As far as farces go, this one is quite the whopper. Last September, Departure announced they were holding an event in Mexico’s Playa Del Carmen in January – and a big event it would be, taking place over six days. They even paid Mixmag a wad of money to write a nice article about them.
Curiously, they made no reference to the fact most of the lineup consisted of plague rave DJs. It’s amazing what can be edited out when money’s floating about, isn’t it? Anyway, all was going well for Departure – a source in the festival world says tickets sold very well, based on the current unusual climate.
Staff arrived just after Christmas to build the stages and get everything set up. People took their flights over – some have said on social media they’ve flown for 24 hours to get there. But things started to go wrong on Thursday, the very day they were meant to begin with the proceedings.
Departure claimed in an Instagram statement that “local changes” meant they had to postpone opening until the following day. And when Friday came, the Playa Del Carmen authorities made explicitly clear the event couldn’t go ahead at all.
Am I the only one who thinks the handling of all this has been utterly incompetent? Anyone looking at the local information in the area will have noticed cases of coronavirus have been rising for the past few weeks. They could have made this judgement a few days earlier, frankly.
Instead, Departure have cost a lot of people a lot of money in travel costs who now basically have nothing to do. The comments thread above is full of people asking what else is going on, and you can be absolutely confident some of them will be receiving private messages inviting them to, shall we say, less well organised events.
I feel terribly sorry for those people who have spent a fortune on flights and such. I even feel sorry for the staff at the festival – bar possibly the idiots who failed to grasp this matter in time. But one group I feel considerably less sorry for, however, are the DJs who were booked – most of whom are massively overpaid, business techno types.
But will they be getting paid anyway? The cleverer agents might well have insisted on such a clause in their clients’ contracts. How many of them have intelligent negotiators, though, is another question entirely…