Forget Coachella and Burning Man. The coolest desert rave is a one-night-only affair in the agave fields of Oaxaca, and it has jet-set bohemians from around the world flocking to southern Mexico each year to sip Mezcal, eat crickets, and rage until the sun comes up.
Hosted by Mezcal Amores, the primarily word-of-mouth "Mezcal Amores Experience" has become somewhat of an annual pilgrimage for those in the know, attracting chic crowds from Mexico City, Los Angeles, New York, and even Greece.
The weekend kicks off on an educational note, bringing attendees to a rural mezcal distillery where you see and learn how the smoky spirit is made (cheat sheet: the agave is cooked in underground pits where rocks sizzle for 24 hours before the process begins).
This year, the fest also coincided with the art auction Anónimo, which held its first thematic edition showcasing textile. Considering the area is primarily famous for both its textile and mezcal output, it was the perfect partnership showcasing the true soul of Oaxaca.
For the main event, which begins with a luncheon under a dreamy canopy, guests trekked nearly two hours outside of the city to the dry agave fields, a valley surrounded by hills and prickling with the pointy plant we owe tequila and mezcal to. The day includes traditional eats (including bowls of Chapulines), live music from a Mexican band (playing hits by Selena, natch), a pop-up market (selling unique textile fashions), and even a spiritual alter where a local guru cleanses your soul with a splash of mezcal (seriously).
But things get really exciting once the sun sets. The band gives way to techno DJs, the agave becomes the backdrop of a laser light show, and neon art calling for all the 'grams lights up and takes center stage. LA-based artist on the rise Olivia Steele (who also made a piece for Anónimo) was tapped to create the scene-stealing neon installation: "Your spirit gets me higher... And higher." Apparently, if you drink mezcal the right way, it really does get you high - not drunk.
Depending on their vibe (and, likely, go-to substance for the evening), guests either raged on the dance floor under the stars, sat around a bonfire or in a light-strewn teepee, or lulled on colorful pillows under a tree that looked like an acid vision until - get this - 7 am the next morning.
Click through for an inside look at the magical mezcal experience!