Over the weekend, the grandiose Electric Daisy Carnival made its way to Mexico City to what became the largest dance music festival in Mexico's history! 80,000 EDM lovers filled the Autodromo (speedway) Hermanos Rodriguez over their holiday weekend from Saturday to Sunday. Proving that dance music's stadium-filling popularity stretches far beyond the borders of the states, Mexico's capital embraced the culture as they immersed themselves in an experience they would have never imagined. From babies, kids, teenagers, to parents and even old school techno loving grandpas - everyone wanted to experience what El Carnaval de la Margarita Eléctrica (EDC) is all about.
We made the journey to the inaugural EDC Mexico to see how it compares to EDC Las Vegas and get a glimpse on how Mexico views dance music culture. As we roamed the festival grounds, enjoyed some of the top names in EDM, rode the carnival rides and even shuffled our way across the dance floor, we couldn't help but feel like we were at our first ever EDC all over again. Here's what caught our attention as we joined the all around elated festival-goers.
The People and Their Vibes From what we saw everyone was into the spirit of the festival. From the ladies outside selling flowered headbands and body paint, guards who walked us in saying they loved the bravery in wearing "raver" outfits, to the thousands of kids who dressed up in neon colors, rage hats, t-shirts saying common EDM phrases like "Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat" (also the name of a popular song by Fatboy Slim). Those not in the EDM scene (parents, grandparents, babies and children) were also mesmerized by the costumes asking to take pictures. Though it felt more like a Coachella minus the yuppies because of the variety, they soon engulfed themselves in the rave culture and left with their faces painted, glow sticks and kandi bracelets.
The Music We're not sure how many times we heard remixes of "Animals," "Summertime Sadness" and "This is What it Feels Like," but we noticed lots of main-stage DJs playing the same songs. Not to mention how many times they yelled into the mic, "Everybody Make Some Noise." The HARD stage artist like A-Trak and DJ Snake played schooled everyone with their mixing of electro, trap and dubstep which the younger crowds loved. While the Neon Garden had huge underground artist from Loco Dice to John Digweed, the techno crowd was surprisingly larger than in the states and everybody was vibing to the deep basslines and hypnotizing beats. From Mark Knight's proper house set to Tiga's funky techno, the noticeably older crowd never stopped dancing in the impressive Neon Garden.
The Decor Insomniac brought several EDC Las Vegas artifacts like Robert Jame's "Wish" art installation, fireworks, six carnival rides and four stages which includes the Mayan Art Cart on which local Discovery Project winners played. The cart was always popping while performers and dancers frolicked to the beats of local artist like Zaa and JCL. Everywhere you looked you saw daisies, flashing lights and performers which transformed the speedway into a festival unlike any other Mexico has seen before. The mechanical owl made the main stage look impressive and even the Dos Equis sponsored decorations and activities for attendees were in the spirit of EDC.
The Commercialization We loved Mexico's willingness to take part of American rave culture. However, when we saw a booth by Electrónica MX selling pre-made kandi bracelets it took away from the meaning of trading kandi. Though we have seen this in stores and at other more concert like events, this is not the kind of thing that Insomniac usually does. If anything they have a kandi making station as part of the crafts area for their camping events which promotes a more P.L.U.R (peace, love, unity and respect) mentality. We applaud Electrónica Mx for trying to help attendees feel a part of the dance music community, but a less commercialization of traditions would be better used.
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The Boozing One major difference we noticed was the amount of people who looked inebriated was much lower than most music festivals in the United States, despite the fact that the legal drinking age is 18 in Mexico. Maybe they can hold their liquor better, the alcohol was too expensive or they just don't feel the need to get wasted because it's not as taboo. Regardless, it was refreshing to see everyone getting into the music and going ape-shit on the dance floor without looking like they raided their parents liquor cabinet. We also saw a lot less cuddle puddles on the floors and even less kids on drugs which was equally invigorating. No lights shows here, just straight grooving to the music.