‘It was an absolute Fyre Festival.’ Before Miami contestants were enlisted to save the world, another group signed up in Montreal. But where were the cameras?
A group of self-styled filmmakers had come to Montreal for the second edition of the Fyre Festival. They said they wanted to make a documentary about poverty, and the festival’s founder, rapper and business mogul Will ‘Daddy’ Farrell, said he believed it was ‘a good subject’. He said it had to be done ‘legally’, but was worried about the logistics. “What I didn’t realise was that it was illegal for documentary filmmakers to be in Montreal,” Farrell says. “I just didn’t know. But I was very worried that in the year of Trump, a president who believes he’s smarter than any of us, we wouldn’t be able to film, because we’d be arrested.”
This was a different kind of festival than the one Farrell had started four years earlier. In 2016, the Fyre Festival celebrated the arrival of its first crop of contestants on a yacht in the Bahamas. There was a luxury experience, with luxury tents where the contestants slept in style, on beds made from old mattresses. There was a swimming pool, a spa, a bar with DJs, and a chef to prepare the food. This, Farrell says, was “a good subject, I think”. He said he had thought that he had ‘a pretty good plan to do this’. It was a good idea, he says, to “bring it back to basics”. Farrell created a business plan to make the festival work, and hired a team. The festival, which took place over three days this June, featured a selection of music acts alongside a panel on its inaugural edition that included the rapper-turned-producer YG (for Young George), the writer and producer Tessa Thompson of Migos and DJ Khaled, and designer Kate Spade. The festival was meant to be a showcase for talent. Farrell