Trouble in Paradise: Playa Del Carmen Bans EDM Festivals After BPM Shooting
Playa Del Carmen will cease to play host to electronic dance music festivals in the wake of the Monday morning BPM Festival shooting.
Mayor Cristina Torres Gomez announced in a press conference held Monday that all previously scheduled electronic events for Playa would be cancelled, nixing the Arena festival, Mexico’s “biggest gay and lesbian dance music festival,” set to take place the first week of February. The Arena festival made a brief announcement following the festival's function after the shooting on its Facebook page. BPM festival is likewise not permitted to return for future iterations.
The ban is in response not only to the horrific violence exhibited at The Blue Parrot on Monday morning—the popular club where a lone gunman opened fire, an act that left 5 dead, and 15 injured—but to the increasingly hostile gang interactions of the area. The Blue Parrot shooting has rumored to be an act of retaliation stemming from a drug related dispute. Drug cartels are speculated to be in competition for claim to the Playa Del Carmen territory, a location whose frequent dance events causes the coastal area to be a target for cartels seeking to sell drugs to tourists.
Local blogs posted a picture today of a message written in Spanish that has been displayed in Playa Del Carmen. Appearing below, the message translates “This is a demonstration that we are here, and it was because you didn’t get in line, Phillip [of] BPM. This is the beginning and we’re going to start cutting off heads of [competing drug cartels].” The message is signed by an “El Fayo Z Vieja,” a figure who may serve as the head of the cartel responsible for the sign’s creation. The “Phillip” from BPM to which the banner alludes is Phillip Pulitano, the co-founder of the BPM festival.
Mayor Gomez has been quoted saying “We want these types of events to go, we won’t allow one more,” a sentiment welcomed by the hanging of such a sign, with a message that clearly conveys that the violence will continue if the drug cartels are not appeased by the right parties. The ban is to promote the safety of the area’s residents, the safety of tourists, and to remove the events populated by the drug cartels in order to ensure that a similar tragedy does not again befall Playa Del Carmen.
The given cartel’s swift announcement of responsibility for the Blue Parrot “demonstration” exposes an already known issue: the prevalence of drugs in Mexico, and the power of the drug cartels responsible for their distribution. Regardless, Playa Del Carmen has closed its doors to EDM events, a move that seems best for dance music fans, Playa Del Carmen residents, and government officials alike.