I almost have no words to describe what I have just experienced. When Insomniac throws a party, fans know it will be a stellar event. EDC Mexico is touted as their best festival next to Vegas, and after attending, I see exactly why. Everything is an experience, from the culture and history of Mexico City, the crowd, the production value, and the lineup curation that attendees have come to expect from an Insomniac event.
Mexico City is in and of itself, a cultural mecca of epic proportions. My friend and I flew in early so that we could take in the city we had both always dreamed of visiting. From the air, Mexico city is a sprawling glimmering light in a gorgeous valley surrounded by magnificent mountains as far as the eye can see. As the largest metropolitan area in the Western Hemisphere, and the oldest capital city in the Americas, it is truly a sight to behold. Skyscrapers mix with Spanish, French, Colonial, and Islamic architecture in the downtown area. Our hotel was right next to the “Angel,” a very famous monument built for their century of Mexican Independence. The angels’ wings striking gold glimmered in the sun, inviting us to take on the beauty of the flowers surrounding the plaza. Their culture and heritage are so strongly held, that historically anyone native to the city would explain their deep love for religion, but also their sense of remembrance of the past. Every church built in Mexico city was built on a former Mayan pyramid to impose Christianity/Catholicism, and the city is full of them. We had the esteemed pleasure to take a guided tour of their museums, marketplaces, downtown plaza, and the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Assumption. Their cathedral, in my opinion, rivaled the Vatican in Rome. I could think of nothing more exciting than having a festival in a country that has beckoned me to return for my now 14th visit. Mexico, you are my favorite Country to travel to. I always keep going back for more.
We were very interested to take in the full EDC experience. The most interesting thing that struck me was the all-ages aspect. This was definitely not an 18 plus fest. I saw everything from 50 years to even younger than 14, all smiling, chanting, cheering and standing in a line that seemed to sprawl forever awaiting entrance to the Speedway. If you were smart, and we were, an English to Spanish translator was very helpful in helping us organize many things for the festival. I was able to use the minimal “Spanglish” I picked up in Miami to navigate us around slightly, although we got lost frequently due to the size of the grounds. Upon arriving at the VIP entrance after assuming the GA entrance was where we wanted, we breathed a sigh of relief and messaged our friends attending later in the day explicit instructions for taxi drop off.
Upon entry, we were greeted by some of the most beautiful and uniquely designed stages that I have witnessed in a Festival of this size. The Parliment art car was the first stage we passed, a beautiful boat tricked out with neon LED lights surrounding the entire hull, and a human-sized Insomniac Owl dancing with the DJs. The Dosequis stage was lit up with huge red LED X’s and massive screens surrounding the area, Circut Grounds and Neon Garden were very similar in design to EDC Vegas, but witnessing Gaia in person for the first time at Kinetic Field was truly magical. Tim had discussed at length with me how it was one of his favorite stages, and after missing several opportunities last year to see it in person, I now understood why. Gaia brought back memories of my studies in Egyptian, Grecian, and Mayan mythology. What an incredible feeling to be standing in the city that was a Mayan Mecca in front of a new age monolith.
The crowd is so polite in Mexico City. Lines formed to take photos with each piece of artwork, and attendees were friendly and patient while everyone achieved the “correct angles” for their photographs. This was a first for me. Neatly organized cues for everything. In fact, one of my favorite memories that I will cherish about the vibes of this particular fest was the crowd. The energy was electric. I met so many wonderful people who stopped me every 5 minutes to take photos with me and jump in unison to a song they loved. Even the DJ’s brought a special flavor and played a few tracks in their sets that added to the Latin experience. It did not matter what language you did or did not speak, everyone was overly friendly, inclusive, and eager to meet you and dance with you.
Musically Neon Garden won my heart for the majority of the festival. So many amazing DJ’s were packed into one of the most stellar multi-genre lineups I have seen, and the two days we spent were quite the marathon. Upon arrival, we headed to watch Moon Boots, who I had been itching to witness again since ABGT 250. His set was impressive. I found a comfortable and cool place to dance and nearly lost my mind when he dropped Harddrive’s “Deep Inside.” If you are looking for the future of House music, I highly recommend you keep your eyes peeled on him. I’m calling it now, he is the next Duke Dumont. Christoph followed with an equally excellent tech house set that absolutely blew me away. It was my first time seeing him, and he absolutely lived up to the hype. We then needed a change of scenery, so we were pulled by psy-trance resonating from the Upside Down House. Zyrus 7, a name we had not yet heard, but will never forget, played a uniquely curated set. You never know what you will find casually waltzing over to see a younger crowd going absolutely bonkers for what may have been their first exposure to the genre. Impressive.
Obviously, you can’t visit Mexico without trying Mexican Food. We certainly got our fill of it, as well as one of the best hamburgers of my life at a truck stand on Saturday, complete with a full pig on a spit for tacos… head and all. Was a perfect “void filler” as Tim would say, after working up an appetite.
We then headed to Kinetic Field to watch the opening ceremony for Gaia. I was assured this was a not to be missed moment, and indeed one I will always cherish. Holding one of my best friends I have had the pleasure to fest with, attending our first buddy festival together, and basically getting mushy. (What can I say, I am a total sap sometimes). ATB made good, yet mainstream choices, but apparently, I saved just enough energy to dance on the “other side of the wall” on the Skydeck to Eric Prydz. I had never seen Prydz play a mainstage set, and I loved every moment of it. Afterward, we headed to Maceo Plex, but lacking energy decided to call it a night after a half hour.
Leaving the festival early was apparently not just our idea. We waited quite some time for our friendly Uber driver to pick us up, yet ultimately ended up back home around the same time people leaving at the end had. Lesson learned, next time Uber to the fest, and cab ride back.
We awoke early the next morning, and after having coffee and breakfast decided to head by 2 P.M. to see BlackGummy. His set at EZOO last year was easily in my top five for 2017. To accomplish arriving early from the hotel district to the festival takes quite a bit of preparation. Mexico city traffic is similar to New York, so leaving an hour earlier than intended is typically the best course of action. We made it just in time to see the beginning of his set. We purchased two double beers for the equivalent of $10.00 USD. You will most assuredly never go thirsty in Mexico. The value of this festival is absolutely incredible. I honestly can’t believe how inexpensive it was.
BlackGummy was phenomenal as usual, and my friend wanted to introduce me to one of his favorite DJ’s ever, CID. I could see why Tim was so enamored with his set. A New York local and Grammy award winner, CID is a powerhouse of fun effervescent flavors ranging from House and mainstream EDM. Fun for all ages. Definitely all ages, I could have sworn a 10-year-old asked me for a cigarette during his performance. Goldfish afterward caught my attention for much longer than we had intended. Their live band setup reminded me so much of early Big Gigantic, or Griz. It was the one time in the festival I wished I could have been in two places at once. I had my heart set on Fisher, whos set at Dirty Bird East Coast was my favorite of that weekend. Once we arrived back in Neon Garden I was home. Fisher downed a huge bottle of tequila and mastered those decks like no other performance I have witnessed in years. This guy gets down. I think I have found my new favorite party DJ. No Joke. Would see multiple times again. He doesn’t just bring the party, Fisher IS the party.
I couldn’t miss a visit to my Anjuna Family Andrew Bayer and Ilan Bluestone, but to be honest, I was so hungry by this time I had to eat or perish. We ordered a pizza in VIP and listened to the rest of their set, along with Key 4050. Cirez D had a very notable set afterward back at Neon, but after about an hour we were ready to find a great spot for Above & Beyond, and my favorite producer in the entire world Deadmau5. We spent the first half hour of Above & Beyond on the Ferris Wheel because how do you go to EDC and not at least ride one ride? These rides looked pretty crazy to me. Most we saw went all the way upside down… we felt more comfortable with our good old standby. The crowd looked absolutely massive from the top for Marshmello at Kinetic. I would love to see an aerial view of that. Above & Beyond were incredible as usual, but Deadmau5 and his cube was the cherry on top to an absolutely phenomenal weekend. I only wish I wasn’t so spent at this point to where I had to rest a good majority of the time. (Old lady raver problems). He played an absolutely superb classic set… and yes, I cried. No love affair with a festival would be complete without a set from Joel. He always gives you what you deserve, but this time… he gave me what I needed. Thank you Deadmau5.
As a total package, EDC Mexico is one of my favorite fests I have ever attended. Everything from the city, the crowd, the company, and the music were absolutely phenomenal. I can’t think of one thing I would change or improve. Well, except perhaps my Spanish speaking ability, as I absolutely intend to revisit. Mexico always beckons me back. I can’t wait to see what she has in store for my 15th trip. She wants me back. Tim put it best. “So glad we got to experience this together. We made lifelong memories.” Yes, certainly. EDC Mexico, you have my heart. Can we rewind and do it all again?