“At this moment, our general stance is not to allow BPM to perform here,” said Mayor of Solidaridad and President of the Business Coordinating Council of the Riviera Maya Cristina Torres Gómez in a press conference on Monday.
The decisive ruling would put an end to The BPM Festival’s 10-year run in Playa del Carmen, negating the festival’s historically peaceful relationship with the city. Not only would such a ban disrupt one of the largest annual tourist draws for the region, but it would effectively displace a bastion of global electronic music culture.
Of course, it's possible The BPM Festival could find a new home in Mexico -- last week, the event founders announced the festival’s expansion to Brazil and Portugal in 2017. Regardless, the loss of the festival’s home in Playa del Carmen -- as inevitable as it now seems -- serves as a blow to the global electronic music community.
Billboard Dance has reached out to some of the The BPM Festival's most celebrated performers and industry figures to pay tribute to the beloved event.
“I'm deeply saddened and horrified by the tragic event that took place at blue parrot on the very last night of the festival. My night ran til 8am that Sunday morning at Blue Parrot - I can still feel the energy of that place. My heart goes out to the families and friends who lost their loved ones in the name of freedom, love, dance and compassion. But what is really disturbing here is the local council blaming the promoters of BPM for what happened. This is not fair, they are the ones who put Playa Del Carmen on the map, promoting tourism, boosting their economy. To blame them is like slapping the hand that fed you. They brought joy, culture, art and people from all over the world to celebrate life under one sound. It’s a shame and very sad."
"The BPM Festival and the organizers are like family to me, one of the reasons why is because i was the first dj from Detroit to play at the Festival. I've been attending since the second year and seen it grow dramatically over the 10 year period in beautiful Playa Del Carmen with very minimal negative issues. Most importantly i have a personal relationship with all of them and that was the unique thing about this festival because most festivals are that you play the gig and you leave but that wasn't the case here".
"It's a shame that the actions of a few have put a negative ending to what has become, in the last 10 years, one of the most important festivals of the year due to the fact that it promotes underground music in a very beautiful setting. Like the Winter Music conference and Ibiza, BPM is the stage in which it is imperative to have a presence and a place where artists have the ability to break records. I hope it long lives as it is a crucial part of our industry.”
“By the time of the inaugural BPM event, I'd known Craig Pettigrew since the 90's, having worked with him on various tours as Deep Dish around Canada. We became fast friends so when I got the pitch for BPM I was on board immediately. That first year it really felt like an intimate Canadian event; one in which we all were a part of to escape the brutally cold January winter. Throughout the years I proudly watched it blossom into one of the most revered and essential music events in the world; one in which I simply HAD to take part in every year. The memories I have are countless and very, very special. From epic nights to Blue Parrot and Kool Beach, special after parties that stretched into the afternoon, to the TechnoTacos pop ups I did with Richie Hawtin and more recently the opportunity to have brought the HYBRID show on a specially built stage at The Jungle.”
“We were all shocked and saddened to hear the news coming out of Mexico this week. Our musical community has never been a place where violence rears it’s ugly head very often. Especially in such an extreme way. BPM festival has always been a place for us to celebrate life. To spend time with friends, make new friends, dance and escaping the cold of winter.
The festival themselves were celebrating their tenth year this year. Ten years of delivering a safe, well run, high quality destination dance music event. In those ten years they’ve supported a wonderful and diverse mix of DJs, live acts and well known event brands for us to experience. We went to clubs, beaches and even danced in the jungle. I know the organizers very well. They are kind souls. They work extremely hard each and every year to bring us a consistent and fun festival to attend. The actions of a lone individual shouldn’t be allowed to represent the example set year after year both by those who organize and those that attend a festival full of happiness and positivity.”
“I think it's obviously a shame that this type of behaviour and mentality has ended a great run for an amazing music festival of course. But the more severe issue here is the presence of the cartels and their disregard for human life in certain areas of the world, particularly in Mexico. The fact that this happened at BPM is an issue of time and place and obviously has nothing to do with the music or "our community" as people like to put it. This isn't an issue brought on by the arrival of a festival or techno and it's completely foolish to use language that tie a massive tragedy like this to this culture, especially following a political issue like we just faced in the UK with the closure of Fabric Nightclub due to misplaced blame and responsibility. It's so important to make that distinction right now while the world is watching.
Regardless of the efforts made by Playa officials to cast blame on the festival - the one factor that can be most easily and swiftly removed - in hopes of quickly restoring a feeling of security there, they're fully aware that the fault here does not lay with festival organizers. And I know without a shadow of a doubt that regardless of the "ban" the organizers would not consider risking another life to hold the festival there again. BPM is still BPM and can easily relocate, and we will all be there to support and perform when it does.
It's been a great ten years in PDC and I'm thankful to have been involved there from day one. I'm just very sorry that it has ended with a political finger pointed at the organization when the issue is still very much alive and well there with BPM over. Thoughts are with Kirk Wilson's family and all of the other people who suffered a loss this week.”
"It’s unbelievable that during on the last day of it’s 10th anniversary, BPM comes to such a tragic end. Even though I’ve been at BPM only a few times, it felt like being at home amongst my peers and music lovers from around the globe. I am certain this won’t be the end, the people behind BPM will find a way to unite us again, at a different time and place. Our thoughts remain with the victims."
"I've had some amazing times at BPM over the years, and the owners are good friends of mine. I think the first time i played was around 2010, so 7 years ago! I've seen it grow from a small gathering of friends to a global powerhouse in the short space of 10 years. Traditionally it was our version of Miami Music Week, where we could go and see all of our friends and listen to good music. My top three moments are probably; our Saved showcase in 2013 at Kool Beach (the first time we brought Carl Cox to BPM), La Familia at Blue Parrot in 2015 with Joris Voorn, and this year my We Are The Night party at Blue Parrot playing with Carl. Hopefully they can come to an agreement with the government there and keep this festival alive; it's always a shame to see the spirit of music affected like this”
“We're extremely heartbroken at the events that took place on Jan. 15. We had just hosted our own party at Blue Parrot the week before, and have spent many nights in the club over the last few years, we always felt so safe there. We're truly shocked by what happened. Our thoughts go out to the BPM security team and all those affected.”
Ben Turner (co-founder, International Music Summit)
“BPM has emerged as one of the leading celebrations of global electronic music culture in the annual calendar and, in its tenth year, had attracted interest from global media platforms and holidaymakers from all corners of the planet. It is probably the biggest winter celebration to mirror the summer season in Ibiza, and had recently replaced Winter Music Conference in Miami for the industry’s get-together in the darker months. BPM’s founders and curatorial team are music lovers who have contributed to global dance culture with a unique ten-day format albeit clearly with local challenges in a tough part of the world.”
Jazz Spinder (agent, CAA)
“I am one of the lucky ones who have had the privilege of watching BPM grow into one of the most important events in the yearly festival calendar. This is a festival that is truly about the music. A place where artists go to see other artists play and end up combining sets or extending their own sets in a unique atmosphere. Not a place to get in and out of, but a place to stay for days at a time to catch up, let your guard down and and take in the magic from the beaches to the jungles.”
Ed Hill (operations director, Be-At.TV)
“Our thoughts are with everyone affected by this senseless tragedy, particularly the families and loved ones of the deceased and injured. It's incredibly sad that this should happen after an incredible 10 years of the BPM Festival. We have loved working with the BPM family over the last five years and are deeply saddened that a joyful and life-enhancing festival should be tarnished by violence. Absolutely nobody wins here.”