Vanguard Week 2019 – Not Like the Old Days

It’s that time of year again when hundreds of faithful followers of Keith Alan Raniere would gather at the local YMCA’s 550-acre Silver Bay Resort on the shores of Lake George to pay tribute to the man-god they called The Vanguard on the occasion of his birthday.

Started by Barbara Bouchey back in 2004 or thereabouts, Vanguard Week grew almost every year – both in terms of the length of the event and in terms of the number of attendees.

When Barbara was in charge, the event also offered a wide variety of entertainment on the nights leading up to Vanguard’s birthday. In addition to allowing members to showcase their own talents, Barabra arranged for professional performers and noted artists to appear at the event.

Keith Raniere & Barbara Bouchey

After Barbara – and the other members of the NXIVM Nine – departed the NXIVM/ESP cult in early 2009, Clare Bronfman took over prime responsibility for organizing the event.

As might be expected, Clare cut back on the entertainment and non-cult-related activities. That’s because she wanted to focus all the attention on Keith – and because she was paying for all the other stuff.

 MK10ART’s wonderful painting of Clare Bronfman.


The Typical Vanguard Week

Most Vanguard Weeks followed the same script.

The people would gather for several days before the Great One’s actual birthday on August 26th – and spend their time taking more ESP modules and amping each other up in anticipation of his arrival.

Mexican members of NXIVM dancing at V-Week

They would also spend time listening to Prefect prattle on about what a wonderful person Vanguard is – and how lucky they were that he has chosen to share his wisdom and insights with them.

Usually, no one saw the Vanguard during the early days of Vanguard Week.

MK10ART’s portrait of The Vanguard.

That’s because he was hidden away in one of the private guest quarters at the resort – or he was staying at the Trout House in Hague, NY about 10 minutes away.

Either way, Raniere would spend those early days of Vanguard Week providing one-on-one mentoring with a few select women. And stuffing himself with pizza with hot sauce.

Then, on the night of August 25th, the Vanguard would finally show up – and allow the masses to see him and entertain him.

He would also accept all sorts of tribute from his followers: pianos, rare books, portraits, a $20 million check from the Bronfman sisters, etc.

Clare Bronfman & Sara Bronfman

Most of those who attended Vanguard Week spent at least $2,000 to be there (Some accommodations cost even more).

In the beginning, NXIVM just rented out as much of the resort as it needed for its attendees.

Eventually, however, NXIVM just rented out the entire facility for its festivities in order to ensure that they weren’t bothered by any non-members.

Silver Bay Resort

That didn’t keep John Tighe from showing up one year to take pictures of attendees from a public road that runs through the place.

So NXIVM tried to have John arrested for trespassing – and when that didn’t work, they informed the local sheriff’s office that they thought he may have poisoned the water (Oddly enough, this did not take place in 2016 – which is the year when they had the great illness breakout that former-Dr. Brandon Porter and soon-to-be-former-Doctor Danielle Roberts failed to report to the New York Department of Health).


The Decline & Fall of Vanguard Week

In 2016, Vanguard Week ran for 12-days and had more than 400 attendees (Prior years drew as many as 500 attendees).

What started the demise of Vanguard Week was, of course, Frank Parlato’s exposure of the existence of DOS – and the fact that Raniere had arranged to have numerous women branded on their vaginas with his initials.

Once that story broke in June 2017, attendance at that year’s Vanguard Week immediately plummeted.

Even when people were told that they couldn’t get a refund, they still refused to show up.

NXIVM/ESP had become toxic – and only the really hard-core members were willing to show up at an event honoring Raniere.

During Vanguard Week 2017, only about 125 people showed up – and many of them left after only a day or so.

It was rumored that Clare Bronfman had paid for all the expenses of many of the 125 attendees who did show up.

According to an exclusive Frank Report article, Clare spent more than$500,000 on Vanguard Week 2017.

So, what may have well been the last ever Vanguard Week ran from August 21, 2017 through September 1, 2017 – a total of 12 days.

In March 2018, the Vanguard was kicked out of Mexico, arrested at a border crossing, and transported to a cell at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, NY (He’s been at that location ever since).

And by July 2018, several of the Vanguard’s most ardent supporters had also been indicted – and placed under “house arrest” while their cases proceeded: Clare Bronfman, Nancy Salzman, Lauren Salzman, Allison Mack, and Kathy Russell.

Thus, there was no Vanguard Week celebration in 2018 – just like there won’t be one this year.


Vanguard’s Birthdays in Prison

Birthdays in prison are just like any other day in prison.

Most prisoners don’t even acknowledge their birthdays because they don’t want to think about who and what they’re missing.

For Vanguard, this has got to be an especially depressing week.

Because he’s not only spending another birthday in prison, he’s also missing out on another multi-day celebration of his birth.

And he’s missing out on all those slender young women who would have vied to be bedded by him on his special day.

He who has the most joy wins.

But he has the most joy also has the most to lose.

Happy Birthday, Vanguard!

About the author

K.R. Claviger


Click here to post a comment

  • The story of the sharp decline in attendance at the last two events, shows just how many people were shying away from NXIVM, including relative loyalists as represented in the 500 who used to come, if not the real diehards like the 125 it was whittled down to – and I doubt they could muster half that number now.

  • What kind of gift would be appropriate for all of the loyal supporters of the Vanguard who stayed with him even after his pedophilia was publicly revealed in 2012?

    After all, Vanguard Week 2016 had around 400 people there celebrating his birthday.

    • I doubt most of them knew about the pedophilia in 2012. Like all “good” MLMers, they were told to ignore the media, and the small-town rag the story appeared in was easy to ignore. The proof of this is that people left after hearing about the cauterizing, they would have left if they found out about the pedophilia as well.

About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” Parlato was also credited in the Starz docuseries "Seduced" for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Additionally, Parlato’s coverage of the group OneTaste, starting in 2018, helped spark an FBI investigation, which led to indictments of two of its leaders in 2023.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premiered on May 22, 2022. Most recently, he consulted and appeared on Tubi's "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM," which aired January, 2023.

IMDb — Frank Parlato

Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083


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