On January 22, electronic music festival Dekmantel revealed the full lineup for its 2019 edition in Amsterdam. The event, which takes place on July 31-August 4 at various venues across the city, will host an impressive list of over 100 DJs and live performers. But after close inspection, you’ll notice the number of Latin American artists adds up to…one. The Latin American electronic music community immediately took notice; since the first Dekmantel Festival in São Paulo in 2017, together with South American tour with stops in Colombia, Chile, and Peru, the Dutch music enterprise has had a close relationship with local promoters and artists, consistently organizing showcases and slowly becoming an established name in the region. The organizers even call Brazil their “second home.” Naturally, one would expect organizers to include a fair amount of Latin American artists in their lineup.
Chilean producer Valesuchi, who performed at the 2017 and 2018 editions of the São Paulo festival and has worked with Dekmantel on the production side of their events in South America, posted a statement on her Instagram account addressing the absence of Latin American artists on the lineup. It reads, “What did you actually come to do here in Latin America? You didn’t like us? Nor the music we play and do? Was there any intention of any kind of true cultural exchange in time?” She proceeds to call their presence in the region “arrogant” and publicly cut ties with the organization.
Her comments were supported by numerous people in the community, including Chilean festival Fauna Primavera promoter Pia Sotomayor (“Enough with colonialism. What we have is ours, for us and for whomever we decide to share it with”) and DJ and Traición co-founder Lucía Anaya (“Keep touring in Latin America. There’s not even one Latino on your lineup.”)
Dekmantel replied to Valesuchi’s Instagram post after the backlash. “It is now clear to us that inviting Latin American artists at our European events is an essential part of the cultural exchange, and we need to do better in strengthening and enriching these exchanges,” reads the text. “Our commitment to Brazil and the wider network we have established in Latin America remains completely firm.”
Read the complete statement below.
“We’ve seen this post and the consequent reactions, have thought about it and would like to bring our perspective:
We at Dekmantel never intended to just drop our name in other parts of the world and gain money or cultural cachet. Our horizons have been immeasurably broadened as a result of our collaborations.
It has been rightly pointed out that we didn’t include any South American-based artists on the initial Dekmantel Festival 2019 lineup. We are sorry for this. It is now clear to us that inviting Latin American artists at our European events is an essential part of the cultural exchange, and we need to do better in strengthening and enriching these exchanges.
Our team has placed an enormous amount of time, energy and care into our events spanning São Paulo, Santiago, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Porto Alegre, Lima, Medellín, Bogotá amongst other cities in South America and do so in close collaboration with locals. Everything our local partners have undertaken in these wonderful cities with us sprang from an ongoing shared intention to showcase the calibre and extraordinary quality of artists far beyond our home turf of Amsterdam. We hope this could be felt at each event. Our commitment to Brazil and the wider network we have established in Latin America remains completely firm.
We respect every opinion on our doings, but we hope that with providing these thoughts we have made clear that our intentions are sincere as we keep working on and improving the ethical elements of our role in the Brazilian and Latin American scene.”