Ten Lessons We Took Away from Netflix's Fyre Festival Documentary

A lot of this is about the mouthwash scene.

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Jan 22 2019, 5:30pm

(Photo via Netflix)

This article originally appeared on VICE UK.

Alright, you've finally watched the Netflix Fyre documentary, Fyre, and probably the Hulu one, Fyre Fraud, too (full disclosure: The Netflix doc was co-produced with VICE Studios). You watched a wannabe rich guy's life collapse and fall apart and well-to-do people have a bad weekend.

There are a lot of dark emotions in watching Fyre—schadenfreude, inverted jealousy, a sick sort of feeling of validation—but what can we learn from it all? What lessons can we take away? Good question, glad you asked. The staff at VICE combined forces to figured it out:

Constantly Filming Yourself Is a Bad Idea

After Billy gets out on bail, he invites some guys around to film him at the penthouse he's inexplicably staying at, where he sets up that bogus NYC VIP Access thing with some guy named Frank. When they ask what he wants filmed he tells them to keep the camera running and says something along the lines of, "If I've learned anything during this process, it's: the more footage, the better."

I'm no videographer, so pull me up on this if I'm wrong—but surely hours and hours of video of you executing a crime is not a good thing? And then more footage of you running a new scam, while out on bail, is equally bad? IDK, maybe that's just me and my random opinions! Jamie Clifton

You Probably Don't Need to Give A Customs Guy a Blowjob to Release Your $175,000 Worth of Evian

The people at customs are professionals. Your containers of Evian bottled water (which you need! In order to ensure that the thousands of people coming to your Bahamian music festival do not completely and irrevocably overwhelm the island’s plumbing!) are the sort of thing they hold up every day. I’d wager that you can probably just ask for the water and promise to pay. You don't need to, say, instruct a man you have christened your operation’s "gay leader" to go on down to customs and, uh, "take one for the team."

Because ultimately, though the customs guy probably likes blowjobs just fine, he is also at work, where that sort of thing is frowned upon. It’s actually quite simple when you put it like that. —Lauren O’Neill

Rich People? Idiots

As someone who spends the majority of their income on getting the exact same meal from McDonald’s delivered to their house more days a week than I’d like to admit, I really have no business telling others how to spend their money.

But rich kids are wild. First off, imagine having $12,000. Now, imagine having the confidence to drop that $12,000 on a festival, where zero information has been released? On a festival where Blink-182, of all people, are headlining? Morons.Nana Baah

You Maybe Shouldn’t Do Whatever Kendall Jenner Tells You?

I understand. Kendall Jenner is very rich and very hot. She is exactly the sort of person you want to listen to. My favorite politician is Cardi B, so I get it. But Kendall Jenner is not like Cardi B, for the simple reason that, for almost her whole life, KJ has been followed around by cameras and said things she has been told to say, and then has been paid for it. She told you to go to FYRE Festival because FYRE Festival told her to, for money. She is, therefore, potentially not the best authority on this matter. Just spitballing, though. You do you. Lauren O’Neill

We’re All About Two Skipped Meals Away from Going Feral

In the middle of all the anarchy—Ja Rule demanding models jump into a dark black sea, the world’s most awkward millionaire somehow convincing people to hand him hundreds of thousands of dollars, the bit with the mouthwash, the bit where the mouthwash guy switched clothes with a worker and hid in the back of a car, the sad little letters "F," "Y," "R," "E" staked into the sand—the bit that really stuck with me was when Justin Liao pissed in all the tents while holding a selfie stick. Because I did not understand why he pissed in all the tents while holding a selfie stick.

"Our strategy [to avoid having neighbors] was to sort of ransack all the tents around us," he said, with the chilling rational calm of a caged serial killer. "I just started poking holes and flipping mattresses, and my buddy pissed on a few of the beds." (UPDATE 25/01/19: He has issued a statement on Instagram explaining his behavior.)

At this point, I’d like to point out that it was day one. It wasn’t even totally clear that the festival was in dire trouble yet. At this stage, guests were simply told to grab a tent and things would be sorted out tomorrow. That was it. And then: and then he pissed in the tents. Like, listen: We’ve all been at a festival for the feral final night when tents get lit on fire and turds start sailing through the air like missiles. We’ve all pissed in a tent. But wait until you’ve had at least one day of festival before you go that far off the rails. Joel Golby

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Ja Rule and Billy Mcfarland. Photo courtesy of Netflix

Fraud Is Easy

Because people are stupid. A few videos of Instagram models on a beach and dozens of posts of the same orange background later, thousands of humans were dropping upward of 50 grand on plastic wristbands. Just look how easily pleased the first batch of guests were when they turned up and were handed free bottles of vodka at a basic bar on the beach. It took six hours for someone to be like, "bathrooms?"

Our boy Billy got greedy, is all. A half-assed replica of Coachella, teepees instead of disaster relief tents and three days of a rotating stream of Kardashians shouting "IS EVERYONE HAVING A GOOD TIME?" to the same Calvin Harris DJ set would have had everyone booked again for the following year —Dipo Faloyin

When the Most Sensible Ideas Are Coming from a Pilot Who Taught Himself to Fly on 'Microsoft Flight Simulator,' It's Time to Reassess Your Priorities

Hindsight is a beautiful thing, and maybe if Billy had followed planner/pilot Keith van der Linde's advice of "going to Home Depot and buying a thousand toilets," people wouldn't be pissing and shitting all over each other's mattresses.

It's wild that the only guy who had the sense to test out a night in one of the bleak storm shelter tents—later described as "brutal" and "not possible"—was the self-taught pilot who learned to fly by playing a video game. Jack Cummings

The Bullshitter Man Will Always Rise Again

Billy is a man who passed out on a beach, belly up, light beer bottle in hand, while a day party was happening. A man so enamored with his own bullshit it took Lord of the Flies II: The Promise of Hailey Baldwin to erupt around him before he shed a tear of concern. A man who does not know empathy, who cannot build something fair and square, who will grin and smile as the world burns.

This unstoppable chaotic bastard reminds me of so many men in middle to upper management positions, who—after fucking up—will use privilege, connections, smarm, and sociopathic tendencies to scuttle back to their previous position. At the end of the documentary, a couple of people said they can see Billy being successful again once he's out of jail in six years, and as a viewer, I believed them. Hannah Ewens

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Bella Hadid in the promotional video for Fyre Festival

People Like Me Are the Problem

I have to admit something, and that is: while I was watching Fyre, a documentary about a hubristic white man trying to organize a mega-festival with little more than some self-confidence and a lot of other people’s money, the intrusive thought that kept occurring to me was: I could do this. I could do a better job of this. It’s easy, right! Don’t get a guy who taught himself how to fly on Flight Simulator to head up your operations! Don’t get a neurotic shouting man to plan the whole thing while seemingly reading every comment on Instagram at the same time! Maybe get more accommodation in! Pay import taxes instead of suckin’ dick! How hard can it be!

Maybe I’m what’s wrong with the world; maybe my energy is the energy that is crashing this soil-ball into the sun. Despite watching men fail relentlessly for an hour-and-a-half, a not insignificant part of me suspected I could do it better, despite absolutely zero evidence. That’s the real problem with Fyre—because of people like Billy McFarland, and me, this will happen again some day —Joel Golby

It Is Potentially Unwise to Spend Thousand of Dollars on Loading Up a Plastic Wristband with Cash, Particularly When Someone with a Phone Manner You Yourself Would Describe as 'Aggressive' Has Encouraged You to Do So

Potentially. —Lauren O’Neill


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