TV Martí obtained an exclusive home video of this year’s “Rotilla Festival,” an outdoor music festival that organizers say was “hijacked” by the Cuban government.
The Rotilla Festival is a three-day “rave” held in early August on Jibacoa Beach, 35 miles east of Havana. Started in 1998 by a small group of independent producers and DJs, the goal of the festival was to bring electronic and “alternative” music to young Cubans. Over the years the festival’s wide variety of music and its embrace of social campaigns have attracted loyal followings. The festival is described by some as “Cuba’s Woodstock” and drew 20,000 fans last year.
The success of the event attracted the attention of the international media and alarmed Cuban officials, according to the organizers. The government took over organization of the event this year, changing its name to “Days of youth music, Jibacoa summer”.
The amateur video obtained by TV Marti showed that the government-controlled festival garnered low attendance, and recorded festival goers complaints about the selection of performers, insufficient facilities and overwhelming police presence.
“The beach is almost empty, the sound is bad,” said one attendee.
“The police are everywhere,” another participant said on the video. “It’s too much–no one can relax and enjoy the music.”
TV Martí broadcast the video on its news show “Cuba al Dia” as well as online at http://www.martinoticias.com/noticias/La-Rotilla-secuestrada-y-renombrada–128812828.html