as Andy Kaufman during the filming of Miloš Forman’s 1999 hit “Man on the Moon.”
Smith has said that he had so much material when putting “Fyre” together that he considered turning it into a docuseries. As the festival itself shows us, however, plans change. One that probably won’t: “Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened” arrives on Netflix next Friday, January 18.