By Andrea Romano
July 17, 2019
Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

Whatever Beyoncé wants, Beyoncé gets — especially when it comes to incredible and hard-to-reach filming locations.

According to the Arizona Republic, the music superstar shut down the area of the Grand Canyon known as Havasu Falls on July 10 in order to film her music video for the upcoming movie, "The Lion King."

The new video, titled “Spirit,” was released online on Tuesday, July 17, in anticipation of the photo-realistic Disney remake. Beyoncé herself plays the adult Nala.

Havasu Falls, or Havasupai Falls, has always been a hidden gem of Arizona tourism since it is considerably hard to get to. In order to reach the falls, hikers must trek a trail that’s about eight miles long, plus two more to get to the campground and another three to reach the falls itself, USA Today reported. But it’s well worth it to see the falls’ shimmering emerald green and blue waters.

For this very reason, only 300 permits per day are issued by the Havasupai Tribal Council, which controls the land, according to the Arizona Republic. These permits are released yearly on Feb. 1, according to AZ Central, and are snapped up very quickly. Permits cost $100 per night on weekdays and $125 per night Friday through Sunday, with a minimum three-night stay. Since they have a yearly release, you have to plan your trip way in advance.

So Beyoncé shutting down the place for five hours of filming, according to TMZ, is a pretty big deal. Fortunately for the singer, the Havasupai tribe was “honored” to have the falls be featured in the video, according to the Arizona Republic.

“Knowing that Beyonce advocates for the preservation of water rights around the world, we were particularly pleased to be able to accommodate her request,” said Muriel Uqualla, chairwoman of the Havasupai Tribal Council, to the Arizona Republic. “Her choice to visit the Havasupai Indian Reservation as a setting for her new video and to share it worldwide is a testament to the stunning beauty of our remote homeland.”

But not everyone was happy to see that it was completely off-limits for part of the day last week. Particularly, hikers and campers who set a reservation for that day back in February and did not get the chance to take full advantage of it. Even worse, people who made the 10-mile hike from their campground were in for a shock if they arrived when it was closed. It’s unclear how many people were affected by the film shoot, according to the Arizona Republic.

According to AZ Central, many visitors expressed their unhappiness on a Havasupai Facebook group, though it is not clear which one. Not only was the shoot an inconvenience for hikers who had an advance reservation, many visitors expressed concern that it would make it harder to get permits.

Beyoncé is no stranger to booking high profile venues, though this may be the only time it was for a place that required so much advanced planning for people who are not celebrity status.

The singer and her husband, Jay-Z, filmed another music video, “APES**T,” at the Louvre in Paris, back in 2018, which helped the museum see record visitor numbers that same year.

Even if Havasu Falls is considered a “secret,” perhaps the remoteness of the location will serve as a deterrent for unwanted droves of visitors. Then again, perhaps the exposure will also help boost tourism and bring awareness to the area. Don’t underestimate the power of Bey.

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