Tiblisi's Rave-olution

May 14, 2018

Musical activism is as old as music itself. Certain styles have been condescended upon since their very beginning, and, in turn, have been rebellious in spirit. Last weekend, the youth of Georgia showed how electronic dance music can be used for this purpose too.

 

[ this protest sign was on display at a techno party in Brooklyn's The Well this Sunday]

 

On Friday, multiple international news sources reported on a crackdown on clubs in the capital of Georgia. Bassiani and Café Gallery, two of Tiblisi’s central nightlife hubs, were raided in an attempt to, allegedly, arrest a handful of drug dealers. Reading from Bassiani’s statement following this incident, the procedures were in fact part of a larger plan to tackle thriving nightlife venues. Even though the police ultimately only arrested 8 people, they detained dozens of people, which, according to a local source, was no more than a “demonstration of force”.  

 

Although it is not the first time that a crackdown on this scale takes place in a major city - one example would be New York’s rigid enforcement of its absurd “cabaret law” in the late 1990s - this particular one has set in motion a social movement that transcends mere musical ideology. That is, this weekend hundreds of citizens from Tiblisi and beyond have demanded the resignation of the prime minister and interior minister by way of organising a major dance event in front of the national parliament. 

 

 [ footage of the festive protest in Tiblisi, Georgia ]

 

Techno as a means of demonstration is a rather unusual phenomenon, especially on a scale as big as this. Nevertheless it proves to be a powerful tool in getting together a crowd. Instead of an angry mob, however, the protest was a peaceful one, which goes to show that the music and its scene is not necessarily a criminal, drug-infused one, but rather one of harmony and mutual understanding. 

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