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Fyre Festival: Inside the world's biggest festival flop



 Fyre Festival Image copyright
Netflix

Fyre Festival was the most talked about festival experience of 2017, but not because anyone had any fun

Advertised by famous faces including Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid and Hailey Baldwin, it was billed as a glamorous party on a deserted island.

Tickets cost up to $ 1

00,000 (£ 75,000) and guests who booked luxury accommodation and "the best in food, art, music and adventure" in the Bahamas

Instead they turned to mattresses on rain-covered floors, meals of cheese slices on their bread and their luggage in a unlit car park.

Fyre Festival is now the subject of two new documentaries, one or which is premiered on Netflix on Friday

Seth Crossno, a blogger and podcasts, and his three friends spent $ 45,000 (£ 34,785) on tickets, travel and luxury accommodation to go there.

But when they turned up they found it was still practically a building site.

"There are still workers and pick-up trucks and 18-wheelers everywhere," he tells Radio 1 Newsbeat.

"I tweeted out a picture of a notebook we found on the ground and it's hysterical.

"There are 6,000 skittles sweets and 9,000 glow-lollipops. Did anyone think about planning the actual festival?"

Seth, who blogs under the name William Needham Finley IV, live-tweeted his experience and his videos have now had millions of views.

The Netflix documentary, Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened, focuses on the disastrous build-up to the event – which was organized by businessman Billy McFarland

A rival doc was released earlier this week on US streaming service Hulu.

While Fyre was promoted as an exclusive party for wealthy Instagram influencers, Seth says there were more ordinary people at the event than Insta-famous models

"Everyone watched everyone there was an influencer who was wealthy, who had been down and was expecting this life of luxury but was being slapped in the face with reality," says Seth.

Image copyright [19659003] Netflix

Image caption

The most famous image from Fyre Festival was of a bad cheese sandwich reportedly served to guests
                

"Some people I talked to had spent $ 500 (£ 386) on their tickets and it was their spring break from college. They thought it just looked like a cool trip.

"

"I think it's just human nature to see people who are in that situation and laugh or get some sort of pleasure from seeing somebody taken down and notch.

" But there is so much more to the story than rich kids or Instagram meets Lord of the Flies. "
Image: Getty Images

Image caption

Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner both promoted Fyre Festival before its launch
                

While the chaos of the festival was mostly on Twitter, the Netflix documentary focuses on what went on behind the scenes on the island of Great Exuma in the Bahamas.

"The organizers had six to eight weeks to pull off something that should have taken close to a year, "says Chris Smith, who directed the documentary.

" What was most surprising to me was going to the Bahamas and seeing the aftermath of what was left behind and the effect on the people there. "

Fyre Festival wasn't just a miserable experience for the people who paid to party, it also had a major impact on the local people of the island who helped organizations build the festival.

" They had engaged with so much of the local community to try and pull this off. There were hundreds of day laborers working, "says Chris.

" Fyre had such a high profile that I don't think anyone could have assumed that it wouldn 't work out. "

Image copyright
Netflix [19659021] Image caption

Billy McFarland is currently serving a six-year jail term for fraud
                

One restaurant owner in the documentary admits she stumped up $ 50,000 (£ 38,500) of her life-savings catering for Fyre Festival in the build up to the event.

" and live up to the bonds she had made to them, "says Chris.

" In the end when things fall apart everyone just left. She was left having to deal with this.

"Nobody went back to deal With that and that people moved on and came back to living their lives in New York and didn't own up to the responsibility of their actions. "Billy McFarland is failing to pay workers on the island for their time or resources.

Image copyright
Netflix

Image caption

Excitement on Great Exuma was short lived once festival went to the Fyre site
                

He's the one man missing from the documentary – Chris says he refused to be interviewed unless he was paid for his time.

"We just didn't feel comfortable with him after so many people had been hurt based on what he had done, "he adds.

Following Fyre's collapse, Billy was convicted of fraud and jailed for six years in March last year.

Rapper Ja Rule was originally described as a co-organizer of the event – but was not arrested or charged in connection with the fraud. His lawyers have argued that McFarland used his names and connections to promote the event.

"Six years doesn't seem to fit with what he did and the impact he had on everyone else," says Seth.

He successfully sued Billy for $ 2.5m (£ 1.9m) – but expects to wait up to 20 years to get his money back as the fraudster must pay back $ 27m (£ 20m) to investors before settling other debts.

"I'm not a position to say it should spend 20 years in price but it doesn't seem like a lot.

"I don't think we have heard of Billy – at all."

Image copyright
Netflix

Image caption

Ja Rule's lawyers argued that McFarland used his name and connections to promote the event
                

Seth hopes money gets to the people on Great Exuma first, and believes it can help get them repaid.

"Hopefully we can get paid people in the Bahamas back," he adds.

"With people like Netflix involved and these influencers, there is no reason why some money can't be raised to make it right for those people."

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