Festival Report Card

Festival Report Card: Cuervo Tradicíonal Akamba Festival

AKAMBA

Each year, since 2018, the José Cuervo agave fields in Tequila, Mexico, are transformed into a unique celebration known as the Akamba festival. The event is a cultural gathering, with everyone coming together to celebrate the beloved agave plant and dancing on a night of good music.

Not only did EDM Maniac get to experience this unique festival, but we also had the chance to elevate the experience by taking the Akamba Express, a train that goes from Guadalajara to Tequila, where the festival is located. It was not just a train, but a train complete with DJs, delicious food,, and all-you-can-drink tequila.  

Here’s what else we have to say about our Cuervo weekend in Mexico: 


Vibes: B

From the scenic train ride to the moment we stepped foot into the agave fields, we felt like we had found a hidden gem. Arriving at the festival, the sun was beginning to set as we made our way down the cleared path of agave, lined with flags, and we could visibly see the excitement on everyone’s faces as we entered the festival.

It felt very much like a wholesome gathering of the local townspeople, as well as those who traveled from various parts of the country to experience their favorite artists in an intimate setting. Everyone was friendly, and although we were in Mexico, the language barrier we sometimes encounter when attending international events was no issue. 

Nothing ever felt too crowded throughout the night, and we found the vibes in GA and VIP both enjoyable and easily made friends wherever we went. While wandering the agave field at sunset, everyone helped each other get their perfect sunset photo, and all the staff we encountered were happy to be there.

Production: B

Being a more intimate festival, there were just two stages: one main stage and one smaller stage. There was also the Pepsi silent disco, which had two local DJs playing throughout the night. Production was on the minimal side, but we felt it complimented the simplicity of the environment well.

What we found most impressive was Cuervo’s commitment to sustainability. Everything from the festival decor to the cups we were drinking from was made from parts of the agave plant. 

We particularly enjoyed the production at the smaller stage. Even though it was open-air, it had a warehouse vibe with all the lasers, and we found ourselves wandering back to it.

We did notice sound bleed between the two stages throughout the night, which took away from being present with the artist playing on the mainstage. There also seemed to be some technical issues with lighting and sound at the beginning of the festival. 

AKAMBA


Music: B+

We came for the tequila but stayed for the music, and the lineup delivered. With headliners Disclosure, Sofi Tukker, HVOB, Kid Francescoli, Mystery Affair, and more, there was a good balance of dance music genres.

It’s a rare opportunity to experience artists in a more intimate festival environment, and Akamba provided us with that experience. We couldn’t imagine a better setting to see Kid Francescoli for the first time than dancing with new friends at sunset and singing their well-known track “Moon (And It Went Like)” at the top of our lungs.

When it comes to seeing artists in various destinations around the world, there’s an extra level of excitement because not only can the sets be completely different, but the crowd always brings a unique energy to every destination.

The energy during Sofi Tukker’s set was unmatched; it was so much fun witnessing all the smiles and everyone dancing together. Of course, there was the finale with Disclosure, which felt surreal since we had just seen him DJ-ing in one of the train cars with a small crowd of 20 or so people before seeing him on the main stage.

Venue: A

In the middle of the José Cuervo agave fields, with the Tequila Volcano in the background (not to worry, it’s dormant), and then to see it all at sunset, was such a unique setting for the festival. We can say we haven’t seen anything quite as beautiful before. 

The grounds were beautiful, and we could see everything the festival had to offer within our first hour. We felt everything we needed was provided. Many of the activations had chill areas, which are always appreciated. The Hey Banco set-up provided a great elevated view of the main stage and the entire festival.

The José Cuervo Cristalino Bar may have been our favorite activation,, though. It felt like we were sitting on an outdoor patio with friends, although we were in the middle of agave fields at a festival. If attendees wanted a unique souvenir from their time at Akamba, personalized bottles of Jose Cuervo Cristalino were available for purchase.

There were plenty of delicious and affordable food options. Everything from local food to burgers, pizza, and even some dessert options. The pizza seemed to be the most popular, and although we waited about 15 minutes for it, it was well worth it.

Bathrooms were easily accessible, and the VIP area had air-conditioned trailers. All the staff throughout the festival were friendly, and the VIP staff were attentive when providing water, directions, or refills for us. 

Again, the sustainability of all the elements used truly complimented the venue. 

AKAMBA

Overview: B+

Overall, if you’re looking for a hidden gem, we feel this one provided a novel experience for festivalgoers. However, we recommend getting the full package with the Akamba Express to experience all the fun elements Akamba has to offer. 

Going into it, we weren’t sure what to expect, yet we were left feeling like we not only got to experience a significant part of the culture but also had an original festival experience that we look forward to doing again. 

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