Cannes' Wild Parties on the Wane Amid Social Media, Heightened Security

Illustration by: Rami Niemi

Fun-loving fest veterans long for the freewheeling days when CEOs showed up to all-night bashes with wild bulls as star sightings become extremely rare.

Talk to anyone who has been attending Cannes for more than 10 years, and chances are you're going to hear a "wild party" story. From the legendary bashes thrown annually by Wild Bunch (CEO Vincent Maraval once showed up to one with a live bull) to MTV's all-nighters in the hills, the Cannes of yesteryear is very different from the event it has become. Thanks to enhanced security — and plenty of complaints from the locals — these days, the city is usually asleep by 2 a.m.

"It's impossible now with the city of Cannes," says Maraval, pointing to the fact that for years now, locals have been pressuring officials to calm the atmosphere surrounding the festival. Maraval says he suspected the fun was coming to an end in 2011 when the police broke up Wild Bunch's party for Mexican director Carlos Reygadas' Post Tenebras Lux. "They had some mezcal, and the police asked for the importation visa, which of course they didn't have, so the police took all of it," he recalls.

Another hallmark of years gone by that's missing from the party scene these days: star power. Insiders chalk it up to the social media age. "There's one thing that is single-handedly responsible for killing the vibe: the cellphone camera," says Jaunt VR director of production Canaan Rubin, who has attended the fest for more than a decade. Indeed, A-listers used to relish the fest, but non-promotional star sightings are now extremely rare. "It's just not worth being caught in the wrong place, in the wrong scene, with the wrong crowd," says Rubin.

Adds Maraval: "Cannes has totally killed the glamorous aspect. The legend of Cannes is Bardot at 8 a.m. on the beach after the night. That will never exist again."

This story first appeared in the May 10 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

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