Departure Festival has canceled its inaugural show in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. The electronic event was scheduled to begin Friday (Jan. 7) in the resort destination and extend through Jan. 11 with a stacked lineup featuring more than 70 artists, including Black Coffee, Adam Beyer, Amelie Lens, Vintage Culture, Lee Foss and many more.
“We have been liaising with local authorities from Playa Del Carmen and with the recent severe rise in the cases of Omicron in the past few days, the Governor announced last night that Playa Del Carmen is returning to yellow tier COVID restrictions and therefore we cannot continue with a show of this size as planned,” organizers wrote in a statement posted to social media on Friday.
The statement continues that attendees, some of whom have already arrived in Mexico for the five-day festival, will receive a full refund on ticket and hotel packages, in addition to a $200 credit for a future event put on by Departure’s producer, Pollen. Would-be attendees are still able to stay in their hotels, despite the festival cancellation.
On Thursday, Carlos Manuel González, the governor of Quintana Roo — the Mexican state in which Playa Del Carmen is located — tweeted that the state would be raising its COVID-19 traffic light system from green to yellow from Jan. 10-16, 2022. This switch, González said, will include a 70% capacity restriction for open-air events, while bars, nightclubs, dance clubs, cantinas and other “show centers” will not be allowed to open at all.
A source close to Departure tells Billboard that rather than host the first three days of the festival before the new restrictions came into effect, organizers are choosing to cancel the show completely in order to maintain a positive relationship with local authorities in the region, where Pollen regularly hosts events. The company is scheduled to host J Balvin’s sold-out Neon Cancun event Jan. 20-24.
This yellow-tier implementation comes during a busy time for electronic events in the region. In Tulum, the Quintana Roo resort destination located an hour south of Playa Del Carmen, Zamna festival launched Dec. 31 and extends through Saturday. Damian Lazarus’ Day Zero festival is also scheduled to celebrate its 10th anniversary in Tulum this Monday.
The cancellation of Departure follows Thursday’s cancellation of the Dead & Company’s Playing in the Sand events that were scheduled to take place Jan. 7-10 and 13-16 in nearby Riviera Maya, Mexico. Playing in the Sand was canceled by producers CID Presents over the spike in COVID-19 cases.