Brazil is known for its Samba and beautiful nature. However, the country is becoming a paradise for electronic music lovers each day. You probably heard an announcement during David Guetta‘s set at Tomorrowland 2014, the 10-year anniversary of the festival. That was a game changer for some people in the tropics. Tomorrowland was coming to Brazil as well. The years of 2015, 2016 and 2017 were definitely the “Golden Years” for international electronic music festivals in Brazil, especially the very commercial ones.
In 2015 they had the first edition of Tomorrowland Brasil (Book of Wisdom theme) in April and the first and only edition of EDC in São Paulo in December. The next year, 2016, Brazil had the second edition of Tomorrowland Brasil (The Key of Happiness theme) with more acts and stages, bigger than the first one. During that year Ultra Music Festival returned to the country after 3 years away, moving from São Paulo 2013 to Rio de Janeiro 2016. In 2017 they had even more events: the first editions of Dekmantel Festival, Electric Zoo Festival with one Awakenings stage (first and only), Milkshake Festival, DGTL, and Elrow, plus the second edition of Ultra Rio.
If you are Brazilian, you probably got so happy about it that you haven’t thought about the reason for all of this. If you are not Brazilian, you maybe have wondered why Brazil. For this answer, there are some points to talk about. Let’s dive deeper into the Brazilian electronic music history, deep enough for you guys to understand why Brazil became an international festival destination and its ups and downs.
An electronic music scene to call your own
Ever since electronic music was born, Brazilian people were mostly influenced by genres coming from abroad. The 1990s and 2000s saw the waves of House, Techno, PsyTrance, and Drum ‘n’ Bass grow over huge events, but still rare to the country, like ID&T’s Sensation. One of the biggest waves was the Psytrance one, moving thousands of people to huge national festivals like Tribe and XXXperience that exists until today. Due to the spread of all these genres and their worldwide spread, the country started to have an exclusive list of national DJs, like DJ Marky, Patife, Anderson Noise, Gui Boratto, Mario Fischetti, and many others, who were playing and producing. Those artists were still very connected to the European scene, almost like mere messengers of this musical revolution, still so new to the Brazilian market.
Clubs like Sirena in Maresias beach, São Paulo coastline, and Anzuclub, in Itú, were some of the main venues where big DJs could come and play for electronic music fans. Also, the Brazilian electronic music “meca” was becoming famous. The state of Santa Catarina, with Jurerê International clubs like P12 and Café de la Musique, and others in Balneário Camburiú like Green Valley and Warung were a “must see” for any electronic music fan.
The real deal started when the market created a native electronic music genre. This was the real game changer. For those ones who don’t know, we present you the Brazilian Bass. This genre mixes up House structures, or sometimes Deep House, with a very aggressive Bass sounds, creating something unique. This formula got very accepted by the younger generations, becoming a national fever. Early 2012 and 2013, the biggest names in the scene started to grow.
DJs and producers Alok and Vintage Culture were essential to such change. Turning electronic music into something more popular than before. This was the biggest shift their market had so far. Of course, the “EDM bubble” was hitting them out there as well, with annual David Guetta’s tours, and many other big names coming to the country for some shows, like Calvin Harris, Kaskade, etc. All these facts prepared the country and its market for what was coming next!
The Brazilian Bass bubble and the international festival destination
Because of the spread of the internet, the Brazilian market got more connected to the rest of the world, which gave them the chance to consume European and North American DJs more often. This helped EDM invade the country, creating national big names like Ftampa and Marcelo Cic. So, with a more well-informed fan base, electronic music started to grow faster in the country. Agencies and promoters thought this was their chance to expand and put some ideas in motion. Some examples are national festivals like Dreamvalley, which brought many big DJs to Itajaí in Santa Catarina. For 3 years they were one of the biggest electronic music festivals in the country, bringing names like Nicky Romero, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, and many others.
In 2014 you could see that the market was taken by EDM and Brazilian Bass, sharing spaces in events, clubs and small festivals. It was about time for international festivals to arrive. By that time, the Brazilian economy was stronger, with the exchange rate to the dollar was “Okay”. Take that into account, so you can understand what happens next. It was on that year that Plusnetwork (ID&T Brazil), the agency who brought Tomorrowland to Brazil, started planning what would change the market forever.
The first edition of Tomorrowland Brasil came, and it was almost flawless. Many visitors came from Europe, the US and Latin American countries to live this unique event on Brazilian grounds. The venue was very perfect for it, with a bigger natural hill creating the mainstage amphitheater so perfect that it looked like it was destined to it. The festival had all the infrastructure flying from Belgium, and it was a landmark to the recent born Brazilian electronic music scene. A great mix of international DJs and new Brazilian stars were part of the line-up, showing that Brazilian Bass was a reality. The same happened at EDC São Paulo, by the end of 2015, with a huge mix of EDM and Br Bass on the line-up.
Together with Alok and Vintage Culture, many other Brazilian DJs and producers started to pop-up playing that new sound of Brazilian Bass. By the end of 2015, we had a strong roster of DJs who were making money with this national genre. Tomorrowland second edition was already planned for April 2016 and the fans couldn’t be happier. Our economic situation got worse, and the dollar rate rose. Due to that, it was more expensive to bring international DJs and events to the country.
In a sense, this made it possible for the Brazilian Bass DJs to ascend more and more, once they were paid in local currency. This helped indeed the national scene to develop and gave chance to create what we now can call a Brazilian electronic music scene. Like described before, 2016 were more mellow regarding international events. However, 2017 came strong with first editions of Dekmantel Festival, Electric Zoo Festival (first and only), Milkshake Festival, DGTL, and Elrow, plus the second edition of Ultra Rio.
Cheaper and/or smaller than Tomorrowland, those festivals saw the opportunity of a growing market, with many consumers and perfect locations in the beautiful country of Brazil. Brazilians are well-known for their joy and happiness, also their craziness. Carnaval is a great example of it. So, mixing up the best electronic music events in the world with the craziest crowd, BOOM, you have the perfect set up for a party!
All those characteristics summed up to a better structure of the scene resulted in the evolution of a Brazilian electronic music market. Of course, it is more complicated than this, but we won’t go deeper this time.
Brazilian reality in 2019
On the past years, Dekmantel and DGTL stayed put in Brazil, bringing better and more consistent editions. Elrow made various appearances in 2018 and will be back to Laroc Club now in July. We also had the first edition of Time Warp Brazil last year, brought by Entourage agency. The German festival had its first edition in São Paulo, and it will be back in Novemeber this year for the second. The underground events are more often in the country, developing its electronic music scene more and more. Still, the dollar exchange rate is very high, making it very hard for promoters to bring those events to the country and to make their Brazilian editions.
Smaller parties and labels are more economically viable. Brazil had its first edition of Solomun’s Dyinamic Festival last year at Laroc Club, and they just have also a CIRCOLOCO BRAZIL in São Paulo, both organized by Plusnetwork agency (the same that has brought Tomorrowland in the past). Maybe we can expect more and more of those smaller label parties and their quality DJs. Brazilians cannot complain their scene are not well nurtured by great electronic music events, but the “golden days” are missed.
A question pretty much all electronic music fans make: “When is Tomorrowland coming back to Brazil?”. The fans hope this is soon! It is unlikely to happen with this economic situation, but like Brazilians are, they never stop dreaming!