‘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? ‘It was all about us,’ recalls one. ‘No, I’ve got nothing to say,’ says the other. It was like a reality show, only with a different kind of production.
In a small town near the Mexican border in southern Mexico, a group of up-and-coming social media users were setting up their very own reality show: a bizarre contest in which people would make the ultimate sacrifice in an effort to win money.
All they needed was a cast of contestants and a few friends. ‘It was a perfect storm that’s going to blow you away,’ says the founder of the show’s original concept, who wanted to be known by one name only: La Bandera, the flag of the Mexican flag.
The Bandera’s story began on the morning of January 19, 2017, when a local newspaper ran the headline ‘Worst in History: a $100K Fyre Festival disaster’.
A few days after, on January 22, The Los Angeles Times reported that a Fyre Festival was at least a month away, with guests arriving in an RV at the resort planned for April. It was, indeed. Just a few friends had been left behind, having not left their homes due to the ongoing protests of the previous year.
“They were like, we’ve got to go,” says one of the contestants, who would later be known as Bandera.
‘The show was always about La Bandera. They were just the backdrop for it all.’
Fyre Festival had begun as a Kickstarter project in 2016, and was supposed to be a festival of positive, environmentally