Buenos Aires Nightclub Debate Rages After Music Festival Deaths

Time Warp 2016

Maritime police with a vehicle that will carry bodies outside the Costa Salguero event venue in Buenos Aires, Argentina where five young people died of severe intoxication and others were hospitalized in critical condition during the Time Warp electronic music festival on April 16, 2016. 

Buenos Aires judge Roberto Gallardo issued a ban this past Friday (April 29) ordering all dance clubs and music venues in the city to shut down in light of the five drug-related deaths at Time Warp music festival on April 16. According to Reuters, the city's tango milongas and dance-related cultural center events were the only venues allowed to operate under the ban, which otherwise called for a suspension of "all commercial activity involving dancing with live or recorded music."

"It's like shutting the vegetable store because you found food poisoning at the butcher shop," said Jorge Becco, head of the Buenos Aires chamber of discotheque owners. "How do you obey a totally unconstitutional order like this one?" Becco added that all of the chamber's businesses are in compliance with all security measures.

The ban was soon overturned after Buenos Aires Chief of Government Horacio Rodriguez Larreta called for its removal, however. The debate rages on as politicians and judges try to prevent a similar tragedy from occurring.

5 Die After Time Warp Electronic Music Festival in Argentina

Larreta, who backed a temporary ban on music festival permits, criticized the hard-line approach and the curtailing of the city's vibrant nightlife. The drug problem, Larreta argued, does not exist solely on nightclub grounds. “What do we do? Do we close down night clubs?" Larreta said. "We know that the teens are drinking alcohol in pre-parties. Do we suspend pre-parties? So then they’re going to go out and drink on the street … Do we prohibit the use of the streets?”

Larreta believes a possible solution to this would be an open discussion regarding drugs. “We have to work on this from their time in school," he said. "The state can better educate people. There is a lot of hypocrisy about this topic and it is difficult for parents to discuss. There are many who don’t want to have this discussion with their kids.”



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