American DJ Diplo brings music festival to Pakistan to build bridges following Trump tweet

Two-time Grammy winner Diplo, along with a host of other electronic and hip-hop acts, performed to more than 2,500 young people in Islamabad over the weekend

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 February, 2018, 6:31pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 February, 2018, 6:39pm

American DJ and record producer Diplo brought his Mad Decent Block Party to Pakistan’s capital over the weekend, headlining a roster of musicians including local Pakistani acts.

For two-time Grammy winner Diplo, playing in Pakistan is a way to foster good relations with the mostly Muslim country after an angry tweet from US President Donald Trump complaining that Pakistan gives “terrorists” a safe haven.

“I think the best way we can do any kind of diplomacy with the Pakistani people is [to] … basically reach out to the kids like we do at the concerts,” Diplo told TMZ last month after the Trump tweet, which has soured US-Pakistan relations.

DJ, rapper, producer Diplo is everywhere

He added that by having US acts connect with the large youth population – an estimated 60 per cent of Pakistanis are younger than 30 – “they can grow into being our allies”.

More than 2,500 young people crowded into an outdoor venue in the capital, Islamabad, to a scaled-down version of the event known for bringing together some of the hottest names in dance-hall, hip-hop and electronic music.

Among the headliners were Diplo’s chart-topping side project Major Lazer Soundsystem, DJ Chrome Sparks and Pakistani duo SNKM, who have played the South by Southwest festival and toured with Diplo in the US.

“There’s a lot of bridges being built between here and the US” says SNKM’s Adil Omar, who also has a successful hip-hop career, and a new album and film Transcendence to be released this year.