Fyre Fraud: Cashing in on Millennial FOMO

I just finished the Hulu documentary Fyre Fraud about Billy McFarland and Ja Rule’s failed music festival in the Bahamas and my head is spinning. With snowmageddon on our heels this weekend, it’s the perfect time to head over to Hulu and stream it. So, get in there. Here are my thoughts.

Influencers and FOMO are real.

My day job for the last eight years has been in marketing and advertising. Social media has always been a HUGE part of the gig, so this was interesting to me. Fyre Festival designed an entire social media campaign around FOMO (fear of missing out) and used macro-influencers to (unknowingly) exploit the hell out of something THAT DIDN’T EVEN EXIST. The psychology behind this is insane. They managed to spark virality and get millions in cash from this generation who has a hard enough time paying their rent or student debt to go to a festival that hadn’t even been planned yet. W H A T?

Stop trying to make Ja Rule happen.

Billy McFarland needed to attach a face to the festival that he could easily manipulate. Enter Ja Rule. In the beginning, he bragged about being a co-founder while flaunting his self-proclaimed “rock star” lifestyle. But when it all crumbled, Ja Rule denied responsibility. Yet later he got drunk on a talk show and took credit for Fyre Festival’s idea entirely. What a joker. See if I ever add “I’m Real (Remix)” to a ’00s playlist again.

F-U, Billy McFarland.

This egotistical narcissist is what you get if Donald Trump and your most cringe-worthy ex-boyfriend had a lovechild who then grew up to be a charming yet horrifically terrible car salesman. His interviews during the documentary are full of him bragging about manipulating people but calling it innovative. The documentary will walk you through several of his failed ventures and the many times he essentially stole millions from private investors and people who believed in him (albeit some investors were sketchy as hell) while selling things he never actually had possession of. He thought he could just buy an island, plan and execute the fest in four months and force his vendors to work around the clock on three hours of sleep without getting paid to make it happen. Some call that a conman, not an entrepreneur.

I’ll never complain about festival accommodations again.

When fest-goers arrived in the Bahamas expecting private villas they were met with FEMA tents that hadn’t been set up yet. Billy McFarland literally stood on a table and just told hundreds of people to grab a tent which caused panic as the sun was getting ready to go down and several people were still without lodging or their belongings. He purchased millions of dollars worth of booze without having the money for alcohol taxes. This prompted him to sell even more villas at the last minute that he didn’t have in order to pay the alcohol tax. When it was all said and done he set the alcohol up on stands labeled “bar”. Everyone was served cheese on bread. All of the major bands backed out. No music. No food. No accommodations. He was so in debt that Bahamas’ customs seized his festival merch. However, that didn’t keep him from trying to illegally steal it back. Anyone who complained on social media or posted pictures and videos of their experiences were met with a cease and desist letter. I’ll never ever complain about being hot or tired at a fest again.

Can we please stop shitting on Millennials now?

I’m sure you’re all tired of reading articles about how Millennials are ruining everything. And, I’m sure the crowd of Millennials that somehow afforded to pay thousands to attend this festival made some questionable decisions or showed a lack of priorities. There’s bad and good in every generation. But, let’s not lose sight of the fact that a fellow Millennial zeroed in on that generation’s insecurities and fraudulently manipulated and exploited them with no remorse. After this dumpster fire, he still was touting “Fyre Fest 2018,” and even from P-R-I-S-O-N he is working on his next “business venture.” Let the Millennial shaming go.

If nothing else, this was entertaining, interesting and worth the watch. Fyre Fraud is streaming now on Hulu.

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