The World's Not Over Yet: 18-Hours at Day Zero Year One
Photo: Day Zero: Year One 2014 by Marjana Jaidi
Playa del Carmen, Mexico -- Day Zero, initially christened Sound of the Mayan Spirit, began on the ancient Mayan prophecy that the world we inhabit was coming to end on December 21, 2012. Crosstown Rebels founder Damian Lazarus created the event to proclaim a fresh beginning, and salute the end of the 25,625-year-long cycle and the fifth and ultimate cycle of the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar.
Day Zero's sophomore run, Year One, graced the Mayan Riviera this January in Chanolandia, a magical jungle setting among three (recreated) Mayan pyramids and two lakes. Year One brought upon us an 18-hour reflection to asses our place and being over the past 13 months... Basically, it was a big party at which firewalking, mask making, body painting, 4D meditation, yoga, and healing were available to compliment the non-stop beats.
Artists involved in the celebration were curated to compliment the aesthetic of the event and its surroundings. They've all held substantial careers within music, and have shown an appreciation for the art form and its subscribers.
Several esteemed performers used Year One as an opportunity to try something new. Pianist, DJ, producer, and Vocal Techniques alum, Francesca Lombardo, returned to perform her first live festival performance. While Thievery Corporation made a debut feat in Playa del Carmen, mixing melodies from all over the world into a display of whimsical, glitter-infused positivity.
Draped in black garb, Damian Lazarus delivered a powerful sunrise set filled with the sounds of flutes, trumpets, rattles, and drums. His delivery mimicked the 10-minute ceremony performed by Mayans dressed and decorated in ceremonial attire prior to his introduction on stage. This ceremony, the third of the evening, represented the center of all spiritual practices, common among both the ancient and native cultures in the area. It ensued around a stone-constructed fire pit, granting attendees the opportunity to use the light to amplify his or her offerings to the divine lives amidst the flames or, alternatively, to each other on the dance floor.
As the day matured, Detroit-native Magdalena Chojnacka, aka Magda, played a dramatic - yet funked-out - tribal disco set filled with eccentric basslines to proceed from Damian's elaborate performance. Her tenacious groove set the tone for Berliner Acid Pauli who performed the final set of the festival with an unannounced guest, NU. The two collaborated within the set, playing a heterogeneous mixture of global tracks that brought out the chutzpah, courage, vitality, and adulation from the attentive audience.
Day Zero may have come to existence as a celebration to end the world, but it has become an annual ritual among forward-thinking individuals looking to open their hearts and souls through music experiences.
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