Once every January, deep in the jungles of Tulum, Mexico, you’ll find a pulsating beat of Funktion One systems and happen upon an incredible night of house and techno tunes. We had the opportunity to attend Day Zero, the brainchild of the legendary Damien Lazarus, this year.

This event was first born back in 2020, on the final day of the ancient Mayan calendar. It has since become an international hot spot for some of the best global house and techno talent. Quite literally in the middle of the jungle – the event happened at a local cenote you were driven down a dirt road into – it was an experience worth traveling for. It brought together a powerful combination of a top-notch lineup, a beautiful laser show that glimmered through the trees, aerial performances and acts, art to explore, and a well-put-together sound system.

We were impressed by the levels of production the event took on, as well as its acknowledgement of the local Mayan culture. The event started with a blessing from Mayan locals, and their fire pit was kicked off with a Mayan Ritual with a tribe in full dress. We loved the relationship between old and new, the hat-tip to the ancient world, and its interconnection with our present day passion for music.

And, of course, the music. I left that event feeling blissfully thrilled with almost every act we were able to see. Hopping between two stages – the main stage and a smaller, club-vibes stage – we were excited to see quiet a few of our favorite artists. Some major standouts included Black Coffee, Dubfire, Art Department, Bedouin, Luciano, and a sunrise set by the master himself, Damian Lazarus. Yulia Niko, a name I wasn’t previously familiar with, was also a pleasant surprise – she was a fantastic female performer with a strong presence on the deck.

Logistically, Day Zero lacked. They ran out of water by somewhere around 8 or 9am, leaving us only with beer or hard liquor to stay hydrated. They required you to use RFID wristbands that you had to load cash onto, but you couldn’t get a refund for anything leftover by the end of the night. Their system went down multiple times, and you were stuck unable to load any money or buy any drinks for long periods of time – which was definitely not great when you’re sweating for 12 hours in the hot jungle. The bathrooms were neglected and gross, and there weren’t a ton of places to sit when you needed a break since it was so crowded. The good news here, though, is that these are all fixable things – and as events grow in scale over the years, much of this is due to happen eventually (and we’ve definitely seen similar issues at other events across the globe). But in all reality: they’re throwing an event in the middle of the jungle and bringing in all of their own resources. This isn’t an easy thing. And no event is perfect, either. We appreciated the efforts to become cash-free, to make payments smoother, and to keep the crowds happy. We’re looking forward to see how they improve logistically on these fronts.

All in all, we loved the music, the sound, the lasers, the performances – the performances from every artist, across the board, was beyond impressive. I’m admittedly very picky about my sound systems, but both stages offered high-quality noise that wasn’t too loud – I never found myself needing to put on earplugs.

We danced until midday and the crowd was still strong, grooving along to Lazarus’ morning beats with smiles as far as the eye could see. I felt like each set spoke to us in such a different way, so beautifully, and with such captivation. My body hurt the next morning from so many hours of moving, but hell – my heart was happy beyond words.

Photos: Get Tiny Photography