I’ll never be able to sit down and think as I used to after what can only be described as the most magically serendipitous weekend in Mexico City for the Corona Capital festival.
I’d say I don’t usually describe my life as a ferocious whirlwind, but I do. However, it’s often in relation to my lack of organisation skills; this time it was because it could be likened to a movie. A bloody good one.
The experience that shattered truth into a thousand pieces goes like this, listen in.
It rolls as far back as London. I journeyed over the Atlantic in First Class and prepped myself for the festival by drinking the plane out of Brewdogs and crying to the end of Home Alone while wrapped up in my duvet. Mindblower number one.
The hotel towered silently over the city from such a distance you could see nothing happening, but there was still that city buzz that has you smiling at the thought of opportunity.
We went down to the local and smashed the margaritas after 3 hours of sleep in 24 hours and one of the No Taste team had the barman in a headlock. Mindbender number two. (He’s okay.)
Uber’s are over an hour from “Mexico’s number one rooftop spot for Instagram photos”. Metro’s are unsafe. We risk the taxi.
Terrible idea. The time is going up faster than a freelancer on a time sheet. We bail halfway in and walk the strip to arrive sweating buckets to our rooftop.
Mexico City obviously doesn’t have many rooftop bars if this is the finest. We take our Insta pictures in what could be Baghdad, neck 2 more margs (we’re in Mexico, let us off) and this time brave the metro for the last stretch to the festival.
No Taste UK are escorted into the festival by security. Wild.
Due to flight delays, we had one day to wring out everything Corona Capital had to offer us. Unfortunately, that wringing also involved our coats after all the rain.
With arguably one of the most diverse lineups, genre-wise and for gender representation, the festival SOLD OUT AT PRE-SALE. And I can see exactly why. It’s a masterclass on how major festivals should be hosted. There’s attention to detail in everything, from location to operations and obviously line-up. I’d go as far as saying it’s been my personal favourite festival this year.
And luckily for No Taste UK, there’s a bebidas (bevs) stand for every guest and instead of stepping on ketchup-coated hotdog wrappers and empty cups, my white trainers remained white; there wasn’t even a chewing gum wrapper on site.
A friend had told me that Mexican crowds aren’t too dissimilar from the UK revellers in their antics. And whilst I didn’t see any blokes doing topless belly slides in the mud, it was easily one of the happiest festivals I’ve attended.
Despite thousands of fans piling into every stage (for context, the man besides me had binoculars), there was no fear of being swept up in the crowds as we’ve seen at other festivals recently, but don’t let that make you think that the festival was tame. We still had plenty of room to helicopter over our heads.
With stages seemingly as tall as the Mexico City skyline, you were hugged into the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez where the Mexican F1 is held. You would never know you were minutes away from the frenetic bustle of Mexico City.
At the risk of sounding old (or boring), the organisation of the festival is what I think contributed to making it so wonderful. I was a solid believer in unorganised fun, but after experiencing shows with huge queues for everything, terrible sound and heaps of litter, my views are transitioning.
It seems with every festival at the moment, there is no escaping the endless sea of phone screens raised towards the stage.
Foals lead singer, Yannis, showed signs of long tours with a strained voice, but no strained energy. As always, they accelerate you into the present with the very aptly named Wake Me Up and rarely give you a chance to catch your breath until it’s over. He apologised for bringing along the English weather (along with all the other UK performers) which, in my wet trainers, I was reluctant to accept.
It was funny to see the crowds enjoying different songs to what the Brits typically crave. I guess the time in which the UK bands hit the Americas is delayed from the formative years of the band.
This was most evident at The Kooks where Connection got a grander response than Ooh La. The Kooks were still celebrating the 15-year anniversary of Inside In/Inside Out despite it being out for 16 years – and I was absolutely there for that. The bouncing rain only had people doing the same as the sea of colourful death eaters in their ponchos enjoying every minute of happy bangers.
The Yeah, Yeah, Yeah’s were celebrating the release of their new album Cool It Down after a nine-year break and they did not disappoint. Lead singer Karen O had something to prove, but nothing to care about with her effortless performance throughout.
Now, this would be no real recount of the festival if I didn’t give a nod to the Pepsi Max Silent Disco. These are some of the best times you can have at a festival and it proved this way at Corona Capital. With red vs blue (the colours of the Pepsi logo) it was our mission to dance in such a convincing and fun-loving way that the majority switched to the minority – we didn’t succeed.
T’was Liam Gallagher that stole the show though. He fucking loves his Oasis numbers, doesn’t he? And I’ve never seen so much energy put into stirring an audience into a pit of hungry animals that have just smelt a perfectly cooked steak as Liam. He’s literally played these tracks for years on end and he’s still looking to build the biggest reaction he’s ever seen from every crowd. If you’re wanting a lose-your-voice scream along- he’s yer man.
The beguiling blast of distorted bass from Sculptures of Anything Goes hit your chest the same way a monster firework does, erupting the bottled love for the Arctic Monkeys out of the Mexican crowd. Their new album was released in the time since I last saw them and were, obviously, much more involved. Did the mix of their newer songs tame the crowd? I felt The Car sat like an awkward teen at the dinner table for an extended family meal, but the rest were exceptional. Vocally, Alex has transcended into godly planes you can see no fault emerging from; teetering on the edge of you (me) being unable to sing along, but it stops no one. I’m certain the Mexican fans were happy.
Now, you might want to put your drink down and lean in for this part. The finale is so outrageous that it seems made up, but I promise you it’s true. Here goes.
Whilst waiting plain-faced and deathly hungover for the flight: The Kooks, Jamie Cook and Nick O’Malley, and Liam Gallagher board the same flight back to London. But here’s the ridiculous part.
Liam and his partner are absolutely steaming and as he turns the corner, he compliments my coat and calls me a good-looking bastard, as does his partner, Debbie. Debbie asks me for a hug and says I’m handsome again, to which Liam says to her “Alright yer tart”. I go red and say “it was very nice to meet you, take care” like an absolute moron.
I spent the rest of the eight-hour flight home in shock and questioning reality. The final brain melter.
Today I woke up doing the same.
Mexico and Corona Captial – what an absolutely unforgettably brilliant weekend. Thank you.
I’d fully recommend a weekend flight out there just for this festival and if you have the chance, definitely stay longer.
Documenting. The. Madness.