Written by Zack Kostaras
Photos by Rebecca Hollman
Being one of the largest music events in Mexico’s Quintana Roo region, Zamna Festival returned with an energetic start that rocked Tulum for 6 nights with some of the most in-demand names in electronic music. While the previous edition of Zamna was delayed last year due to Covid-19, this year’s event continued as planned but required all attendees to present a negative test within 24 hours each of event at designated Covid-19 testing sites. While this may have deterred some from attending and forking over an extra $40 per test for each event, that did not stop the 10,000+ fans each night who traveled from all over the world to attend some of the biggest parties held in the jungle of Tulum.
Zamna’s opening event on New Year’s Eve was headlined by the buzzing Ukrainian duo ARTBAT, who have turned into one of the most in-demand acts in Tulum. Diynamic queen Magdalena closed the island stage after ARTBAT’s monstrous set, bringing her thunderous melodic techno sounds until the sunrise. The next event featured Claptone’s masquerade party, in addition to Diplo’s Higher Ground hosting the Pool stage the same night. We really enjoyed the disco vibes from Purple Disco Machine, who played about a two hour set before Solardo that included originals and electronic classics such as New Order’s “Blue Monday”.
Afterlife bosses Tale of Us brought a massive party for the third event, debuting start-art of the art visuals and production on the main stage. Anyma, the alias of Tale of Us’ Matteo Milleri, even debuted an NFT on the massive display along with several mind-boggling visuals.
Infamous party brand Circoloco hosted the festival’s fourth night, bringing in a plethora of talented artists including Dixon, Peggy Gou, Adam Port, &Me, Honey Dijon and many more. The following Saturday night, South African sensation Black Coffee took over the island stage with Zamna veterans Angelos and Themba. After Black Coffee’s set, the three went back-to-back playing loads of unreleased material until the early morning.
Sunday’s closing party was without doubt our favorite Zamna event this season, as the festival ended with a bang. Several Tulum debuts took place, including a back-to-back with the Progressive House legends Sasha and John Digweed. Meanwhile at the Pool stage, Sebastian Leger brought his modular live setup for the first time to Tulum after debuting at Amsterdam Dance Event back in October. The legend Sven Vath brought his vinyl-only setup to Tulum for the first time and played a monstrous 5+ hour set full of techno bangers.
In addition to the Zamna Festival events held at the Zamna hotel, Zamna hosted several pop up events throughout the month of January at Art Beach Tulum. Located at the entrance of the Hotel Zone, Art Beach is in a favorable location that avoids most of the traffic found further south near most of the popular clubs and restaurants in Tulum. In addition to the Dj’s performing, Zamna and Art Beach also offered various dining options including multi-course gastronomic experiences from some of the most renowned chefs in Latin America. We were able to catch ARTBAT’s set at Art Beach on January 3rd, which may have been one of the best sets we saw while we were in Tulum. Two nights later, we went back for the Phoenix event which included sets from Adiel-Kas, 0ostil, Kas:ST, Yotto and Mathame. And finally, we went back to catch Magdalena throw an impeccable set to an intimate crowd the following Friday night. All in all, we really enjoyed the events held at Art Beach and hope that Zamna will continue to host events at Art Beach in the future.
All good things must come to an end, and once again we can say with confidence that Zamna certainly did not disappoint in its latest installment. The festival curates a very special experience for electronic music fans, with more and more being invested into the production and lineups for each event. We can’t wait to see what Zamna will have in store for its next edition, as the festival continues to grow and surpass previous years.