With nearly 70,000 people in attendance, the 10th anniversary of the BPM festival (Bartenders, Promoters, and Managers/Musicians Festival) was devastated with a tragic shooting Monday morning (2AM) during one of its two closing events of the 10 day & night electronic music ‘festival’ event which hosted over 300 House & Techno artists through a number of nightclub and special event venues. The Elrow music label showcase party at Blue Parrot nightclub that was attacked had a scheduled lineup of guest artists including Paco Osuna b2b Seth Troxler, Technasia, George Privatti and more.
The shooting resulted in a reported 6 dead (4 on location, 2 at the hospital as of 9pm EST) and 15 others injured by “shrapnel and trampling from the stampede” as attendees fled the scene that resulted from the shooting at 2am outside of Blue Parrot nightclub in Playa Del Carmen.
Festival organizer Kirk Wilson, originally from Canada, is among the deceased as well fellow security guards who were trying to protect attendees, announced the BPM Festival through a posted Facebook statement.
Due to the tragic incident, the business sector of Playa del Carmen demanded unified presence by the 3 head departments of the government to battle the organized crime epidemic that plagues the growing popular vacation destination.
Monday January 16th at a press conference by the mayor & chief of government, Cristina Torres Gómez, the Corporate Coordinating Counsel of the Riviera Maya & representatives of its various chambers it was acknowledged that there are extortion schemes and ‘pay to play’ like deals for access to venues for dealing drugs which affect business owners and tends to be cause for scaring away future investors and event producers alike.
At Solidaridad’s (Quintana Roo) town hall gathering in relation to Monday morning’s mishaps, Cristina Torres directed all government sectors to work towards eliminating these situations from happening in the future, which in turn brings long lasting damage collateral to the city’s tourism & travel image.
As means of precaution for the city and it’s residents it has been declared that The BPM Festival will not be allowed to produce it’s event anymore in Playa Del Carmen indefinitely as well as any other events of that kind.
The news comes as a tragic blow to the event which has continuously grown over it’s 10 year history pushing the underground sounds of dance music in Playa del Carmen, providing its attendees with magical locations & one of a kind settings for this destination festival location. Sprinkle the fabulous locations with a slew of old school & new school DJ’s and dance music performers, extravagant dancers and elaborate art representing the Mayan essence and you have an exotic escape of the realities of life that are to come for the new year.
Up to the happenings of the tragic event, every night and day had been filled with many love spreading smiles gleaming from the thousands of global electronic music lovers, many of whom have been attending the event since it’s creation. This being my personal 6th year of attendance in a row, I’ve had the privilege of seeing numerous amount of my favorite artists in an intimate setting as well as the continuous development and growth of the event and its fan base, which no one can deny as being organically developed.
As our community continues to grow we must stand together, especially during hard times like these as a support system of love for anyone affected while also creating a positive light for the dark cloud that descended upon the event. At the same time, situations like these should be cause for call and attention to always be seeking to improve the safety protocols and precautions to prevent situations like these from happening world wide – regardless of the 1st world to 3rd world statuses. The reality is that none of the events were equipped with “TSA airport” like searches that most American & European dance music festival & rave attendees experience – which as gruesome as those long lines can be, are means of protection and safety for all in attendance helping prevent situations like these from happening.
An even more underlying issue that it seems the event organizers could not avoid in Mexico is the control that the cartels hold over the city and the country – whether the government admits it or not. The epidemic of ‘turf wars’ between the top two opposing sides of the drug cartels is nothing new, which even tends to include top police officials and authorities, but comparably to other countries that have decriminalized or legalized drugs in their own manner with surprising results of lowering crime rates or drug abuse, it could shed light on how to battle that violent cartel control.
So where does this leave us?
The BPM Festival had already announced two new locations (Brazil & Portugal) planned to be added to the staple location of Playa Del Carmen, and though as a precaution move by the mayor for the city, taking away the potential for any possible BPM’s at Playa del Carmen could be negatively impacting to the event producers by losing their original home base. At the same time taking away such a successful event (and any like it) will affect much of Playa del Carmen due to the all of the financial benefits & positive impact that the city gained from having thousands of people arriving during the slowest part of the season following NYE. In addition, year round The BPM Festival has worked closely for years to give back to its host city year round through donations and volunteering their time, from animal organizations to DIF (the city’s social program for families), to the local soccer team, kids’ organizations and more!
It is true that this is a sad day for dance music, but hopefully we can all tap into the positive vibes that could be felt and heard from the first drumbeats and bass lines kicking off the festival to ignite more so the spirit that always resides within our community of peace, love, unity and respect.
We invite you to share your magic moments & pictures with us from any of the past 10 years at BPM!
Our condolences and prayers to all affected and our undoubted support for the BPM Festival, it’s organizers and attendees.