Last weekend more than 100,000 people filled Autodromo (speedway) for the fourth coming of EDC in Mexico City. Like EDC Las Vegas, the weather was hot, the traffic was horrendous and none of it mattered because Mexico was ready to get its dance on. There were plenty of similarities to the US held Electric Daisy Carnivals but they also do things a little different down in Mexico. Here’s what we observed during our two days of fun under the electric sky at EDC Mexico.
What was once a wetland area between mountains CDMX was first developed by the Aztec and as the area dried up and the Spanish invaded, it became the epicenter for Mexico. The modern vs. traditional culture clash which provides a great diversity of experiences. Getting from one side to another can take the better part of your afternoon, however there is a speedy and very cheap Metro Tren system to assist. Uber also was very helpful. We spent a total of about $35 with Uber over the course of the weekend. Our longest trip lasted over an hour on the way to the festival grounds and cost just over $6. Getting to the festival grounds was quite reminiscent the trek to EDC Las Vegas. The highways were packed and people were hoofing it in from miles around. The police presence was noticeably heavier in Mexico but despite any stories we had heard of police misconduct we found the police seemed to keep to themselves throughout the weekend.
The festival is held at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez Raceway near the heart of Centro Mexico City. The festival was placed in the south part of the site which lacks the towering bleachers that enclose the north part of the track. The lack of high rising bleachers surrounding the stages gave the festival a distinctly different feel from the Las Vegas Speedway. Surprisingly the track was peppered with areas of grass and trees which made it feel more like a park than a race track. Without any easy points of reference on the horizon, it took some time to find all the stages and it took us a while to get a good sense of where we located at certain times. But after a few hours of aimless wandering between sets, we eventually found the unique layout to be rather interesting with plenty of areas to lounge in the grass or under the trees that you wouldn’t find at other EDC venues.
When we first saw the main stage, we were a bit underwhelmed by its size. While we weren’t expecting the same kind of production as EDC Vegas we were expecting something pretty impressive. Our reservations were quickly squashed when the main screen kicked into action. A massive circular screen that absolutely trumped anything we had seen before. Its impressive graphics and massive size were more than a little awe inspiring. As with any EDC the pyrotechnics, lasers, fountains and lighting were nothing short of breathtaking. Twice, though the main stage generators failed which left the whole crowd standing in silence for several long minutes while the techs worked to get the production back online. This was enough to send us off in search of other stages where the party was still rolling.
We were quite impressed by the variety of secondary stages at EDC Mexico. Neon Garden was housed inside a massive tent with a towering five story stage that housed the DJs almost to the roof. The Dos Equis stage was a veritable arena or screens so bright that you might as well have been dancing in the daylight. One of the most unique stages we’ve seen at any EDC was the Upsidedown House. A literal house built on its roof with multiple levels and a working chimney, certainly one of the cooler stages we had seen before. Although my personal favorite stage was easily the Wasteland stage. Built out of burned out cars and old graffiti covered shipping containers and topped off with a giant crab that surrounded the whole stage, the Wasteland stage was a bass heavy madhouse that packed so many lasers and lighting effects that it rivaled the mainstage in its sheer awesomeness.
Mexico certainly has embraced dance music. Nearly every cab we got into all weekend had trance or house coming out of the speakers but the festival atmosphere we enjoy back in the states hasn’t fully materialized in Mexico yet. While we did see the occasional painted up festival goers covered in candy with their butt cheeks hanging out, the majority of the crowd was happy to rock jeans and tshirts even in the heat of the day. Employees walked around with large trays of beer which made getting drinks a breeze but to our surprise we hardly saw anyone noticeably drunk or rolling so hard they looked like they were about to go into a coma. Maybe Mexico doesn’t party as hard or maybe they are just better at holding their liquor. We’ll bet on the later however there was a clear distinction with the crowds compared to any EDC back home.
The music was largely the same as you would get back in the states. The Upsidedown House stage showcased a lot of local artists which was a welcome departure from a lot of the music we enjoy stateside. Sasha and Digweed played an impressive four hour set in the Neon Garden that was nothing short of a tour de force. Pendulum destroyed our ear drums with a set so bass heavy that it nearly sent us to the medical tent to learn sign language by the time it finished. We didn’t catch a bad performance all weekend but one thing I know for sure, I am completely over listening to Zombie Nation’s - Kernkraft 400 getting mixed into anyone's sets. It was a fun bit of nostalgia for a while but it's completely played out. You can all stop now.
Photo Credit: Jourdan Gomez