MtyMx, a 3-day festival that concluded on Monday, was held at Autocinema Las Torres, a defunct drive-in set against the beautiful landscape of the Sierra Madres, with their lush green and rocky tops jutting into the sky. Surrounding the site were signs of fission in the wealthy Mexican city of Monterrey- buildings going up to the sky housing the wealthy, and hills spotted with shanty’s and unfinished empty brick casings that once could have been, much like MtyMx itself.
Todd Patrick’s vision for MtyMx was huge: It was an extremely ambitious spectacle/experimentation in American meets Mexican pop. Though the first year of MtyMx was not all it could have been, it was just the first time such a step was taken.
Always the great party-thrower, Patrick went the extra mile. Unfortunately, he ended up being spread too thin. He organized the huge 3-day festival, but also transportation and accommodations. In addition, Patrick spent a lot of time correcting the misinformation that spread about dangerous crime and drug violence in Monterrey leading up to the festival. (The day the festival started there were some drug related disruptions in Monterrey, where the fest was held.)
It has been well documented on Twitter and elsewhere, and I can vouch for this, that the buses booked by Patrick and his assistants to bring fans, writers and musicians from Austin to Monterrey either never showed up or were many hours late. In one case a bus left Austin and then turned around. It should be mentioned these were school buses.
Many bands canceled because they didn’t think they could make it to Mexico and back. Others canceled for fear of their safety. But some showed up. Das Racist showed and stayed for three nights, and played multiple shows.
But the main reason why MtyMx didn’t fly was because of how poorly it was attended. The people who were there had a great time, but there just weren’t many of them. The festival was promoted heavily in the states, but when it came down to it, the show was mostly going to attract residents of Mexico. Patrick knew this to be the case. So where were they?
The Autocinema Las Torres is a huge dusty movie theater lot, and could likely hold at least 10,000 people, if not more. No one guessed that many people would show, but in a lot so big, and with only about 20 fans in front of the stage, it looked pretty sad.
At night when bigger bands played there were more people in attendance, but even then there couldn’t have been more that 700 people or so.
(ED NOTE: I WILL FOLLOW UP ON HOW MANY PEOPLE ATTENDED, AND WILL UPDATE SOON)
In Monterrey, hand plastered signs line the streets advertising musical performances, boxing matches, dance performances and more. I didn’t see one sign for MtyMx, not even outside El Garage, the DIY venue space that worked in conjunction with Patrick on MtyMx.
One writer from Mexico who was in attendance, Juan Antonio Zertuche, said he thought the reasons for poor attendance were two-fold.There was little promotion outside the local indie scene, he said, and Thursday’s killing of two students at the local university, Tecnologico de Monterrey, frightened many in the country, thus keeping them from attending. Not only American’s are afraid of drug cartels, he said.
But those who did attend were grateful for the festival. Oscar Aguilar, who lives in Monterrey and plays in a band that didn’t appear at MtyMx, was surprised that any Americans came and that the festival happened at all.
The bands that played were well received, Dan Deacon especially. The visceral quality his performance brought made the festival feel like a tight-knit community, no matter how few members there were, or how far away from each other they may have been, in social strata, economic or otherwise.