Every year, deep in Tulum’s jungle, Day Zero Festival draws attendees from all over for an enchanting night of music and nature at a secret location.
This unique festival started off as a celebration on the final day of the Ancient Mayan Calendar in 2012 and has only grown since, all while maintaining the inclusive sense of community it has cultivated since the beginning.
Among all the events in Tulum, this is one many people rave about for being “one of the best events they’ve attended,” and EDM Maniac had the pleasure of experiencing it first-hand.
It left us at a loss for words to describe one of the most heart-opening festival experiences. That’s not to say the festival was perfect; there were challenges, but overall, it was a positive experience.
Here’s what we have to say about our night deep in the jungle:
We felt overwhelming positive vibes and anticipation from everyone as we all boarded the shuttle that would take us to the location where the festival was held, and walking down the lighted jungle path to the entrance, everyone (including us) just started running because we were so excited.
Some would label this as a “homie festival”- meaning whether you’ve attended multiple times or it’s your first experience, everyone feels like family- and as the hours went on, that proved more and more true.
We had significant interactions with everyone, even those working the festival, dancing and making new friends everywhere we went.
Gifting things like kandi and trinkets may not have been part of the festival culture here, but that didn’t stop the PLUR spirit, from fanning one another, to offering spots to sit, and other generous gestures.
Although the decor made it feel busy, the production was on the simpler side which really added to the enchantment of it all.
There were disco balls and geometric lights hanging throughout the trees and the lasers coming through the treetops that made it feel like you really stumbled on a secret party.
With the amount of trees everywhere and the lack of lighting, it was at times difficult to orient where the front of the stage was, so instead of the normal facing the stage and dancing, instead there were just a lot of dance circles with everyone vibing with those around them.
There were three main stages and a couple of secret stages throughout the venue. The Main Stage, which was a giant pyramid structure in the center of it all; the Club, a slightly smaller area similar to the main stage; and El Teatro, which was a sort of art car that had tiers to it and attendees could just climb up onto the stage and dance.
Sound did bleed a little between stages, depending on how far in the back you were standing and to which side, so you might hear a little overlap from the party next door.
El Teatro stage was probably our favorite area of the weekend. It was tucked away from the other stages so the sound was clearer than the rest and the vibes were always high. It made for a fun adventure getting to it too, because you had to walk through multiple art installations and chill areas to get there.
It was an interesting experience because although it was still the performer’s unique sound, they played completely different sets than what you would hear at any other festival, really leaning into the jungle vibes.
Seeing Patrick Mason, one would expect those fierce techno sounds, yet he really let the environment take over and alternatively gave us this fun tribal sound with his signature Patrick Mason flare. Many other artists did the same and that added to the uniqueness of the music at the festival.
Although everyone was sad about the absence of Black Coffee, the energy stayed positive and all attendees enjoyed the additional Damian Lazarus set. Many artists had lengthier sets too, which made it easy to explore new names without missing our favorites.
The coolest part of the whole night was exploring the venue itself.
Set in a secret location in the jungle and only accessible via shuttle, we weren’t sure what exactly to expect. After getting off the shuttle, the venue itself was about a five-minute walk down a dimly lit jungle path before we reached the main entrance.
Going into the main area there were fire dancers, food and shop vendors, lots of art, and the “Tree of Life” which was a giant tree covered in lights where people could hang out and have a central spot to meet.
Something to note about many of the venues in Tulum is that they are cashless, so the first stop once inside was to load up the wristband.
This unfortunately took longer than expected due to a lack of internet connection as the workers were having a hard time transferring money onto the wristbands. Each person in line could take anywhere from 5-15 minutes at times.
Since we were in the jungle, there were a ton of trees scattered everywhere and it wasn’t exactly the easiest to navigate with the lack of lighting and tree roots jutting out of the ground, so it was important to watch your step.
One of the most beautiful things about the festival is the way it combines the natural elements into the venue itself. For example, they used a cave as an official chill area, walking down into the cave with candles giving off some light and rugs along the floor to sit on.
Other than the long waits to reload the cashless wristbands, the other negative we ran into was once the sun came up, it got pretty hot and the vendors did run out of water so that was not ideal for the hundreds of people still inside the venue.
Overall, it was a positive experience, and one we look forward to doing again.
Although there were a few mishaps we’d say the festival did a decent job of providing most things attendees would need, with the remoteness of the venue, as well as creating a unique experience for everyone.
Going into it, we weren’t sure what to expect, but Day Zero far exceeded any expectations we may have had and left us feeling fulfilled spiritually and mentally. Physically though… we were exhausted, but in the best way.
If you’re looking for an unconventional festival with good vibes in a gorgeous location, highly recommend adding Day Zero to your list.