Should you watch the Fyre Fest doc on Netflix or the Fyre Fest doc on Hulu? If you’re reading this post you’re definitely going to spend 96 or 97 minutes reliving the 2017 music festival debacle. There are already dozens of which-one-should-I-watch pieces. They’re all fine. And both docs are fine.
The Netflix doc is more about why the fest failed and the Hulu doc is more about the culture that led to a fest like Fyre. They both feature a lot of the same journalists and lawyers and Fyre staff. Both are well made. If you’re going to watch one doc, watch the Netflix doc. It’s not exactly better but the film makers used previously released Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross music. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross music makes every film better.
But both docs are problematic. The Netflix doc was produced by the guys that ran the Fyre Fest social media. The Hulu doc features an on camera interview with Billy McFarland. McFarland was paid for the interview. But you’re still going to watch (at least) one of the docs.
There was one question neither documentary asks, maybe a question so obvious neither film maker thought it mattered. But I think it does matter. Why does the Fyre app need to exist?
The Fyre Festival was, in theory, a way to promote the Fyre app. Both films do a fine job explaining the app, a way to book acts for private functions. Think Tinder for artist booking. Neither doc asks if this app needs to exist.
You do not need to know how booking works to see this is not a needed product.
I do know how booking works. I’ve worked for a booking agency, I’ve worked for a music festival, I’ve played dozens of music venues, I work for Brightest Young Things. I know how booking works. It’s incredibly simple.
Let’s say you want to book Fyre Festival headiner Major Lazer. How would you possibly start the process of getting Major Lazer to play your festival, birthday party, prom, etc? How about Googling “Major Lazer + manager”? Yep. That’s it. That’s all you need to do. Or go to Major Lazer’s Facebook page and find their management’s email address. You can do this for any act that was billed to perform at the Fyre Festival. All of those acts, except for Ja Rule, has manager and booking agent that anyone can easily find with a basic Internet search. You can do this for any legitimate touring act because this is how booking works. The Fyre app, not the Fyre Fest, did not and does not need to exist.
The festival was founded on a pointless app. Comcast nearly invested $25 million dollars on an application that was never going to work. Pulling that off would have been McFarland’s greatest achievement, not scamming people that buy in to promotional videos featuring Ja Rule.