A Tragedy Mired In Controversy
Regarded by many as the Irish Beatles, The Miami Showband’s massacre rocked a nation caught in a bitter war between the North and South of Ireland. ReMastered’s latest documentary film sheds light on this atrocity, pointing fingers at the British Intelligence for their hand in what happened and the ensuing years of pain for the survivors following the explosion. While the film itself doesn’t quite have the same allure as some of the others in this series, there’s enough here to make for a fascinating and eye-opening watch nonetheless.
The documentary opens with a brief look at the Miami Showband and the inception of the group. As the musicians hone their craft and play to adoring fans up and down the country, on the 31st July 1975 five members of the Miami Showband were driving back across the border after a show in the Castle Ballroom in Banbridge. It’s here where their bus was flagged down by red torches at a military checkpoint. While this seemed like an ordinary, routine check, what followed was anything but.
An IED (improvised explosive device) on the bus exploded and with it, three of the band were instantly killed, along with a few soldiers as well. As chaos and confusion descended over the survivors, the remaining soldiers flee the scene after being heard to utter provocative statements linking them to the cause of the explosion. It’s at this point where the documentary changes its focus, explaining the conflict between the UVF and IRA and how that linked in to the Miami Showband Massacre. This then leads on to seeing the survivors fight for justice and newfound evidence pointing fingers straight at MI5, the British Intelligence Agency.
Much like other entries in this series, The Miami Showband Massacre combines its usual mix of archival footage, face to face interviews and stock photos to paint a picture of the event and everything following on from it. For the most part this works well, with the footage of the group playing in the band reflecting a more bittersweet tone after the atrocities that occurred that fateful night.
While it may not have the same high-profile status as some of the other ReMastered films, there’s enough here to make The Miami Showband Massacre an enthralling watch nonetheless. As the layers of conspiracy are revealed and more pieces of evidence are found to link to the Government, the fight for justice continues but now it seems closer than ever to put this horrid nightmare to bed once and for all.