Two documentaries about the Fyre Festival released this week — Hulu’s Fyre Fraud and Netflix’s Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened — so viewers are getting an in-depth look into this infamous party gone wrong. The failed event was covered on the news and plastered over social media as in real time. Now that multiple documentaries are coming out about it, people are trying to remember when the Fyre Festival was and how long it's been since it all went down.
The Fyre Festival was scheduled to take place over the weekends of April 28 and May 5 of 2017 on the remote Bahamian island of Great Exumas. In a promotional ad that featured celebrity models like Hailey Baldwin and Bella Hadid, the event was touted as an “immersive music festival” that would have “the best in food, art, music, and adventure on the boundaries of the impossible.” Attendees were promised luxury accommodations, white-glove services, gourmet cuisine, and access to musical performances and popular celebrities.
Hundreds of people bought tickets — at thousands of dollars a piece — and expected to attend a Coachella-style vacation, but what they found was a run-down tent city with no running water or resources. Instead of the beautiful homes they were promised, attendees found FEMA tents lining the beaches, with stacks of wet mattresses scattered about. Their gourmet meals ended up being sliced bread, cheese, and a salad served in a styrofoam container, and the lavish private jet transport they were promised was nowhere to be found.
As guests started realizing the event was a bust, they headed to the airport, but because there weren’t enough planes flying in and out of the island, many people were left stranded. They began sharing their vacation woes on social media, which is when the world got their first glimpse at the train wreck Fyre Festival had become.
Soon after the Fyre Festival disaster, Mic reported that organizers told ticket holders they could get a refund or get tickets to Fyre Festival 2018. Obviously, Fyre Festival 2018 never happened, but Market Watch reported that as of Jan. 15, no ticket holders were refunded.
Both Fyre Fraud and Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened detail exactly how things went wrong, and what part organizer Billy McFarland had in the event’s failure. As the co-creator of the festival, NPR reported that McFarland is currently serving a six-year prison sentence for defrauding investors and buyers, and was ordered to pay $26 million in restitution. Rapper Ja Rule, the other co-creator of the festival, has maintained that he was only the creative visionary for the event, and in a tweet he wrote that the failure of Fyre Festival wasn’t his fault.
Representatives for Billy McFarland did not immediately respond to Romper's request for comment.
Fyre Festival attendee Daniel Jung and his lawyer Mark Geragos initiated a $100 million class action lawsuit against the organizers, reported the New York Times, but the case has yet to be settled. According to Vice, in a separate lawsuit, two attendees were awarded $5 million in July 2018, and they were the first victims to get a judgement against McFarland.
So while the Fyre Festival took place (or technically didn’t) in 2017, the organizers are still facing legal troubles to this day. And as for the ticket holders and vendors that lost money, those financial losses probably still feel like fresh wounds.
Fyre Fraud is available to stream on Hulu and Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened is currently streaming on Netflix.
Editor’s note: Bustle Digital Group acquired Mic in late 2018. Mic is a co-producer on Fyre Fraud.