Electronic music festivals are officially back on the bill in Buenos Aires. Kick starting the new wave of artists to descend on the city were DJs Dash Berlin, Eelke Kleijn, Digweed and Guy J. They played a mixture of electronic music including progressive house (a genre composing of elements of dub reggae, deep house and italo house) at Mandarine Park over the weekend. An estimated eight thousand music devotees eager for that o-so-crucial time on the dance floor were there to take it all in.
This scene is very good news for both music fans and venue owners. A few months earlier, a show like the one that took place in Mandarine Park would have been illegal. New legislation re-permitting these events came into effect in late January after a blanket ban last year following the Time Warp tragedy where five people died. The new law has a couple of strings attached, a new list of requirements have to be strictly followed, with failure to comply translating to organizers facing a fine of around AR $1 million and or a 60 day jail sentence.
One key requirement emphasised was “free and safe access to drinking water”. Madeline Park was equipped with various hydration points giving out around 2,000 litres during the event. Water bottles were also available at 50 pesos a pop, which dwarfed alcohol sales with a ratio of nine bottles to every one alcoholic drink.
After gaining approval from Government Control Agency (ACG), control operations were carried out by city law enforcement and department of dangerous drugs along with 40 private investigators. In addition the Emergency Services (SAME) came equipped with six ambulances, 12 doctors and six paramedics, whilst the Red Cross provided 16 first responders. Teams also carried out inspections throughout the night until 7AM the following morning.
Drug use was expected with a prediction that 8 out of 10 people (men and women between the ages of 18 and 50) had taken illegal substances. “It’s all a question of dose and quality. In the VIP area we never have to attend people feeling ill. It’s like everything else, if you can buy the best there runs less risk,” commented a Red Cross volunteer.