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Five Surprises of BPM as the Fest Hits the Halfway Point

New venues, new sounds, same philosophy.
January 13, 2015, 10:03pm

As The BPM Festival 2015 reaches its halfway point today, the character of this year's shenanigans are beginning to become evident. New venues and sounds mingle with the festival's staunch philosophies, while the whole shindig continues to grow year upon year. Still, at its core, BPM is all about discovery, and we're all about that. Having been in the thick of it since day one, here are some of the aspects THUMP's been most happily surprised by as we've bobbed and weaved through Playa Del Carmen.


Canibal Royal

Photo credit: Pearcey Proper for

Absent from the programming last year, Canibal Royal has returned in 2015 and re-established itself as a firm fan favorite. Off on the northern tip of BPM's reach, the venue is a trek to get to, but the intimate, open environs set the stage for some epic parties. Guy Gerber's Rumors on day one, Dusky and Justin Martin on day 2, and Crew Love's disco-fiasco on Monday were all flanked by the ocean within reach on one side and a bar/restaurant area on the other that keeps you in the moment while giving your ears for a rest. The venue doesn't look like slowing down at any point over the week, with Visionquest, Solomun +1, and Apollonia all set to take on the intimate stage before BPM is through.

Mano Le Tough

Photo credit: Anthony Djuren for

Not a surprise to some, Berlin-based Irelander Mano Le Tough headlined the Maeve Showcase at Fusion on Monday night. As the sun fell, Le Tough wowed the crowd with a mature set of selections that skirted the outer-regions of dance music, drifting into downtempo and ambient in betwixt heavier hitting house and techno. His set was a stimulating, thoughtful journey that stuck out amidst the purely good-times grooving of most selectors.

The Fringes Come In

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The BPM Festival is often considered a staunch bastion of house and techno sounds, but the programming this year has accelerated a growing trend – Whether it's TOKiMONSTA's Young Art showcase laden with hip hop and sonics from the LA beat scene, AC Slater's Night Bass bringing whompy UK garage vibes, or the likes of Martyn and Ricoshëi at the live-only BPM Live showcase at Mamita's, BPM is beginning to incorporate what were once considered outsider sounds. It's a bold move by the festival and will bear fruit for years to come.


Life on Planets

A standout on an already-stuffed Crew Love lineup, Wolf + Lamb Records act Life on Planets took on the ambitious task of merging live sounds with a DJ set, incorporating guitar and vocals into a performance of all original tunes that were soulful and funky, but still brought all the drive and purpose befitting a DJ set at a Crew Love gig. It's a brave move to bring in the unstable element of live performance, and Life on Planets did so while keeping a crowd full of first time listeners grooving for hours.

It Just Keeps Getting Bigger

Photo credit: Pearcey Proper for

In 2013, you could expect three showcases a night at The BPM Festival. In 2014, that number had increased to four. This year, it's no surprise to find as many as five events going on every night. There's an unfathomably vast spread of music on display and new venues and showcases are being brought into the festival at a rate that's hard to wrap your head around. Somehow, it maintains the accessibility and intimacy that have become defining traits of BPM throughout the years. We're making it a point to make it to every venue, and we've got the shin splints to prove it! Still, it's nothing a couple bites of ceviche can't fix.