The first time I went to Rotilla I was 15, there were 50 of us and the conditions were very bad. I never went back until this Saturday and I’ve come home with one certainty: it was worth it. When the bus got to Jibacoa beach I felt I’d made the trip on an airplane, that is that I’d landed in another country.
There were more than 5000 people housed in the place and and for hours it didn’t stop raining but no one cared. The organizers had put up four stages: video, techno music, rock-rap and fusion (I went back and forth between the last two). The people with their tents danced, swam in the sea, saying, finally, that Rotilla had “tremendous voltage.” However, among the young were some men in checked shirts* who didn’t seem to fit in with the event… I wondered what they would do in the area besides be bored.
The bad thing is I feel incapable of writing a realistic chronical of my last 24 hours on the beach, it was all sensory overload: freedom and joy would be the best summary of what I lived at this festival. Here are some photos and a little video of the concert of La Babosa Azul.
Translator’s note Men in checked shirts = The poorly “disguised” security services.
This is an excerpt to a version of the song, Epitaph for Vladimir Visotski by Karsmarski Jacek (Polish dissident songwriter), which includes Ciro Diaz in his latest album, The Blue Slug, that I listened to compulsively for at least two months, especially on the street with my mp3 inherited from a friend who now has an I-pod. (Download the lyrics here) (Download the recording and album cover here) The song (in summary, which runs about ten minutes) is about a desperate artist going through the circles of hell in search of an answer or death, and at the end of his journey there is only loneliness and the weight of the supreme power above himself. So I found myself at times catching the bus across Havana at 12 noon in August under the perennial sunshine and with the distressing feeling of not going anywhere, or arriving too late, or going for pleasure ... I feel that I have already arrived at the eighth enclosure (this is the finale of the song) where there is nothing, and I feel useless and empty, and I look at people without faith who walk along the street and who have so much fear that they no longer know they're afraid, and who have seen so many Roundtables and so many news broadcasts that they no longer know what belongs to reality or just to the TV screen. They cannot discern that they no longer believe, but cannot disbelieve either, and just move along past me not going anywhere.