Following the death of five people at Time Warp electronic music festival in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the government and local authorities have taken several measures in order to bring the city’s nightlife under control. Perhaps unsurprisingly, that’s been a challenge in a city where young porteños are known to soldier home at five in the morning on a weekday.
An Argentine judge just laid down the harshest of those preventive measures on Friday, when he ruled that all “commercial activity involving dancing to either live or recorded music” would be banned in Buenos Aires until further notice. Under exception are the cities’ milongas (tango bars) and cultural centers, where dancing will still be allowed, reported local daily La Nación.
Any venue that disobeys this order will be subject to immediate closure. In the ruling, the judge remarked that this was a response to “the non-existent state control in respect to night-time activity” in Buenos Aires.
Roberto Gallardo, the judge who made the ruling, is known to have a contentious relationship with the governing party of both Argentina and the city of Buenos Aires — Republican Proposal (PRO). In fact, while current president Mauricio Macri was the city mayor, he attempted to get Gallardo removed after the judge opposed him on multiple occasions, reported La Política.
As Buenos Aires mourns the Time Warp deaths, local authorities have cracked down on what they say is out-of-control drug use in the city’s bars and clubs. Five young people overdosed on what is believed to have been a designer drug known as Superman. Five more left the party in critical condition. Immediately, the second day of the festival was canceled.
Governmental reaction around the expansive country has been extremely diverse. In the country’s third largest city, Rosario, the local municipal council has sent a decree to the executive branch that would allow drug quality testing at events like Time Warp Argentina in order to prevent accidental deaths. Daniela León, the president of the municipal council, told Página 12 that such maneuvers were the only way to make Argentinians safer.
“It’s necessary to have an alternate plan when drug prevention has failed… We know that these drugs circulate in these recreational spaces and to avoid overdose deaths it is necessary to create damage-reduction strategies, and not just in electronic music festivals. We can’t ignore reality.”
In Buenos Aires, the reaction has been much more authoritarian. Before the ban on all dancing events, any kind of massive electronic dance festival the size of Time Warp had already been axed. Additionally, three of the organizers of Time Warp Argentina are now in police custody — Maximiliano Avila, Carlos Maria Garat, and the head of Dell Productions, Adrian Conci.
The tragedy awoke a polemic debate about drug regulation vs. penalization in Argentina, which saw everyone from local celebrities to prominent politicians sharing their opinions on how Buenos Aires could best prevent overdose deaths. International coverage has also honed in on the troubled Time Warp event, as the festival is a globally known brand in the electronic music community.
Expressing their condolences, the German Time Warp crew distanced themselves from the Buenos Aires tragedy, reported Mixmag.
“We are dismayed and deeply saddened by the death of five young people at Time Warp Buenos Aires. Our thoughts are with the relatives of the deceased and the five visitors who are still under medical treatment. We pray for their quick recovery. The German Time Warp companies, ‘Planwerk Events GmbH & Co KG’ and ‘cosmopop GmbH’, were not in any way involved in the local organization and planning of the festival. We are listening to your complaints. At the moment, we are trying to get a clear picture.”
What do you think of Buenos Aires banning most dance events in light of the Time Warp Argentina tragedy?
[Image via Maxim Blinkox/Shuttershock]