The air mattresses were placed for a summer weekend movie night. The Bed Cinema pop-up set out as many as 150 beds with pillows, blankets and bedside tables. Patrons shelled out $50 to $70 for the setup, which apparently did not include anything to hold down the relatively lightweight mattresses.
Robb Manes, a 30-year-old software engineer, was in a nearby pool with his fiancee and a friend when the wind picked up suddenly. Then a mattress tumbled over the wall. Another fell into the pool.
It was a rather odd moment. Manes and his posse went to investigate.
“Then we stood up and saw the mattresses coming at us,” he told The Washington Post on Tuesday.
Manes began filming the chaos. People tried to catch them in failed attempts at heroics. Movie-night organizers scrambled. Manes helped wrangle one. A woman who appeared to be an organizer came over to them. “This is a disaster,” she said, according to Manes.
In all, Manes estimated that between 50 and 100 air mattresses took flight, but it was probably on the higher end, he said. Later, he uploaded a video to YouTube titled “The Great Mattress Migration of 2019.”
It was funny, if slightly sad, for the organizers to chase after what looked like “a herd of air mattresses,” he said.
The wind was not unusual, he said. Powerful gusts frequently blow through Denver, whether in the form of warm, dry Chinook winds that whip down the Rocky Mountains or thunderstorms. Saturday’s chaos appears to have been triggered by the latter.
The event was put on by an Australian company called Viral Ventures. Jason Young, an event manager for the company, told The Post via email that they were able to wrangle the mattresses before the event started, and cinema night went on as planned.
The Bed Cinema’s Instagram post said it was “one of the most talked about events.” Yes, quite.
Young denied that the moment was intended to go viral.
The reactions on social media were genuine, with videos set to “Ride of the Valkyries” and “Jurassic Park.”
“The best part is watching what people are doing with the video,” Manes said.