Since popular rap group Broederliefde (in Dutch, ‘brotherly love’) from Rotterdam, with backgrounds from Curaçao, Dominican Republic and Cape Verde, attracted too many people at Gorinchem’s summer festival in 2017, the mayor has now banned the music style this year altogether ‘for security reasons’. The ban is being understood very differently by the Dutch media, accusing the Caucasian mayor of different shades of racism. Sure, safety is important, but this doesn’t seem like the best way to go about it. Why not get smaller, lesser known urban acts instead of punishing an entire segment of the Dutch population?
Not only is the ‘no urban’ thing doing the rounds in the media, it’s even a selling point on the festival’s website: “no urban, but still a party”, with acts that are the polar (ha, pun) opposite of urban, that is, carnivalesque après-ski music from the whitest of Caucasian Dutch men, amusingly enough called De Gebroeders Ko, which means the ‘Ko brothers’ who are also brothers just like Broederliefde.
Last year fights broke out when Broederliefde was performing, and that has made the mayor weary of anything urban, leading to an all out ban in the name of security. Problem is, there’s tons of urban-like music being played at festivals throughout the Netherlands and elsewhere, but the mayor is turning it into a ‘we don’t want black music [who is ‘we’ many people ask] because it attracts a bad element’ without flat out saying something overtly racist.
To drive the point home, one of the people in charge of programming (I bet he’s white) even said ‘we don’t want any acts like Ronnie Flex or Lil Kleine because they attract too many people. It’s scary to know that being popular is a reason to ban an entire genre of music that is mainly represented around the world by non Caucasians.
UPDATE: Hip hop and R&B festival Encore in Amsterdam is letting thefirst 300 visitors from Gorinchem in for free.