Fyre Festival Documentary // First-Person UGC Video Footage
By David Getz on January 17, 2019
Billed on social media as a can’t-miss event, Fyre Fest was set to be “the cultural experience of the decade” when it began promoting itself on social media in 2016. With the influence of celebrities like Bella Hadid and Kendal Jenner, it was hyped up to be an elevated, luxurious festival-going experience for millennials with plenty of disposable income and a craving for a good time.
What happened at Fyre Fest went on to become the stuff of legend, with the entire sordid debacle carefully examined by pop culture enthusiasts, magazine writers, and, of course, filmmakers. But before Hulu surprised everyone and released its documentary just days before Netflix was set to release its own film documenting the festival, Jukin Media had already released a short-form Fyre Festival documentary a year prio, in January 2018, complete with first-person primary video footage and interviews with subjects that would go on to appear in the Hulu-released documentary.
The doc was part of a larger series called This is Happening, which appeared on Verizon's Go90 platform, and was produced by Jukin Media and Verizon. The series won a Media Excellence Award for original content, and was a Shorty Awards finalist in the Long Form Video category, and the Fyre Fest episode in particular was a favorite among fans. The aim of the series was to showcase the perspectives of individuals on the ground as they witness, and record, significant events that shaped the cultural landscape and dominated headlines in the middle part of the 2010’s. After all, this was the first decade in human history where the widespread adoption of camera-phones turned all individuals into personal documentarians.
The opening shot of the Fyre Festival episode begins with promos of the lavish beaches, beautiful models and social media influencers, and excited festival-goers enjoying themselves at a music festival set in the Bahamas. As everyone knows now, the festival organizers – entrepreneur Billy McFarland and his partner, rapper Ja Rule – did not come close to providing the type of experience that festival-goes were expecting. In this 10-minute documentary, Jukin Media shows the Fyre Fest experience through the eyes of three festival attendees, in what they thought would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity but instead turned out to be a nightmarish weekend and an international social media punchline.
The Fyre Fest episode is a case study in expectations vs reality, an in-depth first person account of how the debacle unraveled from beginning to end. Jukin collected hours of footage and conducted thorough interviews with festival attendees including Jenna Tolbert and youtuber Austin Mills who documented their entire experience from the time of learning about Fyre Fest to their chaotic evacuation.