About This Festival
Surfing, Music, and Yoga Collide
This intimate, multi-day festival combines music, surfing, and yoga on a remote stretch of beach in Baja California, Mexico. Inspired by the environmentalist bent of Burning Man, organizers are mindful of the natural setting's history and fragility, and they encourage attendees to be discreet and resourceful as visiting campers. The award-winning event, which was founded in 2013 by regular travelers to Mexico from Southern California, also encourages attendees to support the local economy through donations on top of their ticket price. Which is to say nothing of the music, which consists of carefully curated lineups of ace club DJs on top of guitar-strumming and communal drumming around campfires.
Proper Beachside Techno
Past headliners include acclaimed Minneapolis producer and remix maven Gigamesh and decidedly chill Los Angeles disco duo Poolside — both indicative of the sort of billowing, lush techno and lovely electronic music that Genius Loci rightly pegs as a proper beachside soundtrack. The lineup generally features around fifty artists.
New Year, New Fest
In 2011, Southern California party promoters, DJs, and surfers Henry Pope and Eduardo Manilla threw a New Year's Eve party in Baja California for a select group of approximately fifty friends — a party that planted the seed for Genius Loci. They reckoned that the features of their regular visits to the Baja coast — caravans, campouts, surf, and live music — were a scalable model for a festival. So far, Genius Loci has proven them correct.
Genius Loci occurs on a stretch of beach in the Baja California region known as Punta Cabras, which indigenous people have frequented for 10,000 years, according to festival organizers. Given that, it's essential to show appreciation to the land and its people by leaving without a trace. That means pick up your garbage, but also make sure your toothpaste, shampoo, and other such toiletries are biodegradable. The water, of course, is excellent, and the surf usually accommodates learners and professionals alike. Surf lessons are offered by the festival, but surf boards are not. If you want to play in the waves, you have to bring your own surf boards, wet suits, and boogie boards. However, organizers caution against swimming at night; there is no lifeguard.
Genius Loci attendees should prepare with great care: tents, generators, five-gallon jugs of water for showering and drinking, shower bag, ice, grill, charcoal, and so on. Compared to other festivals, it's fairly rugged. The website even encourages people to bring headlamps — and to mind the cliffs at night. There is no cell-phone service and there is no credit-card service. The nearest hotel is a modest drive away. And yet a hotel seems contrary to the freewheeling, adventurous spirit. As the festival organizers put it, do not bring "fussy people" or "bad vibes"
On a less severe note, Genius Loci is also the rare sort of festival that encourages attendees to bring their own acoustic guitar or other such instrument — a testament to the faith and trust organizers instill in their patrons. Indeed, "genius loci" is a Latin term meaning "spirit of place."