Corona Capital 2022 Recap

CORONA CAPITAL: THE GREATEST MUSIC FESTIVAL YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF (Let’s change that)...
Corona Capital 2022 Recap
Corona Capital 2022 Recap

CORONA CAPITAL: THE GREATEST MUSIC FESTIVAL YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF (Let’s change that)


When you think of the largest, most prestigious music festivals, names like Coachella, Glastonbury, Lallapalooza, and even Bonnaroo may come to mind, but you’ve probably never heard of Corona Capital – and that’s a shame.

Corona Capital is an annual three-day celebration held at the Autodrome Hermanos Rodrigues – a colossal Formula One racetrack in the heart of the world’s eighth largest metropolis, Mexico City. The extensive facilities, elaborate stages and vendor set-ups, combined with an unparalleled line-up, all came together to create a singular, extraordinary event, Friday-Sunday, November 18th-20th.



Corona Capital

The festival began on a balmy, late November day. As one entered the venue, its sheer breadth and scale conjured the impression of a city within a city. The set-up and flow ensured that crowds moved easily through each section to arrive at the location of their favorite act. Even with an estimated 210,000 fans in attendance, space, mobility and safety were never a concern. This sense of security was helped along by a (literal) army of police both inside and outside the grounds, though their presence never seemed overwhelming.

One of the more enjoyable aspects of the event was the graciousness of the people of Mexico, who have supported Corona Capital since 2010. From its inception, the festival has alternated between Mexico City and Guadalajara, hosting bands like Foo fighters, Green Day, The Pixies, Tame impala, The Killers and The Strokes, among many others.

The energy was evident as soon as one entered the venue – and once money had been exchanged and added to the concertgoer’s wristband, (to pay for the very affordable fare), they were ready to begin their journey through the five massive stages as they searched for their favorite band or artist.

Although each stage differed in size, none of them could be considered “small,” and at least three of the five were as large as any top tier venue in the world. All the stages were flanked by huge screens, with impressive visual and audio tech – particularly the two main stages – which were immense. Directly adjacent to the stages were VIP sections which provided an excellent vantage point, as well as full drink and food service. Another impressive feature of the event was a Corona-sponsored rooftop bar. For the cost of a tall boy (roughly seven US dollars), any concert goer could sit and drink with a fantastic view of the main stage.

In the center of the complex was a soaring, illuminated Ferris wheel, and a grand sculpture made of recycled materials in the form of an Axoliti, or popular breed of giant salamander exclusive to Mexico City’s Xochimilco Lake. Each stage branched off into sections emanating from the midpoint.

This year’s incredible line-up was a diverse array of artists, including Miley Cyrus, Lil Nas X, The 1975, Phoebe Bridgers, Liam Gallagher, Cuco, Girl in Red, Arctic Monkeys, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Run the Jewels, Cigarettes After Sex, My Chemical Romance, Spoon, Bright Eyes, IDLES, and Kim Gordon, to name a few. Among the many acts however, some stood out from the rest – especially to the Mexico City-based fans (also known as Chilangos).



Corona Capital

Day One crackled with an air of fun and excitement, with large crowds that would only grow larger as the weekend continued. Friday’s most memorable performances were Atlanta’s dynamic (and loud) hip hop duo, Run the Jewels, and crowd favorite “Emos,” My Chemical Romance. RTJ’s Killer Mike and El-P were, surprisingly, placed at the “Viva Tent,” rather than a main stage, but they lit it up with their mix of R&B, hip hop and a politically tinged message. My Chemical Romance, led by a caped and leather-clad Gerard Way, appeared at the largest stage, “Corona.” Their intense and moody alt rock performance mesmerized their fans, garnering multiple ovations which belied their immense popularity in Mexico.

Corona Capital crowd





Spoon

Day Two brought even bigger crowds, as they arrived to revel in the performances of their musical heroes – the most talked about among them included Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Arctic Monkeys and former Oasis front man, Liam Gallagher. Performing in the afternoon on the main stage, Yeah Yeah Yeahs were an absolute revelation. Led by the fierce, flamboyant and fabulous Karen O, YYYs provided an hour of non-stop life-affirming energy peppered with exceptional musicality. Karen O’s elaborate costume and headdress could only be described as a combination of Bjork and Princess Amidala. Her performance, and that of her band, reminded us why these veteran rock stars have achieved their hard-earned, international success.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Next, came the most surprisingly well-received performance of the day, Liam Gallagher. Gallagher is, essentially, a living god to the Mexico City fans, who revere him with an almost religious ferocity. The audience waved banners with his likeness and chanted his name, clearly demonstrating a love, bordering on worship. Arctic Monkeys finished the night with their brand of cool indie rock, infused with a touch of punk. Alex Turner’s baritone was still in excellent form, and the audience responded with to him and his band with enthusiasm.

Liam Gallagher





Father John Misty

The final day did not disappoint, with an eclectic mix of acts including Father John Misty, Kim Gordon, Phoebe Bridgers, IDLES, Lil Nas X and the imitable Miley Cyrus. Father John Misty set the (Corona) stage by finishing with an all-female Mariachi band, a nod to his grateful Mexican audience. Next on the main stage was Kim Gordon, of Sonic Youth fame – whose somewhat disappointing, low-key onstage persona failed to fully connect with the crowd.

Kim Gordon

One of the bright spots of the day was IDLES, who have moved from the small stages of the festival circuit to the main stage, with tens of thousands of adoring fans cheering them on. Their raw, yet sophisticated brand of positive punk was a must for anyone who loves rock and roll and seeks a supercharged energy boost. Front man Joe Talbot stirred the crowd by adjusting the Lyrics of their ballad to immigrants, Danny Nedelko from “My best friend is an immigrant” to “My best friend is a Mexican.”

IDLES

Phoebe Bridgers also gave a heartfelt performance. She drew energy from the sizable crowd, and in turn, inspired their overall happy mood. Fan favorites like “Emotional Motion Sickness” brought the audience to their feet as she and her skeleton onesie-clad band completed their set.

Lil Nas X

Rounding out the evening were superstars, Lil Nas X and Miley Cyrus. Lil Nas X arrived at the Vanz Stage, bringing with him a spectacle to rival any Broadway show. Weaving a narrative around his alter ego, “Monetero,” he created a multimedia extravaganza complete with a mini movie, multiple costume changes and a troupe of perfectly buff and choreographed male dancers. His fans responded with what can only be characterized as euphoria.

Lil Nas X

The festival ended with a transcendent performance by Miley Cyrus. Say what you will about this pop princess, but she kept the gargantuan audience in the palm of her hand for the entire set. Entering the stage in all black, including her sunglasses, she began with an acoustic version “Wrecking Ball” and was accompanied by the entire audience, who happily sang along. The rapt fans also broke out in a rousing version of “Happy Birthday” in anticipation of her upcoming 30th birthday. She thanked them and explained to the 200,000+ crowd that she had actually created a new set just for them. The show was a truly symbiotic experience with Mylie gaining strength from her fans and they responding in kind.

Corona Capital Miley fans





Corona Capital

As the festival ended, with the enormous throng filing out of the equally enormous venue, it was clear that the three-day event was an unprecedented success. This is a show that should be seen by all, and any American who makes the effort to travel to Mexico City for it is in for a treat. In addition to this well-run festival, the city itself has so much to offer from night life, to food, to culture and entertainment, not to mention the truly warm and welcoming Mexican people. So now you know.

Corona Capital

-words: Christy Amador
-photos: Hector Amador

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