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45,000 Go Raving Mad @Skol Beats in Brazil

Author: Skruff
Monday, 30 April 2001
45,000 Go Raving Mad @Skol Beats in Brazil (review)
Last weekend's trio of Brazilian electronic music festivals attracted over 45,000 clubbers, prompting organisers Skol Beats to declare the tour; 'a major success'. Over 10,000 people partied at the events in Curitiba and Rio de Janeiro, while more than 25,000 attended the São Paulo festival. Professionally organised to the standard of European events like Homelands and Dance Valley, the festivals' success highlights the growing popularity of electronic music in a country previously dominated by US rock.

Sao Paulo's party took place at the Formula One racing track- indeed, the house tent was positioned on the track itself. The festival also had tents for techno (organized in association with The End), trance and drum & bass (with London club Movement) and many foreign attractions were on the bill. The two who most rocked it were Roger Sanchez and Richie 'Plastikman' Hawtin, playing in the house and techno tents respectively. Christopher Lawrence also faired well in the trance tent, proving that uplifting melodic trance still strikes a chord among many Brazilian clubbers.

H-Foundation, represented only by Hipp-E, played very early on in São Paulo which meant that less than 100 people were there to see him in the house tent. He had, however, kicked ass the night before in Curitiba. John Digweed was on at the same time in São Paulo in the trance tent, but drew more people. Although more than a few were disappointed he succeeded in getting many others going (and he did rock it big time in Rio). So much so that Digweed later said he wanted Bedrock to have a tent at next year's Skol Beats events. Mr. C also did well in Curitiba and São Paulo, but found himself spinning to less than 100 people in Rio, due to his very early time slot.

The biggest disappointments were DJ Rolando and Joe Clausell. The former managed to clear a packed techno tent and even what seemed to be the only real trick up his sleeve, "Knights Of The Jaguar", was greeted with more cynicism than enthusiasm. Joe Clausell delivered dodgy mixes and closed his set with an iffy "Is This Love", by Bob Marley, which prompted many puzzled faces across the dancefloor.

One thing that Skol Beats proved is that Brazilians are no longer prepared to suck up to foreign DJs just because they are foreign. If one doesn't deliver, people will leave. This has a lot to do with the fact that many Brazilian DJs nowadays have become just as good as their foreign colleagues. The crowd know that and are totally prepared to back their local heroes. In no other arena was this more evident than in the in the drum & bass tent, where DJ Marky was greeted as a true popstar. The same, although not quite on the same hysterical level, happened with Marky cohort Patife. The drum & bass tent was definitely one of the most full-on spaces of the event, proving that the genre remains one of Brazil's most popular, despite its flagging status elsewhere. Other Brazilian DJs who excelled were Mau Mau, Jason Bralli, Alex S, Renato Cohen and Mezz man Camilo Rocha who blew DJ Rolando out of the water with a devastatingly funky techno set. Skol Beats have already confirmed they'll be staging more festivals again in 2002 and with rumours of more beer companies looking to back raves, Brazil's scene looks set for ever more rapid expansion.
Jonty Adderley & Camilo Rocha
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