If any festival encapsulates the spirit of the local within the global, it’s Comunité. A day long event created by Mexicans, lauding Mexican artists and making use of beautiful Oaxacan coastline, Comunité is a party that stays true to its origins.
Keen to boast global talent while maintaining an atmosphere that celebrates Mexico’s Puerto Escondido - “Hidden Port” - Comunité is back after a year’s hiatus with renewed focus toward sustainability. Borne from a vision that a world-class festival can operate from purely local means, Comunité’s take on festival-going feels refreshing.
Striking a confident balance between scene-defining curators and Latin American talent, the lineup comprises the likes of DEEP MEDi head honcho Mala, Hyperdub founder and luminary Kode9 and underground favourite Madam X, with NAAFI crew members Faustio Bahía and Mexican Jihad keeping things distinctly tribal.
The philosophy is simple: prioritise environmental consciousness. For the Comunité founders, this means utilising local resources and tapping into the pool of Oaxacan talent before reaching further afield.
For the 2020 edition, Comunité have teamed up with Mexican company Impact0, to ensure a truly green experience, from planning and production right through to set down. Initiatives at the festival include locally sourced food, circular cup and waste management provisions, and carbon offsetting.
To unpack more about the festival’s sustainable philosophy and Latin American vibe/culture, we sat down with co-founder Juan to understand more about him and his team’s vision for an eco festival future.
Can you encapsulate the ethos of Comunité in just a few words?
Local, sustainable, community.
What led to the decision to implement a sustainability focus for Comunité?
We have a responsibility to our planet to treat it with respect as it is our home. There are too many capitalist ideals within the festival industry, people who just use the land and destroy it without implementing structures to restore the space and ensure that we are not leaving waste and pollution behind. Festivals are important gatherings for us to connect to each other through music and nature but they can be done in a way that we are not destroying our home at the same time. We hope to inspire other events to show them there is a better way to do it, even if its costs more.
How important is maintaining a grassroots-feel to the festival for you?
It is not in Comunité's interest to become a big festival that fills its lineup with the same international acts as everyone else. This festival is made by Mexicans for Mexicans and it was important for us to present a heavy LATAM lineup to show that we can grow from our roots and amplify each other within this format.
How did the partnership with Impact0 come about?
We have worked with them on previous editions and they have helped us in our vision to produce sustainable events in Mexico.
Cup circular schemes are relatively common practice now, but carbon offsetting is very pioneering for a festival. Can you tell us more about that?
Offsetting is the bare minimum we can do, but it's more important to look at minimising the carbon emissions first. Not booking so many international flights... focusing on local talent. We ensure that all of the carbon emissions produced by the festival are offset with various environmental projects through Impact0.
How have you found maintaining a Latin American energy whilst also catering for a potentially global audience? Have there been any challenges?
This energy is in our roots! We want to showcase the Latin sounds to our audience and the international guests who will visit Comunité. Perhaps challenges could be seen in not having the "big headliner" draws to sell tickets, but this is our resistance to these ideas so it's not a challenge. It's our journey.
Comunité this year moves from the Yucatan Peninsula to the less touristy and more remote Puerto Escondido. Do you think this helps reassert the organic, community-led, homegrown feel of the festival?
Yes, Tulum is oversaturated with festivals, hotels, and a lot of consumerism. That area needs to drastically reduce its environmental impact before it is too late. Puerto Escondido is a beautiful place that feels forgotten and the rough and raw coastline fits to our sonic vision. Oaxaca state is so culturally rich, it's a perfect setting for our audience to explore beyond the festival as well.
What do you envision for Comunité in the future?
Our vision is to create a community gathering around music and nature where we can dance and transcend in our environment.