There are worse places to be in December than Buenos Aires,
Argentina. The first South American Music Conference (SAMC)
went off with a bang on December 11, culminating in a massive,
14-hour warehouse rave in the Centro Costa Salguero space.
Spread out over four cavernous rooms categorized, “Buenos
Aires Baila,” as it was called, was packed with nearly
25,000 people, most of them young, and all of them enthusiastic.
The lineup showcased the world’s best techno and house
DJs, including such luminaries as Danny Rampling, Derrick
May, Francois K., Richie Hawtin, Pete Tong, Judge Jules, Ferry
Corsten, DJ Dan, Bad Boy Bill, and others. The earlier set
times were given to Argentina’s aspiring local jocks.
Production costs – which included large projection screens,
flat-panel TVs, lasers, strobes, intelligent lighting and
smoke – ran upwards of $1 million, with taped footage
to be aired on the TV station owned by SAMC CEO, Gustavo Sofovich.
The Stalkers left their renowned ho-humming at home and went
South to let loose.
My boyfriend and I’d been looking forward to our trip
to Buenos Aires for months, and the friends we’d left
back in freezing New York City were envious. From the moment
our plane landed, we started seeing bus-stop kiosks and billboards
advertising SAMC, so we had high expectations. Granted, my
Spanish is only what I remember from high school and he doesn’t
speak any, but we got around B.A. just fine.
Arriving in Argentina with American
dollars, we were jazzed to find that everything cost one-third
what it costs back home, ‘cos Argentina’s economy
is down the toilet.
We hopped a cab to the venue, which was situated in a weirdly
civilized “convention center” along the water,
complete with an American-themed diner, convention halls and
the giant Baila space. There were lots of people milling about,
but the lines to get in weren’t too bad, only because
most people were already inside.
The Baila turned out to be essentially a huge rave in four
enormous warehouse rooms, each with killer sound systems and
separate DJ lineups, with the artists performing on prominent
stages. Good thing I wore my waterproof sneakers, because
when we arrived at midnight – the parties began at 4
p.m. that afternoon – every inch of concrete floor was
littered with empty plastic cups, spilled drinks and cigarette
The music was kickin’, and we totally dug Germany’s
Chris Liebing hammer those EQs into the ground. He rocked-it
so hard ! Richie Hawtin was also off-the-hook, and it was
a nice touch to have an electronic ticker scrolling the name
of the performing and next-up DJs, in case people didn’t
know what they looked like.
Dressed in my best clubbing gear, my buddy, his girlfriend
and I set-out for Centro Costa Salguero. We got there around
10 p.m., for a knockout DJ lineup that included some of my
favorites, a tag-team set by Derrick May and Francois K.,
and sets by Bad Boy Bill, DJ Dan and Smokin’ Jo. Circulation
was slated to play after Francois K., and Green Velvet were
set to close after John Acquaviva. I couldn’t believe
a lineup this good only cost $20 for 14 hours!
I was immediately blown-away by the booming sound system inside,
and by how many people were packed into four huge, warehouse
spaces. I had no idea the dance music scene was this healthy
in Argentina! Each room was going off, and I loved the luxury
of going from room-to-room to hear different DJs. The biggest
problem was staying with my friends.
It worked out, ‘cause I met a really sexy Argentinean
girl in the “Tech-House” room, and we danced-up
a sweat in no time. She didn’t speak any English, and
I don’t speak Spanish, but that didn’t matter!
What really made it feel like a warehouse rave were the makeshift
bars, where you’d have to first buy drink tickets before
exchanging them with the bartenders making your drinks.
I ended up hanging out with that girl and dancing until well
past dawn. Argentineans are really friendly people. I’m
already saving up to go back to Buenos Aires for SAMC 2005