Not too many weeks ago, we wrote on this very blog, how Rock Al Parque, Bogota Colombia’s big music festival and one of the biggest music festivals in all of South America, was holding a competition among a group of local Colombian bands to see which would garner the most votes and hence be rewarded with a slot at the 2012 Rock Al Parque Festival. (Missed it? read it HERE)
In that entry, we expressed confusion that a band of Los Suziox’s caliber not only had never before played the festival, but was now being forced into an undignifying process of a rather convoluted online voting contest to qualify. It’s not as if Rock Al Parque is some fly by night festival. As we’ve described it’s big. When we attended in 2010, it was also by all our observations, well organized and well run. In 2010 we witnessed a plethora of different styles of music from metal, to hardcore to reggae and a little bit of punk was sprinkled in. Punk was not ignored.
But the question I asked then, is the one I ask now “why wasn’t Los Suziox, at least as good or better than some of the bands playing the festival (I realize “good” and “better” are relative terms but in this case, it’s a pretty obvious observation) playing “Rock Al Parque”.
When I posed this question to the band, Los Suziox, the unconcerned reply I recieved was that it was “politics” but they were hopeful to be playing the event in 2011. 2011’s event came and went and still no Los Suziox at Rock Al Parque.
And now this.
After reporting that Los Suziox won a tough, close online voting contests, we’ve just gotten word that it appears that they actually did NOT win the voting and will NOT be playing Rock Al Parque. And just like any election in any developing country (and in many developed countries as well), this voting process seemed rife with controversy from the get go. The Los Suziox Facebook page was hacked and Andres, the lead singer, had his email attacked during the voting period, seriously hampering their “get out the vote” campaigns. This suggest it wasn’t just a lack of recognition of Los Suziox’ talent by the organizers and that something more sinister was at play.
Could it be that the Colombian government which funds the festival, doesn’t appreciate Los Suziox’s raw and unvarnished critique of their government? Normally, I’d laugh and say “yeah right”, but given what seem to have occurred, I’m not so sure anymore.
When Los Suziox lead singer, Andres Ocampo emailed the organizers of Rock Al Parque, he was met with silencio.. yes, silence and the organizers completely ignored his inquiries and request for explanation on how the voting results were tallied.
This brings to the surface issues that run much bigger than just a band trying to play in their home country’s music festival. It brings up the corruption and fraud issues that time and time again rear their ugly head in countries like Colombia, countries that are on the surface trying to turn the corner and have a true, democratic society but always seem to dragged back down by a few people in power who seem more bent on controlling things than letting people decide things in an honest, unbiased manner.
I’m not on the ground in Colombia so I can’t say for sure what is going on, but I did peruse an open letter Andres posted on Los Suziox’s Facebook page addressed to the organizers. Andres is a pretty laid back guy and while he writes some very, very powerful and socially conscious music, by and large, it seems pretty hard to get him truly upset. But now it seems the organizers at Rock Al Parque have touched a nerve.. corruption and cover up.
And while there are bigger travesties than Los Suziox not playing Rock Al Parque (like Fidel Castro continuing to abuse the Cuban people or genocide in FILL IN THE BLANK COUNTRY, poverty, starvation, or, etc, etc.) the roots of corruption, whether in a Wall Street firm, a Bannana Republic nation or a perhaps now a big music festival… seems to stem from the same place… greedy, small minded people who want to control who and what we see, hear and do, who we buy from, who is successful and who fails, who makes money, and who does not, etc, etc.
My Spanish is rusty now a days so I had to use google translate, but even with this imperfect translation system, I could see that Andres letter was a powerful bit of literary that needs to be read. So if you are not Spanish literate, I suggest you do a little cut and paste, fire up google translate and take a gander at Andres’ letter to the Rock Al Parque folks.
I don’t envy the job of the folks at Rock Al Parque. It’s probably gotten so big over the years, I can only imagine what it must be like trying to organize it every year. But I can tell you this, they need to appreciate the incredibly talented musicians there are in Colombia and make sure the showcase for local and international bands built so nobly for the Colombian people, actually reflects the wishes and tastes of the Colombian people.
Here is hoping they come to their senses and stop playing favorites.
ANDRES OCAMPO’S LETTER TO ROCK AL PARQUE ORGANIZERS IS BELOW:
porque no sabemos quienes son las personas encargadas de las votaciones online para rock al parque, nunca se presentaron, nunca nos han escrito, no sabemos a dónde hacer llegar este comunicado directamente.
Según un comunicado oficial de la organización faltó “TRANSPARENCIA” en el proceso de votaciones online para los 6 cupos en rock al parque 2012…
No señor@s. Lo que faltó fue un equipo profesional,idòneo, responsable que se encargara de llevar a cabo la labor de garantizar una plataforma digital segura y vigilar cualquier anomalìa, nosotros informamos continuamente cuando hubo problemas en la pàgina de votaciones y tambien informamos del ataque virtual a todos nuestros correos y pàginas de facebook, ataques que disminuyeron seriamente nuestra campaña pro voto pues pasamos del primer lugar al tercero, pero, como no tenìamos un contacto directo con la organizacion nuestros mensajes no fueron recibidos. Faltò un serio seguimiento a este experimento, en el cual se puso en juego la reputación de PERSONAS y DE GRUPOS que llevan mucho tiempo trabajando seriamente, pues declarar que “la iniciativa ha convocado a prácticas poco transparentes” y que generó “intervenciones fraudulentas en los servidores para INCREMENTAR las votaciones” es lavarse las manos y sembrar sizaña.
Es bien sabido que este tipo de prácticas son vulnerables y que la adulteración las hace ilegítimas entonces cualquiera que desee que el proceso sea invalidado fácilmente lo podría boicotear. Por eso, apoyamos la decisión de cancelar los seis cupos que se pretendían pero es algo que se sabía que ocurriría pues ya hemos tenido la experiencia*; cosa que nos parece misteriosa porque si se trata de especular, el que nunca haya habido una comunicación directa de los encargados con las bandas da pie para pensar que todo este circo estaba planeado y no querían que hubiese una cara responsable que enfrentara lo que sabían que se venía.
¿POR QUÉ EL SILENCIO DE LAS BANDAS? ¿POR QUÉ LAS BANDAS NO DICEN NADA, AÚN SABIENDO QUE HAY MUCHO POR DECIR? ¿SÒLO COMENTARIOS A REGAÑADIENTES? ¡OBVIO! A LAS BANDAS LES DA MIEDO SER VETADOS EN EL FESTIVAL.
A nosotros, no nos tiembla la mano ni la voz para reclamarles a las personas encargadas del proceso de votaciones que ¡NOS RESPETEN! ¡SOMOS GENTE! ¡NO SOMOS MERCANCÌA!, ¡RESPETEN A NUESTRO PÙBLICO, RESPETEN A LA GENTE QUE SE TOMÓ EL TIEMPO DE VOTAR, RESPETEN A LOS ARTISTAS, RESPETEN A LAS BANDAS Y LO MÀS IMPORTANTE, RESPETEN AL PÚBLICO!, ¿No les da vergüenza esta cátedra de incompetencia y de descaro?, No “celebren” el entusiasmo de los miles de seguidores de todas las bandas que acudieron a votar, pídanles disculpas a todos por su incompetencia, por su afán de mostrar cifras.
Seguimos esperando los detalles del estudio realizado por “una reconocida empresa de auditorías para garantizar el derecho a una información veraz y precisa a los y las votantes así como a las bandas postuladas y demás personas interesadas.”
*(votaciones festival altavoz 2009, mayor votaciòn: Los SuZioX, al final las votaciones fueron tomadas como “un simple sondeo” y no válidas, pero si tocaron las bandas que quedaron en el segundo y tercer puesto)
Sin miedo a consecuencias.
We’ve received some passionate responses. It seems Rock Al Parque has been controversial for some time and I guess that is to be expected for a festival that got so big so fast and is sponsored by the government.
For those of you following this story, here is a link to the Spanish language site Terra.com that did an article on Los Suziox and the Rock Al Parque voting controversy.
The Spanish version is HERE and to obtain an English translation with Google Translate go HERE and cut and paste (not a great translation but will give you a sense of what is going on).
12 thoughts on “Bogota’s “Rock Al Parque” a Fraud?”
Hi. We are a Batuke, Punk Rock band from Bogotá, Colombia.
We’ve been working for 5 years now trying to get a space in the local scene and, of course, play in Rock al Parque.
This festival turned into a huge mass of corruption where you can only get into and play if you actually know somebody inside the organization (judges, organizers, promoters, etc.).
What is shown to the rest of the world is manipulated by the organizers and is supposed to be a “transparent” and clean competition where everybody gets a chance.
The positions are handed between the bands inside the “rosca” (which kind of translates like a “screw”) from one year to the other. It is VERY RARE to see a new act at Rock al Parque.
So this supposedly great event, which was supposed to support local bands and give them a chance to show their music turned into a corrupt organization that lies to the world about it’s “support” and “opportunities” for Colombian and Latin American bands.
So we are with Los Suziox. It IS a fraud. These online votations had the same problem with ALL the bands that were picked to compete for votes ’cause we followed the process silently (which also was a corrupt since nobody understands how and why these bands were picked).
Rock al Parque became this huge monster that cannot be tamed. It has gone too far and nobody knows how to handle it anymore. It isn’t the great festival they show the world and it isn’t a clean competition. Please share this and let the world know what is REALLY going on.
Thank you for your time,
not a fraud just los suziox are a pretty lame band this guys sucks!
Well, as I point out in the blog, “good” is relative. But I know several thousand people in Colombia and the U.S. who would strongly disagree with you. But the point remains, how do bands get to play at “Rock Al Parque” (see comment from Batuke). If it’s not open or transparent process you are always going to have question marks as to the validity of the process. Especially if that process is put on by a government entity. I don’t know that Rock Al Parque is a fraud at all… that is why the subject is posed as a question rather than a statement. If they reply or respond in some manner I’ll be sure and publish that as well and let the readers, bands and attendees decide.
Thanks for the email Batuke. We’ve published your comments.
ke mal , todos nos comimos el cuento de ke rock al parke era un festival intachabkle , kizas transparente , pero vea , nos ekivokamos , nos ilusionaron con los suziox , tanto pa ke? para nada porke nos voltearon , al fin los suziox no tokaron…
they sing against the government but want to play in concerts with te government support… thats not transparent at all, like they reclaim. you can’t judge out of our country about one fest that you don’t know, you’re only post this because your friends want to make some noise in this failed attempt. this fraud it’s no even bigger than fraud of bands forget their origins and their ideas. this is the big deal. Punk for the mass, sell out our revolution. if the band had gone to the festival you had made a post complaining about this fraud? Rock al Parque is a fraud for many years and even knowing punk bands want to participate. the voice of the band calling to unity of scene to fight against this mafia sucks! they only wants their five minutes of fame! nothing more!
Spoken with the anger of a true punk rocker… but misdirected, ill informed and cliched. Yes, had they gone to Rock Al Parque we wouldn’t have posted this, but if you read back you will see that we criticized Rock Al Parque long before the voting controversy. We questioned why a band of Los Suziox’s caliber had not played the concert already and why were they having to jump through the hoops of a voting contest. As to playing a concert sponsored by the government, you can both criticize and participate in government at the same time. In fact, to simply criticize the government without participating accomplishes absolutely nothing. And as for selling out to the masses, get a new argument, that one is old, worn out and just plain doesn’t make sense. The fact is most punk bands and record labels, Los Suziox and Punk Outlaw Records included, don’t make a fucking penny.. in fact, we lose lots and lots of money so posers like yourself can sit on your ass, enjoy the music and then accuse hard working musicians of selling out every time they see a little bit of success. Stop with the stupidity already.
Well said Admin. The only reason to ignore any musicians that provoke and are talented, is to silence them, keep them down, these bands present the biggest danger to any organised establishment. Doesn’t this mean they’re truly punk?! And what better way to add insult to injury than to have a voting contest – It’s not the top 10 we’re debating but it’s easy to rig the outcome. Why is it so wrong that these bands want to spread the message? Why does being punk mean being underground and unheard of except by a select few? I think Punk, like all rebellions rose from a need to speak for those that couldn’t, especially in Latin America where the revolution is the real ‘sell out’. And WHY does being PUNK mean you have to starve or worse ignore your talent? Was Punk not born to rebel against this very circumstance? To challenge the establishment that has caused so much poverty and greed. How the hell are these artists to survive in a world that doesn’t GIVE back? And lets face it people, Capitalism is here to stay, so please stop insulting the intelligence of these artists. At the end of the day we all should want want these punk artists want – a more just world, that doesn’t mean they should always struggle to survive. If we resent punk being successful in any way, how others hear these important messages? I may very well be wrong but I sometimes think these musicians are called punk and that’s it – they’re constrained within these parameters and it’s easy to forget that they are also artists. I think nothing would be sweeter than a successful punk band whose message is being repeated by many rather than a few. “GOD SAVE THE QUEEN’ is an excellent example, living in a country (Australia) that supports a f***ing monarch … I love that this is a well known song. And hey, if they sell out, just don’t buy their next album … they’ll know soon enough.
I couldn’t agree more Mary. Very eloquently put. It pisses me off to no end the “punks” who reflexively yell “sell out’ and all manner of cliches..They are no better than the system they supposedly are rebelling against. Long live independent thought!
you think offending me changes something? Bitch please i dont care if you think i’m a destroy for my comment, and i’ll tell you something not to impose some idea, just for discuss and reflex. may in your state or country the corporate punk be something common, what we get of your events is suported by many big capitalist corporation (rock al parque only have ones). i understand your porgressive view of punk and the participation of anti-stablishment bands in capitalist events. no big deal.
the idea that Los Suziox don’t make part of the fest because are a threat to the sistem with their message it’s fake, in the fest will participate another band with the same message (or may most radical agaist the sistem) in the festival were participated a dissent bands ( like Desarme, polikarpa y sus viciosas, IRA, Pestilencia, KOP, triple x, sagrada escritura), so this idea dont have base. why you talk about the fraud that affect to all other bands like Ministerio de Vagancia???
when i talk about fame dont mean money like you think, i talk about be someone, the one milllon friends band! so not me are the poser in fact. I like that my comment bother you. that comfirm that the problem no are the fraud around the fest, the matter is that this time are your friend who cant get one part in this showcase.
Long live independent thought!?????? waiting the sistem offer us leftover scraps of our own taxes!!! Suck!!! and same way like suziox response to the people sometime i only can say… keep sucking, keep sucking bitches and cry in your bed meanwhile the fest run with or without you!
Not trying to offend you, anybody can do that, just countering your comments which didn’t make any sense and seemed quite closed minded, something I don’t think punk stands for. But I don’t think we can have a rational discussion anyway. My Spanish is not any good and your English seems to be lacking as well. We might even be on the same side of an issue and not even know it.
so I invite you to tune out of the blog. Suerte!
EDITORS NOTE: Here is a more measured comment from our FB page from another band in Colombia, further evidence it isn’t just sour grapes from one band. The Rock Al Parque seems to be systematically corrupt and political.
“Hi im Dalin Focazzio Vocals and guitar of 69enfermos another punk rock band from Bucaramanga Colombia ,we started back in 95 playing around colombia several times and in ecuador too ,weve sell almost 18.000 cds ,awards ,nominations etc,sharing stage with less than jake ,rufio (twice) ,a wilhelm scream etc.
This is our story:
Weve never play before in rock al parque ,we are from Bucaramanga a city that havent any representation at the festival ,we were the first band that noticed the online votations were corrupted since the day 3 but no one wanted to listen to us so we decided to put our name off the votations.
Its been such a humiliating process try to be part of rock al parque it seems that local punk rock bands dont mix at the festival unless you have participated before .
They said IDARTES that none band could be at the festival if they have played the last 5 years ,but you can notice in the programation that its full of bands that play years after year ,the same bands every year ,why???? but no one complains, thats the real problem ,people and bands stay quiet becuase they are afraid of bieng exclude from the festival forever.
But we dont ,weve made a solid and succesfull seventeen years- carreer without playing there.We exist even when we havent participated and not just us a lot of underground scene ,rock al parque doesnt represent the colombian musical scene ,world most realize as soon as possible.”