- “FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened” is now available on Netflix.
- The revelations include footage of Fyre Festival co-founder Billy McFarland telling supermodels “we’re selling a pipe dream to your average loser” to Kendall Jenner reportedly getting $US250,000 for a single Instagram post about the event.
- The documentary also includes the story of how one event manager says he was asked to perform oral sex on a customs officer in order to “save the festival.”
Netflix’s new documentary about the disastrous 2017 Fyre Festival, “FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened,” is now streaming. It’s in direct competition with Hulu’s documentary about the festival.
Behind-the-scenes footage in the Netflix documentary and interviews with the event’s team give an in-depth look at how organiser Billy McFarland, then 26 years old, went from promoting the hyper-exclusive island music festival to being charged with wire fraud and sentenced to six years in federal prison.
Keep reading for a look at 10 wild revelations (among many) unveiled by Netflix’s new documentary.
The Fyre team was partying so much that Billy McFarland fell asleep on the beach with a beer in his hand, according to the documentary.
The documentary shows a lot of B-roll footage from the days McFarland, Ja Rule, and all the major supermodels spent filming the now infamous promo video for Fyre Festival. Brett Kincaid, a director at Matte Projects, was hired by Fyre Media to do all the marketing and advertising for the event.
“The Fyre guys were partying non-stop – sunup to sundown, getting loose,” Kincaid said. “Billy fell asleep on the beach, literally just broad daylight. Out like a light.”
Kincaid says the Matte team knew there was “a place” and they knew “there was an idea of having a music festival” but that was all the detail given to him. The video was done before any planning for the event began.
During that stretch of filming, McFarland was captured on camera telling the influencers they were there to help “sell a pipe dream” to “losers.”
Not only did the marketing team not really know what Fyre’s plan was, but the talent they hired for the promo video also didn’t fully understand what it was they were shooting.
“We’re selling a pipe dream to your average loser,” McFarland says to a confused looking model in one scene. “Your average guy in middle-America.”
Kendall Jenner was reportedly paid $US250,000 for a single Instagram post about the festival.
Jenner was one of many household names attached to the promotion of Fyre Festival. All the models and influencers shared posts announcing the ticket sales in an epic social media push about five months before the first weekend of the festival.
According to Gabrielle Bluestone, a Vice News journalist featured in the documentary, just one post about Fyre Festival made Jenner a quarter of a million dollars. The post has since been removed from Jenner’s Instagram page.
Fyre Festival was originally meant to take place on Norman’s Cay island. According to the documentary, the event sold tickets to more people than could physically sleep on the island.
One person advising the group on the island logistics was told his help was no longer needed after he kept insisting they sleep everyone on a cruise ship off shore. As revealed in the documentary, that was around February or March – just a couple months before the festival was supposed to happen.
The promo video caused the island’s owner to kick Fyre Media off the land, according to the documentary.
In the documentary, a clip is shown of McFarland on Norman’s Cay saying, “I think we chose the right island. We got ours for $US10 million. Freehold land, no lease. We own the land forever.”
But one of his employees says he’s not sure if any money was ever actually paid. At one point in history, the island was owned by infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar, and McFarland was reportedly dealing with Escobar’s family members and lawyers over the land.
A Bahamian man named J.R. explained to the documentary crew that the owner of Norman’s Cay (who was not McFarland) wanted a “new reputation” for the island, free from Pablo Escobar’s legacy.
But the promo video dropped, and it featured a tile card boasting that Fyre Festival was happening at an island “once owned by Pablo Escobar.”
This breach of the owner’s wish led to McFarland and the whole Fyre Media team getting “kicked off” the island six weeks before Fyre Festival was supposed to start, according to J.R. They eventually picked Great Exuma as the new location (which is definitely not a private island).
Fyre Media reportedly didn’t know the festival would actually cost approximately $US38 million until 45 days before it started.
Creative director Mark Musters was brought onto the Fyre Festival team and spent a day putting together a full budget breakdown. When presented it to McFarland – $US38 million total – the Fyre Media co-founder said it would be no problem.
Almost $US4 million was spent right away when McFarland had 22-year-old Fyre Media staffer, Samuel Krost, book the festival lineup. Krost, who had no experience booking talent for anything, says he “grossly overpaid” Major Lazer.
Two weeks out, Fyre Media was reportedly in need of cash so attendees were told to load up newly invented Fyre Festival wristbands with at least $US3,000.
Fourteen days away from the festival’s start, McFarland’s team was reportedly running out of money and construction still had to be done plus contracts with caterers and other partners hadn’t been paid out yet.
McFarland had his employees create a digital wristband which ticketed guests would pre-load with money and then use as their “wallet for the weekend.” An email sent to the 350 or so attendees said, “the majority of our guests have added $US3,o00 for the weekend, but if you want to reserve tables or take part in the add-on experiences, you will want to put on much more.”
According to Andy King, one of the lead event producers, the first round of people who signed up for wristbands collectively sent $US800,000.
King says he was asked by McFarland to go perform oral sex on a customs officer so trucks of Evian water bottles would be released to the site.
King, who said that by 10 days out from the festival he was leaving most meetings to go “burst into tears,” says he was asked by McFarland to “suck the d—” of the head of customs officer so that trucks of Evian water bottles would be released to the site. King says McFarland referred to him as their “wonderful gay leader” and said he would save the festival if he did this.
“I literally drove home, took a shower, I drank some mouth wash, and I got into my car to drive across the island to take one for the team,” King said. “I got to his office fully prepared to suck his d—.”
That plan wound up being unnecessary because King said the head of customs told him he would turn over the water as long as he would be one of the first people paid the import fee by Fyre Media.
One of the staff members says McFarland charged $US150,000 dollars of Fyre Fest things onto his personal credit card and never paid him back.
Kroust, the 22-year-old staffer at Fyre Media who McFarland had tasked with talent booking, says his boss charged $US150,000 dollars of festival-related expenses onto his personal American Express card and never paid him back.
McFarland reportedly left dozens of people unpaid, upwards of hundreds of thousands of dollars, which one man says led to “hits” being taken out on Fyre staff.
The woman who wound up in charge of catering for Fyre Festival, Maryann Rolle, says she paid out $US50,000 of her own personal savings to her employees. She and dozens of other local Bahamian workers did overtime for weeks and say they never got paid.
“After the locals realised they weren’t going to get paid, some of them started putting hits out on people, either to take them hostage and then get ransom or just to hurt and injure,” Fyre Media employee Martin Howell says in the documentary.
The Fyre Media team, including King and McFarland, left the island after the festival’s cancellation was announced.
For even more revelations about the background of Fyre Festival’s disastrous planning period and how it all fell apart, watch Netflix’s documentary here.
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