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Stranded In Paradise Hell: The Last Music Festival On Earth

Stranded in paradise sounds like a good thing. But for the attendees of The Tribal Gathering in Panama, it became their worst nightmare. Vice went into what happens when a tropical music festival goes on lockdown.

COVID-19 placed the music festival under quarantine on March 15th. After some time, lawyers and authorities could let some people off. However, at least 40 people remain trapped on-site. For them, that jungle is no longer paradise.

On April 21st the flight ban in the country extended to May 22nd. This left festival-goers stranded for at least another month. We’ve seen Lord of the Flies, Fyre Festival, and The Beach. What will become of the last music festival on earth?

The indigenous people that were part of the festival returned home to their natural environment. Everyone else remained. They needed their temperatures and health checked. Transportation to the airports became an uncomfortable experience as passports got detained. You needed proof of your flight in order to leave and even then, getting an actual departure date was rough.

The military became aggressive and each day got worse and worse. Authorities made festival-goers sleep on the ground. If you wanted to go home, you could try to fly to a different country. But you needed a permit. Concerns about getting food, cleaning products, and any necessities to last who knows how long on an island remained uncertain. How do you pass the time in a place not knowing if and when you would return to your home? Morale decreased by the days; do you leave or do you stay? Where do you go and who do you trust? Panama takes the quarantine very seriously.

In The End

Thankfully, international embassies came to the rescue of their citizens. For those that remained stranded there, they formed their own tribe of survivors. It may be an ironic or sanctimonious tale, but we’ll let you decide. All we can ask for is the good health of everyone out there during this difficult time.

Nina Chiang
Music and dance feed my soul
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