Destination Events in the Mayan Riviera, 2018
Posted by Ted Campbell
Jambands in the Yucatan, 2018 edition
A year ago I wrote about something really cool: U.S. bands putting on multi-day concerts at resorts in the Mayan Riviera.
With support acts and a beautiful natural setting, these shows have a lot in common with U.S. music festivals. In fact, many of the bands are festival mainstays, especially jamband festivals. Time-tested road warriors like Widespread Panic and My Morning Jacket are known for long, multi-set, dynamic concerts with unique setlists, making them perfect for both festivals and destination events.
The big difference, of course, is that at a resort you won’t be sweating like crazy in a stuffy tent full of your drunken friends, lining up for filthy porta-potties, or surviving on veggie burritos and lukewarm beer.
Instead, you’ll stay at a sprawling, super-luxury complex with all the food and drinks you want, on a private white-sand beach and the stage a short walk from your hotel room, if not within view of the balcony.
Hell yeah. Sounds awesome. Ok, I’ll admit, I’ve ever been to one, at least not yet. Well, not through the front door, hahaha. (That’s another story.)
These shows aren’t cheap, that’s for sure. If you look at the Facebook pages for these events, you’ll see plenty of complains, mostly about price. The fact is that these resorts cost a lot anyway, any time of year, even without a great band playing. But there’s no denying that they are expensive. For instance, my wife and I saw five shows of Phish’s Baker’s Dozen last summer, staying in New York for a full week. Our modest but nice hotel was a short walk from Madison Square Garden. Even with all the restaurants and bars we patronized, it was still cheaper than the three-day Phish event at the Mayan Riviera. (Which would have felt even more expensive to me, because I typically stay at small hotels in nearby Playa del Carmen for about $20 USD a night.)
On the other hand, if you really love music and have the money, what could be better than watching your favorite band while standing in powder-soft sand with gentle lukewarm waves lapping at your ankles?
This year, 2018, January and February will be busy months. The events are at either the Hard Rock Resort (not the restaurant in the hotel zone in Cancun) or put on by CID Presents at the Barceló. Both resorts are between Playa del Carmen and Tulum on the Mayan Riviera, an hour or two south of Cancun.
I’ve listed the shows below, although for general interest more than anything else, considering that most of them are sold out already. So if your favorite is sold out, check out the photos, prices and all other info, and start planning for next year.
If you’re going to one of these shows and want some tips about the area, check out the article I wrote last year. I give some advice about getting out of the resort and checking out the fascinating and gorgeous surrounding areas, which have secluded beaches, Mayan ruins, colonial towns, and clear-water limestone sinkholes called cenotes.
Or (shameless plug), you could buy my guidebook, the Cancun and Mayan Riviera 5-Day Itinerary, written for the independent traveler who likes the beach but also wants some culture:
I’ll be happy to answer any questions in the comments, however.
Here’s the list for 2018:
January 12-14, 2018
Dave Mathews and Tim Reynolds
Dave and Tim come up first in early January.
January 17-20, 2018
Crash My Playa: Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, Sam Hunt, many more
Sure, country isn’t a jamband, but this 4-day event deserves mention.
January 26-30, 2018
Panic en la Playa: Widespread Panic, with various jamband supergroups
This is the seventh edition of WSP’s big party. Unknown in Mexico, Widespread Panic was one of my favorite bands in the ‘90s, and they’re still going strong.
(Side note: Beach Vibes with LCD Soundsystem was originally announced for these dates, but it was cancelled last summer.)
January 31-February 4, 2018
The Avett Brothers at the Beach: The Avett Brothers, Old Crow Medicine Show, John Prine, more
Look no further for than this for some excellent U.S. roots rock, including legendary John Prine.
February 15-19, 2018
Playing in the Sand: Dead & Company, Michael Franti & Spearhead, more
Last year the surviving members of the Grateful Dead, along with the String Cheese Incident, hosted Los Muertos Con Queso. This year they return in a different format: their collaboration with John Mayer (among others) in Dead & Company.
March 2-6, 2018
One Big Holiday (Dominican Republic)
My Morning Jacket, Portugal the Man, Broken Social Scene, Toots & the Maytals, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, more
Although this took place in the Mayan Riviera last year, in 2018 it’s in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Nice place I’m sure.
Finally, if you’re into classic rock, check later for Rock Getaway, which happened on October 26-29 in 2017 with Santana and many more. There’s no announcement yet for 2018 dates, but the website is up and ready.
Thanks for reading, and if you’re going to any of these, I would love to hear from you.
About Ted CampbellU.S./Canadian writer, translator and professor in Mexico. Travel stories and practical tips on my blog No Hay Bronca: nohaybronca.wordpress.com // Twitter: @NoHayBroncaBlog // Contact: nohaybroncablog (at) gmail.com
Posted on January 4, 2018, in Mexico, Music, Travel in Mexico and tagged Avetts at the beach, cancun, crash my playa, Dave Mathews and Tim Reynolds, dead & company, destination events, mayan riviera, one big holiday, panic en la playa, playa del carmen, playing in the sand, rock getaway, widespread panic. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.