At some point the life we actually lead has become less important that the life we want others to think we lead. Social media allows us to cherry pick the images and moments that amplify the sweet spots and eliminate the dark ones and the kings and queens of social (influencers) do this best of all. They confect a fairytale life and monetise it by selling their influence to convince us mere mortals to buy products and experiences that maybe bring us a tiny step closer to their higher plane. So it was with Fyre - music festival experience that could never in fact have been achieved, but was imagined so fiercely that thousands of people signed up for it. Fyre was a Ponzi scheme of finance, and also of dreams. Billy McFarland is the Bernie Madoff of influence Ponzi schemes, convincing investors, social influencers, marketers, promoters and entertainers to both believe and spread the dream, even when their eyes and minds were telling them that 10,000 millennials on a scrappy bit of dirt on an island in the Bahamas was never going to be a reality. That, in spite of McFarland's scams that bookend the Fyre Festival debacle, and his subsequent 6 year jail sentence, some people are still believers speaks a lot for both his charisma and their gullibility. The documentary is shameful list of the scorched earth McFarland left behind, from exploited construction workers all the way through to his faithful inner-circle. It's jaw-dropping stuff, but a salient reminder that if even smart, successful people can be blinded by a good showman, our kids are at daily risk of having their faith, self-esteem, mental health, credibility and financial security threatened by the smoke and mirrors of social media. I'm sure other people will see a different side to McFarland et al, and they may also criticise this documentary for its perspective, but for me it was both entertaining and a reminder that fairytales are almost always morality tales as well.
An exclusive behind the scenes look at the infamous unraveling of the Fyre music festival.
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April 1, 2019