The city of Buenos Aires, Argentina has effectively banned all events featuring ‘synthesizers’ or ‘samplers’. The broad strike against EDM — which now appears permanent — follows multiple drug overdoses.
Buenos Aires isn’t the first city to take action against electronica shows following drug overdoses. But they are the first to take it to this extreme.
The ban started back in April, when six people overdosed at the Time Warp festival. The organizers of the festival were investigated, and mayor Horacio Rodriguez issued the ban as a temporary measure. The stop order covered all concerts featuring ‘synthesizers’ or ‘samplers,’ and debates over the next steps have effectively made the measure permanent.
Enter Kraftwerk, whose scheduled performance was at risk of being canceled. That gig, slated for November 23rd, was initially scrapped by a court order. But a Buenos Aries judge has now reversed that measure, based on a successful petition by Promoters Move Concerts. The petition demonstrated the differences between a Kraftwerk concert and EDM festival, and the likelihood of fewer drug-related incidents.
Already, more than 70-75% of tickets have been sold, with the added attention potentially generating a sellout.
Going forward, the city could effectively ban electronica festivals, though that would probably open opportunities for other host cities. Several years ago, Los Angeles voted to oust Electric Daisy Carnival after the overdose death of an underage attendee, though nearby Las Vegas quickly agreed to play host. The resulting revenue was of course enormous, though any city hosting a massive festival has to deal with costs, hassles, and potential death toll that comes with it.
All of which raises the question: why aren’t festivals doing more to keep drugs out? Maybe that question answers itself, especially given the integral role that drugs like ecstasy play in EDM culture and events. Unfortunately, bands like Kraftwerk can easily find themselves caught in the dragnet of a citywide ban.