Baja Beach Fest Continues Despite Local Violence

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Videos by American Songwriter

Organizers of the popular Baja Bach Fest, which is located south of the American border, said the massive annual reggaeton and Latin music festival will go on as planned, despite reports of local violence.

The festival, which has been held in Mexico’s Rosarito Beach since 2018, spans Friday (August 12) through Sunday (August 21), weekends only.

On Saturday (Aug.13), officials said the festival will continue despite those reports of violence, fires, and roadblocks in nearby areas. The news comes amidst a Tijuana consulate order that U.S. government employees shelter in place until further notice.

Media reports from nearby areas have alerted residents to cars on fire and police activity in Tijuana, Mexicali, Rosarito, Ensenada, and Tecate as recently as Friday night (Aug 12). Reports also indicated that in Ciudad Juarez there were multiple businesses torched and 11 people killed.

According to reports, the violence seems to have been enflamed over a dispute between rival cartel gangs.

Festival officials wrote on social media that they were cognizant “of the unfortunate events.”

They added, “Safety is our number one concern when organizing an event of this size,” the post read. “We have been working diligently with city, state, and federal officials, and have been advised that these events were isolated and that all safety measures are being taken in the surrounding areas in Baja to ensure you have a safe and memorable experience.”

The post continued, “As always, look out for your friends, and if you see anything please call local authorities and direct all communication directly us, Baja Beach Fest (email info@bajabeachfest.com.).”

According to an email sent to Rolling Stone, organizers of the festival said things at the festival, itself, were going well. The email read, “Last night, Baja Beach Fest safely transported 3,500+ festival attendees to and from Tijuana and Rosarito with no issues,” the email said. “We have increased the amount of shuttle busses available in Tijuana for all fans who might be experiencing transport issues (based on availability).”

Organizers added that highway and toll roads were clear and there were no reports of border crossing issues and hotels in the nearby towns mentioned above hadn’t reported problems.

As of Saturday, no acts had cancelled—headlines for the weekend included Daddy Yankee, Brandi MS, and more. Though, Rolling Stone reports that performers, off the record, noted feeling fearful of the violence.

Dominican musician Tokischa, who performed Friday, tweeted, “As a person, I never imagined I’d be escorted by the police, so I can go from Tijuana to Rosarito back & forth cuz there’s a cartel curfew, my respect to everyone that’s been going through all this in Mexico.”

Differing reports from attendees have expressed concern, wondering why the festival was continuing, while others said everything was being blown out of proportion.

Day passes for the fest are marked at $179. The first Baja Beach Fest brought in 15,000 attendees.

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