‘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 the spring of 2017, and the idea had been simmering on social media for months, a project that had previously received a few weeks of media attention from local outlets. At the time, I had no idea who the person was that would actually go and create that reality show — or even, as it turns out, who he was.
As the story went, a group of friends in Montreal was going to create their own version of the popular festival, where they would be the “prize” and contestants would be the “prize-winners.” At the time, the concept was just a dream, but we eventually found out that it was all true.
During the summer, as the festival was unfolding, it quickly morphed into a real deal: an entire reality television program where contestants would be filmed in front of green screens, forced to battle each other in an online version of the “Survivor” competition, taking on challenges and challenges that had little to do with reality and everything to do with social media.
But this wasn’t a reality show like “The Bachelor” or “The Bachelor” or…or even “The Bachelor” itself, because this was a series of challenges that contestants had to perform within a set time period. They were essentially “reality games” that would put competitors up against each other in an online battle where everything was judged largely on who was most prolific in using Instagram and Snapchat and what kind of hashtags they employed on the platform.
There weren’t any cameras in the competition, but only because of a simple rule: contestants could only engage with each other via the platforms that they shared. There weren’t any questions asked or challenges given.
They had to take on challenges that were designed to resemble the challenges commonly found in social media; challenges that, ideally, were designed to test their creativity and their social media skills. If you’ve ever had the feeling that you and some random stranger on the