There are many dark lessons in the Hulu and Netflix documentaries about the infamous Fyre Music Festival fiasco. From fraud to fame, these lessons criticize and condemn millennials.
After watching both documentaries, the criticism is on the money. As a millennial, I'm ashamed and sickened at what we've become. A generation full of dull values.
From the likes of social media coupled by the need for exclusivity, these intangible values are not just stigmas. They represent the formula used by Billy McFarland, CEO of Fyre, who unequivocally exploited our "value system."
The catalyst of such formula was the promotional video. Viewers got hit with this luxurious festival filled with famous supermodels, private jets, and yachts all on this beautiful remote island. An island once owned by Pablo Escobar.
Dubbed as an "immersive experience", this tropical paradise of a music festival wasn't more than an idea. It was a fantasy spearheaded by one of the greatest social media marketing campaigns.
By leveraging celebrity influencers like Kendall Jenner, Hailey Baldwin, and Bella Hadid, McFarland and his team were able to lurer millennials with FOMO (fear of missing out). Sadly, this campaign worked. Within hours, Fyre Festival sold out.
Consequently, it showed who holds the real power, celebrity influencers. They hold a God complex in today’s culture and the relationship they have with millennials seems unbreakable, one that is only getting worse. New research reveals, “One in three people trust an influencer’s words over what a brand says.”
Marketers today, like Jerry Media, the ones who produced the Fyre campaign have now “weaponized social media.” McFarland and Fyre paid Kendall Jenner $250,000 for a single Instagram post that had hashtag Fyre Festival.
Thousands of millennials bought these ridiculously priced tickets with millions more wishing they could. If you were one of those people, please watch one of the documentaries. Each of them highlight how easy we can be manipulated against our own values. Whether its Instagram, influencers, or the “next great act”, they all fueled the Fyre Festival hype.
Learning about this, has now made me question the whole role social media has in my life. Millennials like myself have this toxic relationship with social media, prompting our inner Machiavellian egos. Fyre Festival was a circus, one that has reminded me of a specific Shakespeare passage I read in college.
It personifies not only the entire Fyre Festival narrative, but also the allure social media has on pretty much anyone who is tapped into the world of likes, hearts, and hashtags.
All the world’s a stage. And all men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts…
William Shakespeare: As You Like It, Act 2, Scene 7
Using Shakespeare’s passage, we are actors playing different roles on the stage of life when we post on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. We masquerade our identity just to ritualize others like the Kardashians and Jenners of the world.
McFarland understood this affect, the importance social media has in millenials lives. He used social media to elevate the festivals fame and success, yet it ironically backfired turning Fyre into a legend, a modern day con.
Once people had arrived at the campgrounds, the festival blew up in flames. The young crowd made Fyre go viral overnight, they tweeted and posted about how “medieval” and “post-apocalyptic” the experience had become.
Despite McFarland’s con, I feel no sympathy nor remorse for those who bought tickets and went. It's in documentaries like Fyre Festival that truly set millennials back years. As a 23-year-old, I cannot defend my generations ugly stigmas and narcissistic behaviors.
Listening to 20-year-olds that quit their jobs because their bosses wouldn’t give them time off or selling everything they own, just to go to this fantasy island is a joke. Yes, McFarland scammed a lot of people, but millennials need to seriously wake up and reevaluate their values. I'm sick and tired of being this laughing stock generation.
Thousands ended up going even when there were clear signs pointing to the festival being a disaster, signs like Calvin Wells' Fyrefraud Twitter account. Seriously, nobody listened to this man while the rest of America listened to some kid's tweet about toast and cheese.
That’s typical of social media, yet even more typical of millennials. Documentaries like Fyre Festival not only provide us with deeper insights into our value system and lifestyle, they teach about the type of people we’ve ultimately become.
Susceptible sheep baited by con artists of the same age. Think I’m too harsh? Watch the trailer. I truly hope this will encourage you and all of my millennial friends to watch and listen. Hopefully we can think about the “next great act” with a little more common sense.
Double tap the heart if you enjoyed this post and if you haven’t done so already, Please SUBSCRIBE to the newsletter for updates on new two cents. See you soon!