‘It was an absolute Fyre Festival.’ Before Miami contestants were enlisted to save the world, another group signed up in Montreal. But where were the cameras? With a Fyre Festival in Europe in the summer of 2016, some celebrities were on hand to promote the event’s exotic destination. Some were there to record videos for an online documentary, though none were aware that what they were witnessing was likely the last time they saw their own faces in mainstream media.
A Fyre Festival was conceived by Simon Fuller in response to the massive, expensive events of the past: The 2016 NBA All-Star Weekend, the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in New York, the 2018 NFL Draft, the 2018 Grammy Awards, the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards, The Oscars and many more.
In the aftermath of the Fyre Festival fiasco, which ended with the cancellation of the event’s “The Festival” component and the dispersal of its staff. Fuller and his executives were sued for $250 million, and the company was ordered to “cease and desist” from selling its ticketing services. The company did so, as did many other organizations and businesses, but left behind a “Fyre Festival” of photos, videos, interviews and an extensive archive of text and audio recordings. The company also took the money people had paid for tickets to the event and gave it to charity, according to reports.
The footage, interviews and images Fuller assembled from the event reveal a very different reality to what we expect from a major festival. This collection is an example of what journalists can learn from live events: the subtleties in camera choice, a tendency to focus on the “big story” rather than the personal story and a focus on the “perfect ending” over the “real-life story.”
“You can’t put yourself and how you’re feeling in a press conference. I wasn’t ready to be interviewed, but it was actually good. And I can talk about it now,” said one man interviewed in the final weeks of the Fyre Festival.
The “Final Call” was a video with several people in the audience – including one that appears to be Fuller himself – talking about the event. The video opens with someone in the background crying.