Not So Fyre: Netflix vs. Hulu

Both Netflix and Hulu came out with documentaries over the Fyre Festival catastrophe. Want to know what all the tea is about and only have time to watch one? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.

By Lauren Castro


With Netflix coming out with “FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened”, on January 18, 2019 just days after Hulu released Fyre Fraud on the 14th, there was a lot to be compared. Before we get into the details, here’s some quick facts on what the festival even was:

  1. Fyre Festival was promoted to be a huge LUXURY festival (emphasis on luxury). Ticket prices ranged from $450 to $250,000...none of the tickets sold were refunded.

  2. Location: first the festival was supposed to take place on an island that was previously owned by Pablo Escobar, then the Fyre team got kicked off and took a parking lot construction zone somewhere in the Bahamas.

  3. Billy McFarland was the main scammer/boss/creator guy, but the face of the festival somehow landed on Ja Rule, a rapper who is sort of irrelevant now.

  4. Models like Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, Hailey Baldwin, Emily Ratajkowski, Alessandra Ambrosio, and Chanel Iman promoted the event.

  5. Acts like Major Lazer, Diplo, Migos, Lil Yachty, The G.O.O.D Music, Blink-182, and a few others were supposed to attend and perform. No one ever showed up.

  6. FuckJerry, a huge meme account originating on Instagram, was the head of social media for Fyre Festival.

  7. Overall, if I had to use one word to describe the event (and I’m sure most of the Fyre Festival team can agree), Shitshow.

Photo from Vanity Fair

Photo from Vanity Fair

Now that you know the facts, I’m going to dive in on who did a better job executing the documentary with the least amount of spoilers possible. 3 MAJOR things I noticed that helped me in picking a Fyre Festival documentary winner were who they interviewed, where I learned the most information without getting too bored, and could I follow it easily.

Interviews. A very important avenue that allows the documentary to take human form. Netflix perfectly utilized the human aspect of the problem. Interviews with locals and major players in the Bahamas definitely allowed the audience to see not only how it affected people who were going to attend the festival, but those who worked over 19-hour days to make the festival a reality in order to pay their bills. They included employees of Fyre as well as really close friends of Billy to help us understand how big of a shock this event was for not just all of America, but to Billy’s admirers. On the other hand, Hulu provided an interview with Billy’s girlfriend as well as Billy himself. This gave insight on what Billy was actually feeling, but overall, he didn’t reveal any information that only he could provide. Seeing his facial expressions as he replied helped a bit but wasn’t a necessity.

Photo from Medium.com

Photo from Medium.com

The vibe of each doc was definitely different and was a defining factor in comparing the two. Netflix was more focused on the making and the fall of the festival, whereas Hulu dug into Billy and the aspects of his life that led up to this moment. Each approach is a different story altogether, but conveyed the same message.

Through Hulu’s version, I almost kinda felt bad for Billy. I was surprised at how much time was spent on Billy’s life before Fyre, looking into how he became a scammer rather than focusing more on the aspect of what went wrong with the festival. I liked how Netflix kept the doc in chronological order, giving clear images of how everything went down. This allowed the viewer to feel the impending failure as it was coming which was interesting. Execution is everything and I feel as though Hulu could’ve done better and used their exclusive interviews to their advantage.

In my opinion, Netflix did it better. In saying that, both Netflix and Hulu created a narrative that was both informational and compelling to watch. There may have been different approaches and styles but in the end, Fyre Festival still flopped.