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CMU Beef Of The Week #331: Buenos Aires v Kraftwerk

By | Published on Friday 11 November 2016


A Kraftwerk show in Buenos Aires later this month faces cancellation because of fears over what chaos all those synthesisers might cause. This all relates to an ongoing ban on large-scale electronic music events in the city, which came in after this year’s Time Warp festival.

The third edition of Time Warp Argentina in Buenos Aires – a spin-off from the German event founded in the mid-90s – was marred by tragedy, after five drug-related deaths. This resulted in not only the festival itself being cancelled midway through, but a ban being placed on festivals “involving dancing with live or recorded music”, other than tango events and dance-related cultural events.

That might seem like it was a bit of an overreaction. Mainly because it definitely was. But the supposedly temporary ban on issuing permits for electronic music festivals remains in place over six months later.

In July, tickets went on sale for a performance of Kraftwerk’s 3D show in the city’s Luna Park, the go ahead for which was seemingly granted. However, says promoter Move Concerts, two weeks ago the local government decided that, actually, it would rather Kraftwerk and their rowdy, drug-addled fans didn’t all get together and sit earnestly, occasionally nodding at some serious electronica, and so it refused to grant the final permit for the show.

Ah, you may say, but a Kraftwerk concert is not a festival. And that’s exactly what the promoter did say. But, apparently, if it’s a large concert where “synthesisers or samplers are the primary instrument” it still counts as a danger to the public at large. Will someone – anyone – please think of the children?

Organisers have lodged an appeal, and have said that they will move the show outside the city if necessary. However, if Kraftwerk were up for playing this game on their own terms, it would be a lot funnier if they announced that they were doing an acoustic performance. They could wheel four upright pianos onto stage. It would be great. Sure, it might not be enjoyable for anyone in the audience, but it would definitely be a statement.

Kraftwerk, of course, are known for their prankster sense of humour and so have most likely already come up with this idea themselves.