Introducing the mystical Tulum jungle-fest started by London-born DJ Damian Lazarus.
Sunrise sets, treehouses, shaman ceremonies and dramatic jungle canopies. Let’s be clear: Day Zero is not your average festival.
Situated in the verdant Dos Ojos park in Mexico’s Insta-fave town of Tulum, the mystical one-day extravaganza is the brainchild of London-born DJ Damian Lazarus – and to say it enjoyed yet another successful run last Friday would be an understatement.
The likes of Four Tet, DJ Tennis and Black Coffee soundtracked the festivities, as revellers danced among visually heart-stopping backdrops, and came away permanently transformed.
Here’s why this hot-weather newbie is one to jet far, far away for…
If a name is indicative of what you can expect, The Theatre of Madness is obviously no Wednesday night at your local bingo hall. A new addition to the festival, the set-up was a cinema screen + theatre stage surrounded by cosy two-level wooden pods. On the screen? Trippy af movies to test the realities of the most solid viewers. Intermissions every two hours saw immersive performances from actors and dancers costumed-up to the nines.
Warning: not one for those with a fear of heights. This year saw yet another dreamy addition with the Sunrise Tower, a 4-tiered tree house-like structure that took festival-goers over above the tops of the trees in the jungle, giving everyone a heart-rending view of the morning sunrise. Before you say anything, we vouch that the climb was completely worth it for that golden hour where night simmered into day.
3. All the world’s a stage
The Club was another major new feature at Day Zero. This second stage offered alternative music to the Main Stage for 12 hours from 10pm to 10am, giving curious ears other options.
Even if you’re all about stamina, a breather every so often is needed and necessary. And a big focus this year was well decked-out areas of respite. We’re talking a fully-stocked art-filled marketplace with food, drink, and clothing vendors to allow tired dancers an area to refuel, as well as hammocks and cushions abound.
A fun festival is all well and good, but to see one take into account environmental impact is rare and appreciated. This year, the festival hired a sustainability manager and carried out carbon offsetting for artist and crew flights. Even guests were seen cleaning up after one another throughout the night, really taking the “leave no trace” ideology to heart.
Obviously it goes without saying that you don’t just head into the jungle in your everyday kit, but it’s safe to say that the ancient, secluded setting really brought out the weird and wonderful when it came to outfits. Think patterned capes, full body makeup, and oh-so-ornate headpieces. At times, the confusion between performers and guests was perceptible.
The festival organisers really made an effort to educate guests about the culture of the land, as well as alerting them to the history of the ancestors that had traversed the area. Shamans and performers performed ceremonies to help achieve cultural fusion, and at sunrise it was certainly special to see these colourful displays giving everyone a second wind. There’s no doubt that everyone walked away having truly learned something new about their surroundings.