Ecuador: Three Years After the Factory Tragedy

April 19, 2011 marked the third anniversary of the well-known Factory Case: the fire at the Factory discotheque in Ecuadorian capital Quito in 2008, during a Gothic-rock concert. There were 19 deaths as a result of the fire and 24 wounded. Among the deceased were all the members of the rock band Zelestial, and even now some of the survivors suffer repercussions from the tragedy.

Although there was a trial and sentence in the case, the family and friends of the victims continue to meet to plead for justice, and above all, the non-exclusion of rockers of diverse genres, permitting them to come together and perform in any part of the city and not only in secluded places with dubious security.

Banner reads: "Factory no more". Image by Juan Arellano.

Banner reads: "Factory no more". Image by Juan Arellano.

At the time various Ecuadorian bloggers were concerned about the subject, like Sick boy on Wild child's Journal, who denounced [es] the sensationalism and the prejudice of society towards those who like Gothic rock:

El contexto de “un show publico cualquiera que terminó en tragedia” se ha trastocado hacia “una secta que buscaba la muerte”, o “jóvenes confundidos q adoraban a Satán”, o hasta “piromaniaticos terroristas”, bla bla bla… […] Un simple gusto musical pasa a ser prejuicio de unos cuantos que nos creen dementes, y que sin una “ayuda profesional” quizás terminemos matándonos entre nosotros o haciéndole daños a terceros… así el rockero retratado como antisocial capaz de cometer atrocidades cobra fuerza…

The context of “a public show that ends in tragedy” has trickled down to “a sect seeking death”, or “confused youths who love Satan”, even up to “pyromaniac terrorists”, blah blah blah…[…] A simple musical preference turns into a prejudice of some who think us demented, and who without “professional help”  will probably end up killing one another and doing harm to others… and so the rocker is portrayed as an anti-social capable of committing atrocities gains momentum…

Alexis Cuzme of De Ciudad Hecatombe (From Hecatombe City) touches on [es] the same theme, and moreover, signals the difficulties faced by those who organise these type of shows:

Muchos de los organizadores de conciertos rockeros prefieren hacerlos subterráneos, en salas más o menos acondicionadas para albergar a cien o hasta doscientos espectadores, no buscan los permisos legales porque es un trámite donde la burocracia deja ver su poder, y sobre todo porque siempre habrán interminables y absurdos peros para que se evite un concierto de rock (el prejuicio en su mejor forma).

Many rock concert organisers prefer to move underground, in more or less air-conditioned rooms that hold a hundred to two hundred and fifty spectators, instead of getting legal permits because it's a system where bureaucracy rears it's head, and over all because they always find unending and absurd “buts” to avoid having a rock concert (prejudice at its best).

Last April 19, there was a great homage at the Plaza Grande of Quito and an effort to sensitise people about this issue by the family and friends of the victims:

One of the activists saw it fit to comment on this:

As part of the activities of the three painful successive years, a rock concert festival was held, Factory nunca más 2011 [es] (Factory no more), and a discussion panel. As well as homage on blogs and videos.

This case [es], like the one involving the República Cromañón club in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the one with the Utopía [es] club in Lima, Perú, and many more, are an evidence of the informality and irresponsibility of the kind that unravels many spectacles and entertainment venues for youths in Latin America, regardless of the social class they belong to.

-Post originally published on  Globalizado [es], Juan Arellano's blog.
-Milton Ramirez, Helen Siers and Cati Restrepo collaborated in transcribing, translating and subtitling the second video in this post.

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