The BPM Festival 2014: Location, Location, Location

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With the sound of a successful Jambox pairing overpowering a backdrop of crashing waves, the first weekend of January 2014 officially rolled in. The Techno Tourist team joyfully spread our custom-made party-packs over the apartment to the soundtrack of the New Year, a new Dino set. We jammed while organizing the t-shirts, toothbrushes, stickers, and snacks among other important necessities: earplugs, beach balls, snacks and of course…beer. These gifts greet our customers upon arrival to their accommodation in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. To parallel the success and growth of The BPM Festival, our business has expanded to include a record-number of travelling techno tourists.  Ironically, or maybe not so ironically, BPM is also where Techno Tourist was conceived in 2011.  As we prepared to meet our first wave of guests, we mused over the three things that make The BPM Festival one of our favorite parties of the year. After much philosophical debate, it was decided that the awesomeness of the festival boils down to the following related, yet distinct ideas: location, location, and …location.

Location: The Setting

As professional travelers, connoisseurs of fine music and food, and lovers of art and architecture, we set our standards high. We are keen on detail and love when the vibe of the party is something that dances its way to you. Our first theme, location, describes just this. Playa del Carmen, Mexico is the perfect playpen for multi-week music-infused partying, vacationing, and general ‘winter’ enjoyment. Throughout the years, The BPM Festival has consistently shown the ability to expand and adapt in order to exceed festivalgoers expectations while maintaining a credible, underground feeling.  One of the most frequent issues we see with multi-day urban festivals is that even though the events seem to grow bigger and bigger every year, the cities themselves remain unaltered. Playa manages to preserve its unique charm and authentic Mexican feel while embodying a true sense of growth, thereby meeting the needs of both the festival and its clientele. New restaurants seem to materialize regularly. This year, you could just as easily stumble into an establishment serving fresh juice, FroYo, or sushi, as you could stumble to our classically coveted authentic Mexican joint, El Fogon.

Location: The Stages

As all members of the TT team spend most of the year living and clubbing in our cold and rainy hometowns (NYC and London), The BPM Festival is a dream-come-true, and not just because a Mexican Peso goes a lot further than a US Dollar or British Pound. We can do just what we love, but in a bathing suit, in the sunshine, and oftentimes, with sand between our toes. The location and venue set-up suit the different times of day and different types of moods in which you might lose yourself throughout the 10-day extravaganza. A significant organizational improvement this year developed with the bracelet distribution system. In less than a half an hour, with beats from Mamitas Beach Club grabbing you from one end and those from Kool Beach grinding on the other, you could secure your bracelet with minimal fuss. In fact, with the music pumping from all ends, it felt like our vacation had already begun. Normally, when waiting in a line, just teetering at the threshold of fun, you are rationally planning the next 8-10 hours of your life, just to pass the time. At The BPM Festival, however, your life has already begun, time is happening, and not only that… it has plans to carry-on for the next 8-10 days.

Of the legendary original BPM venues, only Blue Parrot, Kool Beach, and Mamita’s Beach Club still host events.  This year, we were introduced to Fusion, an intimate beach venue for daytime parties and Tabu, a medium-capacity tiered indoor venue resembling a type of medieval-times dinner theater. Acting as a stand-in for Canibal Royal is no easy task, but the BPM team successfully transformed Fusion into a more than adequate replacement. Tabu hosted the events that we would normally expect at La Santanera, and again proved not only a fitting replacement, but also a fresh change of pace from previous years.

Although the first few days did see some rain, the festival management arranged shelters at the outdoor venues to ensure that no one missed a beat. With a “polar vortex” pummeling North America with snow, hardly any festivalgoers seemed to mind a bit of moisture in the Mexican air as long as their favorite artists were behind the decks.  The number of parties increased this year, so the crowed was spread out, which managed the space with higher levels of comfort. One amazing exception to this rule, however, was the massive turn out for the Dot Up party at El Fogon. This event gained more popularity than any of us could imagine. We slowly watched the crowed grow larger and larger until we were swept away in the sea of clubbers consuming every lane of traffic heading west on Av Constituyentes. Every car that tried to pass, did so slowly, and with their iPhones joyfully vineing and snapping from a rolled-down window. Even the Policia gave up and started dancing. It was an authentic BPM night, all flavored by the smell of sizzling, smoking pork and pineapple. This was a type of experience you could not just stumble into anywhere, …other than yours truly: Playa Del Carmen.

Location: Your Stay

The last dimension of our overall location theme looks directly at the variety of living quarters available to festivalgoers at BPM. Travelers can opt to rent an apartment or villa, whereas hotels and condo-hotels are up for grabs too. We find the best way to maximize the BPM experience is to rent a large apartment or villa that houses your entire group of friends. The way that everybody can lodge together, rather than spread out in different hotels across an expansive city, is unique. The summertime feel, in the beginning of January, is unrivaled. The large spaces make for a perfect pre-game spot—one where gigantic brunches can be made, BBQs can be had, pool-parties can be splashed, and terraces can be danced on. Not to mention, they make for perfect after-party destinations, one where you can actually retire to your room (or a raft in the pool) when a moment of respite is necessitated. Additionally, these spaces can afford more auditory privacy, and in some properties, private beachfront access.

While some large festivals lose focus of their original mission in favor of chasing larger monetary returns, The BPM Festival stays true to its original form. This element of originality and adaptability attracts visitors from every demographic imaginable.  Each year we are amazed at the diversity of new customers booking trips to Playa and love making such international friends during the first week of January. The common thread tying everyone together is a deep-rooted passion for great parties and acceptance of nothing less than exceptional music. In all, the location of the festival, the location of each venue, and the location of our accommodation granted us an unforgettable 10 days of debauchery.  For yet another year, the festival proved their ability to execute flawlessly and kick off the new year on a very positive and inspirational note. BPM is the one festival we attend each year that really brings people together in a party-ready, vacation-sweaty kind of way. And the best part, the water is never too far away.

E-mail us today to book BPM 2015: info@thetechnotourist.net

#tripwithus

 

With the sound of a successful Jambox pairing overpowering a backdrop of crashing waves, the first weekend of January 2014 officially rolled in. The Techno Tourist team joyfully spread our custom-made party-packs over the apartment to the soundtrack of the New Year, a new Dino set. We jammed while organizing the t-shirts, toothbrushes, stickers, and […]

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The Techno Tourist Trips To: The Pacific Northwest – dBx

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dBx_IconThere are certain enduring desires that act upon Techno Tourists, constantly influencing them, shaping their path, and ultimately determining their position, direction and momentum. These desires are innate and timeless; they manifest themselves as the constant drive for exploration, adventure and good times. We are Techno Tourists; it defines us. We are adventurers of the modern world, driven by the eternal spirit of exploration. And so we explore.

America is a huge place. So huge, that until a couple of months ago even the seemingly familiar Pacific Northwest of the US was uncharted party territory –some virgin clubbing terra nova within our own country still untouched and awaiting our TT footprints. For the last several years we had kept a spyglass eye on Decibel Festival in Seattle, and after hearing about “The Slow Boat” in late 2011, the festival was promptly added to our “Must-Conquer-ASAP” list. As history would have it, less than two years later -as if led by the divine guidance of the gods of music- Decibel Festival extended an invitation to The Techno Tourist to become travel partners for their 10-year anniversary. Deal.

Any seasoned adventurer will tell you that the key to exploration success lies in proper provision and planning. And yet, for all our tedious preparation, there remains the undeniable fact that every single time, something will catch us completely by surprise. One might argue that this renders planning pointless, but much to our enduring pleasure we have found that the enormous amounts of research we do, the years of experience we have catalogued, and the adventure awareness we now possess ensures that whenever we are blind-sided by a total surprise—the surprise is good.

Though our cab ride may have been less exhilarating than our last foray into uncharted party lands and the endless repeating landscape segments, this time around, were glittering Starbucks rather than Ukrainian watermelon stands, this was expected. The surprise in Seattle was more encompassing. It was the people: their attitude, their sincere helpfulness, their respect for music. From the minute we stepped into our first Decibel party, it became perfectly clear that the crowd was highly musically educated and shared a creative, sustainable camaraderie, rather than checking in on Facebook to slap another duckface to our newsfeeds. There was no sea of neon; YOLO and RAGE were not represented. These people are a proud and genuine product of the city’s musical heritage.

In our travels around the world we have been privileged to experience countless variations of clubs, events and festivals.  Unlike the soulless, corporate, manufactured pop music for the masses most sub genres of electronic music (until recently at least), have developed out of passion, with profit coming secondary at best.  This attitude doesn’t stop in the studio or DJ booth; it trickles down through the promoters and venues, and flows into the fans before cycling back up to drive an autotelic tradition. A scene will often have its genesis in a primeval ooze of makeshift parties held in illegitimate venues.  As word spreads, energy flows in and the scene expands. Additional spaces join and play host to these ever-multiplying night-into-day extravaganzas.  The creativity of the party makers is of utmost importance. Their expression is key. Every event has to be outdone by the next. Stagnation is unsustainable, evolution unstoppable. As in the rest of nature, only the most adaptable survive, and at each new stage the parties become more tuned to their respective environments.  While we all classify as party animals within the order of organisms, every city and every region hosts their own indigenous species.  With the risk of making our opinion painfully obvious: the species of the Pacific West Coast are pretty damn awesome.

On an even higher level, one could say that a main developmental factor involved in the evolution of a species is its immediate geography. Decibel Festival is located in a unique environment, a metropolitan setting that cannot be replicated just about anywhere. Hosted in a distributed variety of (legitimate) venues throughout Seattle, Decibel successfully overcomes all of the challenges associated with throwing an urban, non-centralized festival. As we learned once we got-to-talking with the local inhabitants, much of the success can be attributed to the culture of knowledge offered by its rich music history, now engraved in the people, venues and even the city itself.

Across the board, the Decibel organizers did an impeccable job.  The party spaces ranged from re-envisioned live music venues like Chop Suey and Showbox, to purpose-designed Q Nightclub, which housed a fully integrated, top of the line Funktion One sound system. The visuals in all of the venues absolutely blew us away.  A perfect mix of trippy and fun, projectors illuminated the walls of every venue to create a full sensory experience (which even extended to a few specialized Yoga classes). Furthermore, the unlimited re-entry privileges of having a Decibel pass allowed partygoers to bounce from venue to venue at will, ensuring that everyone efficiently enjoyed their favorite artists. Well done indeed.

Decibel Festival is a destination for those who feel a deep passion for music, music history, music development, art, sustainability, experimentation and education—all with creative integrity. The culture of Decibel is one that sprouted at the grassroots level and we can agree with the organizers that after even after 10 years this ethos remains. Only now, it is in full bloom.

Keep posted to The Techno Tourist for news about Decibel Festival 2014!

#tripwithus

There are certain enduring desires that act upon Techno Tourists, constantly influencing them, shaping their path, and ultimately determining their position, direction and momentum. These desires are innate and timeless; they manifest themselves as the constant drive for exploration, adventure and good times. We are Techno Tourists; it defines us. We are adventurers of the […]

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The Totalitarian Democratic Utopia of The KaZantip Republic

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We recently left the familiar sights of New York for a week-long adventure to Eastern Europe. This trip was long overdue and left the notorious path-less-traveled as one of our most exciting, eye opening, and inspiring trips to date.

Our first stop was Istanbul, Turkey: where east meets west. We turned a mandatory layover into a weekend of culture, food, and partying…on a boat (courtesy of follow).  As we carelessly drifted on the Bosphorus somewhere between Europe and Asia, we reflected on our first trip to Istanbul less than a year ago.Not surprisingly, that trip also turned into a jams-filled, flaming-shot guzzling escapade of epicness (read about it here: http://bit.ly/18sjvHK). Lest you haven’t read our previous article, we warmly recommend adding Istanbul to any Techno Tourist’s itinerary.

Our 48 hours in the city turned into a party never-land, with excellent back-up assistance from the wonderful rooms at the W Istanbul. Like all great things in life, the city left us thirsting for more—more apple tea, more Turkish coffee, more Turkish baths, more Turkish delights…really, more of everything Turkish. But time flies in the center of the world. Before we knew it, we were back at Ataturk Airport for the continuation of our adventure. After a decade of waiting, we were finally off to the KaZantip Republic.

Upon our arrival into the blazing Crimean sunshine of Simferopol, we took our first breath of Ukrainian air. As in other places sporting high levels of traffic freedom, the cab-ride was best described as… thrilling. On our left side, we had a periodic clear view of the Black Sea, with nothing less than perfectly instagramable #nofilter cloud-porn.  The natural beauty was only broken up by intermittent views of Soviet Union architecture and watermelon stands. Endless watermelon stands.

Our cab ride ended at a tiny seaside town that hugs the borders of the Kazantip Republic’s official territory (reference: google maps). Popovka acts as a calm refuge from the revelry that goes on within the walls of the Republic. It was here, about a 7-minute walk from the border, that we left our bags.  With refreshing feelings of eagerness and suspense, something that captured the essence of ‘first times’ long past, we made our way towards the promised land. Think back to grade school and a story of a girl named Lucy who entered a wardrobe and had her world changed forever.  Like Lucy, we thought, “I can always get back if anything goes wrong.” The path to salvation led us into a wardrobe, where we emerged walking down a dusty cinder block alley that dropped us into a bazzar of food goods and then finally, the ViZa office. This is where we would officially become -perhaps the most noble thing one can ever become- citizens of KaZantip.

After the appropriate bureaucratic arrangements had been made, we were handed a coveted viZa, and even more importantly: a copy of the KaZantip Republic constitution and rules. The entire process was a far cry from your typical rainy club queue in England, or underground guestlist entry in New York. And, after a tour led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, it was apparent: “This wasn’t just an ordinary wardrobe.”

Even with the mandatory, tracked viZa scans at the customs; there was no great discomfort with this same-but-other-worldly experience. The KaZantip Republic, and the strong underlying ideology that binds it all together, creates a specific kind of culture, which has been cultivated and perfected by PreZident Nikita for 21 years. This totalitarian democratic utopia is said to both exist and not exist. Criminal codes are strictly enforced, with the threat of deportation floating loosely in ones consciousness. The citizens are encouraged to focus on achieving the impossible while Article 7 of the constitution declares that the belief in the reality of miracles is the official state religion.

Without attempting to give words to the entirety of this nearly indescribable self-generating, energy-diffused locale, we will mention a few aspects of the Republic that exemplify its guiding principles. Most profoundly (in a satirical manner) the KaZantip Republic draws clever parallels to the real world. The corporate nightlife world has changed the definition of VIP from “Very Important Person” to “Very Infinite Pockets,” something that the systemic hierarchy implemented by the Republic Government manages to revert successfully.  WC4 afterhours are invite only (via a bracelet) and are protected like a bunker with a bank vault door.  Loose lineups are announced in advance, though nothing is final and modifications are often made.  Set times for the day scroll across a massive light wall like a magical ticker and will, more often than not, reveal a pleasant surprise (or five).  Artists who impressed Nikita are awarded Valedictorian medals, symbolizing his approval of their work.

Not only in terms of politics is the KaZantip Republic a story of success. The considerable effort placed into the structural quality of the Republic infrastructure is utterly impressive. The Befooz stage was new for 2013 and stood out with an elegant design that took full advantage of the surrounding natural beauty.  Creative lighting applications provided a full sensory experience with flawless sound generated by massive two-line arrays flanking the stage.  In fact, the sound generated at almost every stage was superior to many four-point systems in recent memory (the wall of subs would make the artificial earthquake technicians at Universal Studios jealous). The other stages also brought, each to their own right, a completely different feel of party-experience: The construction of Dark Side resembled what one might interpret as KaZantip’s version of a University lecture hall. In here partygoers could learn from some of the top talent in the industry and further enhance the cascade of human capital that drives the development of the entire industry.  Heaven resembles Tatooine so much, that at one point we wouldn’t have been surprised if the special guest was Jabba The Hutt himself. And Croissant, built by Mikhail Prokhorov, boasted an impressive inventory complete with a dance floor, private restaurant, full gym and swimming pool. These structures perfectly reflected the feel-good energy that radiated from its citiZens. They are not about poshness or excess, they’re about realizing, living, and acting out one’s dreams in a shared environment: an environment where everyone has the right to “be the one they wanna be.”

Needless to say, we absolutely recommend that everybody take a trip to KaZantip Republic to experience the giant adult playground on the Black Sea, where everything feels right where it should be. Each day of our trip pulsated with a feeling of divine adventure and yours will too.

As our trip came to a close, we had a surreal moment, looking out into the glistening water, reflecting on the trip; One of our newfound Russian friends looked us straight in the eye and asked out of nowhere: “Were you scared?” Now, we were in a self-proclaimed republic that is just as far from NYC by plane as Tokyo, several hours from the nearest major city, and adjacent to a town that has only 6 streets (none of which are paved). Common sense predicates that we should have at least felt anxious about our position in the Universe. We were not. We were home. This was nirvana.

After years of reading every piece of information we could come across, watching every video that exists, and speaking with party aficianados with first-hand experience of this mysterious KaZantip Republic, we had figured that our Eastern European adventure wouldn’t be too far off of a typical Techno Tourist ‘business’ trip.  We were wrong.

Perhaps the most important thing the KaZantip Repbulic taught us is that some of the most meaningful highlights of being a professional Techno Tourist can be conjured ‘off’ of the dancefloor. Words cannot explain the perfect mesh of people, meticulous attention to detail, and the gracious hospitality of the KaZantip Republic Government—all worked into place by a particularly poignant ideology. The magic that happens within those walls is something you have to feel, hear, dance, and see to believe.

Contact us to plan your adventure to the KaZantip Republic 2014.

info@thetechnotourist.net

#tripwithus

 

We recently left the familiar sights of New York for a week-long adventure to Eastern Europe. This trip was long overdue and left the notorious path-less-traveled as one of our most exciting, eye opening, and inspiring trips to date. Our first stop was Istanbul, Turkey: where east meets west. We turned a mandatory layover into […]

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The Techno Tourist trips to: The Cityfox Experience: Monkey Business

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cityfox outputThe club scene in New York City has evolved significantly over the past decade.  Most of what once was, no longer is. But, what has been reincarnated and reinvented in a unique (and might we say quite awesome and unexpected) fashion has put NYC back on any serious Techno Tourist’s map and/or wish list.

In the past decade NYC experienced a political push that relegated most nightlife out of Manhattan and into the outer boroughs.  In retrospect, this may have been the best decision for the subsequent development of our scene.  Walking through Williamsburg on a Saturday afternoon could be somewhat likened to a stroll (or more like, stagger) through Berlin.  Although NYC isn’t quite there yet, anyone who has visited to the German capital will tell you stories of the party that innocently started on Thursday and mistakenly ended sometime on Monday.  Quality events like The Cityfox Experience: Monkey Business at Output remind us that New York has come a long way in the past few years. NYC is experiencing a resurgence of electronic music that puts it back on the top of the charts with London and Berlin. The diverse, quality events, occurring throughout the week and through every weekend, give a boost of excitement to the experienced clubbers of days past, and a friendly hint to everyone else to saddle up—It’s starting to go down.

And on July 13th, it went down for 16+ hours. The talented Cityfox crew from Zurich teamed up with our consistently detail-oriented friends from Listed Productions (San Francisco) to bring together gloriously indulgent Monkey Business shenanigans. Mixing a label who describes their sound as “always danceable, psychedelic and fresh” with a production team dedicated to creating the best overall embodied experience of any event, is always a recipe for success.

These two have teamed up before to bring us the first Cityfox Experience in New York last November (recall the two-story art gallery in SoHo converted into an immersive audio-visual and art experience) .  While we were certain the team would deliver another wet dream IRL (in real life), nothing could prepare us for their transformation of the entirety of Output, The Panther Room, the Rooftop and Stilton House. The specialized environment, designed and constructed by Dario Desiena and the Cityfox Art team, facilitated an unforgettable party with an incredible vibe.

Leave it to Listed to start us off with a nice dose of an Atish set, sexy and smooth: A perfect electronic serenade to an afternoon of chilled rooftop drinking. Next on, Adriatique brought up the volume and energy to nudge us into what would be over a day -straight- of music emanating from the so-coveted Funktion-One sound system. And, in typical Listed fashion, no detail in the 16+ hours was spared.

The entire space was refitted to amazing use, creating an urban jungle atop an artificial turf dancefloor, surrounded by crawling vines, with no less than 100 monkeys hanging from the ceiling. The neon, tribal graffiti LED black-lit walls shrouded dancers in a playful world where Monkey Business of all nature was welcome under the piercing laser gaze of the 20-foot gorilla.

Opening the door of the venue to every Listed party is like opening a Christmas present from your favorite relative…every single time.  You don’t always know what you are going to find, but you know that it will get everyone wet (okay, definitely referencing the Super Soaker…)(anyone?!). With over 15 artists creating the musical landscape of this all-encompassing sensory experience, this event was definitely not something to miss. As day slipped into night we were left professing our newfound, rekindled love for the city, each other, and just life in general. Thank you Cityfox, Listed, and Output for helping to put our home city back on the map for quality electronic music events!

 http://thecityfoxexperience.com/

To book your trip to NYC, with local recommendations of all the best places to club, eat, and repeat, contact info@thetechnotourist.net

And don’t forget to:

#tripwithus

 

The club scene in New York City has evolved significantly over the past decade.  Most of what once was, no longer is. But, what has been reincarnated and reinvented in a unique (and might we say quite awesome and unexpected) fashion has put NYC back on any serious Techno Tourist’s map and/or wish list. In […]

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Akbal Around the World

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akbal barcaTT has been blessed by the angels of sound-waves having danced to Akbal Music near the playful waves of Playa del Carmen, hidden near the bank of the Thames, and heading to the beaches of Barcelona. Mexican label, Akbal Music, will bring organic Riviera Mayan flavor to this year’s Sónar festival, this Wednesday at Parc del Forum.

Should you attend? 100%

From their humble beginnings in 2006, Akbal Music budded its way from the ears of a few, to ‘favorited’ hearts of the many. Spanning the soundcloud and beatport playlists of thousands, their deep house music presents itself for all to enjoy. To miss out, would be to self-inflict a serious case of FOMO (fear of missing out)…

From January’s BPM festival 6-year anniversary party, to March’s London Akbal Showcase in Vauxhall, to Barcelona’s upcoming 12 hours of non-stop music, TT has been watching Akbal Music kill it all year. And, this momentum shows no sign for stopping. Robbie and his crew represent the finest of the Mexican music scene and everything that epitomizes up-to-date, relevant international artists in the electronic industry.

 

 

 

For more from the Shaman of the Yucatán. Listen here: https://soundcloud.com/robbie_akbal

To book your trip to Sónar (or any other upcoming music festival this summer) with the best accommodation possible, contact: info@thetechnotourist.net

 

TT has been blessed by the angels of sound-waves having danced to Akbal Music near the playful waves of Playa del Carmen, hidden near the bank of the Thames, and heading to the beaches of Barcelona. Mexican label, Akbal Music, will bring organic Riviera Mayan flavor to this year’s Sónar festival, this Wednesday at Parc […]

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