MtyMx Festival Report: The Show Goes On, Bus Woes, Border Issues, And Band Cancellations Aside
The good news: Todd P is now personally presiding over his wildly ambitious, somewhat flawed three-day DIY-rock fete out in Monterrey, Mexico, which ends late tonight, perhaps mercifully. Took him awhile to get there, though: Evidently he spent hours and hours at the border, as customs folks looked askance at his attempt to pass through with 300 military-issue tents at a time when the warring, increasingly murderous drug cartels who've made the area remarkably unsafe lately sometimes impersonate military personnel.
The mythical tents arrive. Pic by Zach Baron.
In terms of both bands and paying customers, MtyMx looks to be a much lighter affair than initially hoped, or advertised. The initial bill featured both Mexican and out-of-town (read: American and beyond) bands, though far more of the latter; roughly 20 of the biggest out-of-town names have canceled, including Washed Out, Small Black, Tanlines, No Age, Lucky Dragons, Anamanaguchi, Pocahaunted, Beach Fossils, and MNDR. Apparently mothers concerned about their son/daughter playing a festival in presently Drug War-torn Mexico are a not uncommon reason for bowing out.
But getting there has proved tough even if you wanted to: Planned shuttles from SXSW in Austin, Texas, to the MtyMx site--figured as a five- to six-hour trip--have in many cases been called off without warning. Twitter Sunday morning was aflame with folks whose buses never showed; in the case of NYC rock photographer Ryan Muir, the driver showed up but turned around 15 minutes into the trip, fearing the bus--filled mostly with musicians--would break down long before they arrived. Our man Zach Baron is actually at the fest (he flew in from NYC), and says that some bands made it only after 10- to 14-hour trips fraught with bus trouble and customs/border issues. He estimates the crowd is 60 to 80 percent Mexican; Todd had hoped for 1,500 to 2,000 attendees total, and says he wound up with around 1,000, though Zach puts it more at around 500.
Though the Todd-less first day was fraught with a bit of anxiety, things seem to have settled down and are now proceeding as planned with the bands that did make it; in talking with Zach, Todd seems pleased with everything but the transportation issue: "I'm not a guy who was meant to operate a bus service, and I realize that now." I'd talked to Muir around 4 p.m. Eastern on Sunday afternoon, chatting from another bus heading to Mexico that seemed good to go; at 10:30 he was still on it, and seemed to have put the MtyMx experience in proper perspective.
Way, way more from Zach coming later.