As if straight out of the movie Footloose, an Argentinian judge yesterday placed a closure on Buenos Aires’s nightclubs and venues until a new safety plan could be put into effect. Following the death of five attendees, now six, at Time Warp Argentina, and a subsequent manhunt for the head of the event’s production company, the city decided on Monday to place an indefinite ban on the issue of permits for new music festivals in the area until new drug laws could be implemented. Last night, judge Roberto Gallardo attempted to extend the order to the capital’s nightclubs, describing the scene as “a landscape of impunity and lack of state control with respect to nocturnal activities.”
According to the BBC, the judge said he wanted to witness plans to curb illicit drug usage in the area “for the short-, medium- and longterm.” Until these terms were met, he said, a ban would be placed on all live or recorded music.
Soon after the ban was placed, however, Horacio Rodriguez Larreta, head of the Buenos Aires government, voiced plans to lift the order. In a statement, he acknowledged the dangers of addiction, but said that shutting down the area’s nightclubs was not the solution. Plenty of people enjoy their evenings in responsible ways, he said, “and we are going to defend them.”
“We respect the decisions of Justice, but in this case we are not at all agree with the actions of the judge. There are thousands of people having fun healthily every night and we will defend them.” [translation]
The same evening, judge Lisandro Fastman fulfilled Larreta’s promise. The ban was suspended, return nightlife access back to the city’s residents.
Given the Argentinian government’s immediate and concerned response to the ban, it’s clear the mentality surrounding the dangers of the nightclub and music festivals is shifting. As has now been shown by Fastman and Larreta’s actions, shutting down an entire sector of society and culture is not the answer towards solving the problems raised by the recent, and tragic, incidents at events like Time Warp Argentina. We’re proud of the area’s government for understanding the right way to go about addressing such issues.