The Greatest Party That Never Happened Review

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Fyre Festival (or rather the lack of) in 2017 was such a huge scandal that it resulted in jail time for the founder. This new Netflix documentary explains how the carnage unfolded, in a way that has never been seen before.

Fyre Festival guests were promised an A-List, luxurious experience, including private beach huts, boats, celebrity guests and more to justify the thousands of pounds these eager festival-goers were willing to pay. Yet upon arrival to the private island, they were met with weather-beaten disaster relief tents, cheese sandwiches, and artists dropping like flies. The festival was hurriedly cancelled with thirsty guests stranded on the island with no further explanation.

However, while this appeared to be the scam of the century, the documentary shows that this was never meant to be the case. Rather than focussing on the rich kids with the tickets, the documentary shows the perspectives of those working for Fyre. Visibly irritated at the memory of the mess, the interviewees recall the immense pressure Fyre founder, Billy McFarland, was lumbering them with.

In short, organisers being forced to create it in an extremely short time limit. McFarland was also relying on investors for funding, accumulating enormous debts. Organisers desperate, to the point of the memeworthy exchanging of sexual favours to avoid payments. Rather than staying angry at the organisers, the audience is made aware that it was far from the intended outcome, and only the fraudulent founder is to blame due to his unrealistic demands.

The documentary also sheds light on the influence of social media. Arguably the most successful part of Fyre festival was the publicity, involving the likes of Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner and Hailey Baldwin. Despite the models being in no way responsible for what lay ahead, the fact that people will buy into anything, even what they know nothing about, that is promoted by someone prestigious shows how influential celebrities are in today’s society.

Whether viewers want to acknowledge this fact or not, this presents an example of the dangers of this, as it shows how popular culture can manipulate. It also poses the question of why these people have such an effect. Are we happy with our ordinary lives? Or would we rather live like celebrities, despite being aware of the pressure and unhappiness money can bring?

Katy Henderson