From the moment I stepped out of the taxi and onto the rustic and welcoming streets of central Playa del Carmen, I could feel it in the air. For any of you who have ever been to Ibiza, to Winter Music Conference, or to Sonar, you know what I’m talking about. It’s that combination of the heat lingering in the stone an hour after sunset; the smell of the ocean mingled with sizzling meat and cigarette smoke; and the ever present, whether it be distant or far, throbbing beat that is indistinguishable from the sound of your own heart. It’s that particular blend of excitement and laziness in the air, that intoxicating energy that warms you while you’re sipping a cocktail on the beach and pushes you through the dance floor into sunrise.

The true beauty of BPM Festival is the purity of this energy, as it is yet relatively untainted by the masses. It is truly a pop-up community of audiophiles, who all seem to know each other regardless of which city they call home. It is easy to forget that you’re in Mexico, for BPM becomes its own nation, a land unto itself that is free from the confines of politics, religion, economy, and language. At BPM, the only thing that matters is the unifying force of The Beat – all else becomes irrelevant. Artists, industry folk, and fans alike dig their feet into the sand and raise their hands in the air, as all become equal in the face of sound.

This is of course made possible by the fact that the artists featured at BPM are a carefully selected batch of the best and brightest of our generation’s house and techno stars. Inevitably, however, some stars outshine other. Read on for my favorite events of BPM Festival 2012.

Droog and Lee Foss – La Santanera

The smaller environment of La Santanera provided the perfect backdrop for these two Culprit artists to display their deep and sexy house vibes. While the place remained packed the entire night, the relative intimacy of the club meant that their often sultry and warm beats did not get lost in a massive mega club, but were rather taken by the dance floor and transformed into a collective and personal experience. Both Droog and Less Foss delivered outstanding sets, maintaining melody and musicality overall, keeping it deep and soul pounding.

Nic Fanciulli and Stacey Pullen – Kool Beach

I must admit, I was a bit skeptical at first about whether Kool Beach was the appropriate place to showcase their two artists, who are both known for more driving tech house. Any doubt was quickly expelled from my mind however the second Nic stepped behind the decks. As twilight faded to night and the breeze came in off the ocean, Nic, with total levelheaded cool, delivered one of the most powerful sets of the week. Stacey also proved that his brand of techno is not only for Detroit, as hundreds of barefoot party goers throbbed to the bassline.

Lee Burridge b2b Matthew Dekay – Mamitas

Don’t get me wrong, I love a sweaty dark nightclub where minutes turn to hours, but there is simply nothing that can compare to a truly incredible day party. Lee Burridge brought his I Dream Of… event to Mamita’s on the beach, and to say that it was breathtakingly beautiful and extraordinarily uplifting would be a gross understatement. Lee played b2b with Matthew Dekay for almost 9 hours, taking us on a journey from afternoon heat, through an almost spiritual sunset, and into the star studded night. There was a smile on every face and a skip in every step, as every sample dripped with golden sunshine and every baseline sent goosebumps down my spine.

Art Department and Damian Lazarus – Alux Cave

When I first heard that there was going to be a Crosstown Rebels party in a cave, I was for some reason under the impression that is was a cave themed club, or something along those lines. Much to my delight, I was proven entirely mistaken when, upon arrival, I descended into an actual, literal, underground cavern… and promptly got lost. When I finally made my way through the tunnels, around the stalagmites, and out into the main room, I was greeted by hundreds of sweaty and breathless people, grooving hard to Art Department. Dizzy and slightly claustrophobic, I made my way behind the DJ booth and settled in for the long haul, quickly dismissing any ideas of fresh air or cleanliness. Art Department were followed by Damian Lazarus, who performed impeccably, delivering exactly the thumping, yet deep, tech house that provided the perfect, hypnotic sort of sound for the cave. After a while, time lost all meaning and the only thing that existed was this nuclear world, this underground cave that carried its inhabitants out of space and time to the constant rhythm of the beat.

Written By: Cecilia Doreng-Stearns

Photo Credits:

Bennett Sell-Kline for TheBPMFestival.com

Scott Kowalchyk for TheBPMFestival.com

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