Talk to Heiko Goetze, and you too might be tempted to move to Playa del Carmen. The enthusiastic promoter has been hyping the region’s music scene for nearly a decade, spurring the electronic scene in particular. This guy knows about Playa’s best parties, and he’s usually lending a hand. This New Year’s Eve, he and electronic duo Audiofly will present Flying Circus—bound to be the area’s best venue for music, dancing, and ushering in 2017. Goetze answered a few questions about the upcoming celebration, what drew him to Playa del Carmen, and which events he’s looking forward to this winter.
How did you get involved with Flying Circus? What’s your particular role?
Kind of a funny story, really. I’ve been promoting events in Playa since 2007, when the BPM Festival (an annual music festival in Cabo) just started as well. BPM was a fairly commercial festival, even back in the day, whereas I was booking underground artists since day one. In order to keep the scene going, I had to do more commercial events to finance my passion. There was just no way back then to make any money in the underground scene, but it was so much fun! In 2009, I received a call from the Audiofly guys (who run Flying Circus). They asked me if I could deliver a Flying Circus show prior to their event at the Miami Winter Music Conference. Luca from Audiofly had a gig cancellation and we spent nine days hanging out in Playa, becoming really good friends. This first Flying Circus event in Playa was a great success, and from then on I managed the business and the Audiofly guys took care of creative direction for the sound and the essence of the brand. We were actually the first proper brand in the Techno Circus festival alongside Circo Loco from Ibiza. Still puts a big smile on our faces when we look back on these humble days of the Techno Circus. We’ve toured the whole world for many years from Berlin to Ibiza, from Sydney to Buenos Aires, eventually landing a full residency on the magical island of Ibiza with our ‘baby’! Playa, as our starting point, has always had a special place in our hearts. This is our eighth year organizing the legendary New Year’s Eve party in the Mayan Riviera, and hopefully there will be many more to come!
Describe how you came to Playa del Carmen and what you love about it.
I’ve been coming to Playa since 2001 when I took a trip here with my parents and brother and stayed at a resort. Our travel agent warned us not to leave — that going downtown might not be entirely safe — but my brother and I went anyway. We checked out the renowned Fifth Avenue and the beach area. At the time, Fifth Avenue ended at Constitution Avenue, and Mamitas Beach Club was only a super small beach bar with some floating beach beds. The road to the club was lined with mangroves. I recall that we started out our night at the infamous Blue Parrot and then went on partying at Capitan Tutix. For me, it was heaven on earth, really—all of Fifth Avenue with its colorful, colonial style Mexican hacienda buildings, little shops, cozy restaurants, and local fishermen. This all set the tone for one of the most gorgeous beaches I had seen so far in my life. It took me until 2004 to return to Playa when I was on a contract for a German company and working and living in Philadelphia. I would use up all my holidays to fly down again and again. By then, Playa had matured from a fishermen village into a hip melting pot with people from all over the world — in my eyes it was the most beautiful place on earth. From that moment, I decided I wanted to live in Playa. Three years later in 2007, I made it happen. My US partners and I opened up the first legit Coffee Shop in Playa del Carmen. We called it Coffee Café. I’ve never looked back. Playa has given me so much in my life, as a person and an entrepreneur. I am forever grateful.
How is the scene for music and parties changing in the region?
I’ll be honest—If I were to compare today to our humble beginnings in 2007, I’d want the old days back. The local scene and the vibe we had for our events was something so special you cannot understand unless you experienced it. It was like a big family back then. There was so much raw enthusiasm and the atmosphere among artists, promoters, and the crowd was rare. The whole scene has grown up a lot, and it has turned into a big business, like a machine with minimal connections among its players. A perfect analogy would be what’s happened to Fifth Avenue now – it’s turned into a shopping mall kind of atmosphere rather than the enchanting fishermen village where you could stroll down moonlit, mangrove lined pathways to hidden beach clubs and absorb the extraordinary vibe.
Which events are you looking forward to in Playa del Carmen this winter?
There are some classics which have been around since day one of BPM or as independent as events like Flying Circus. Among those are ‘Day Zero’, ‘All Day I Dream’ with my good friend Lee Burridge, and ‘Rumours’ with Guy Gerber. These events have influenced the musical development of this town the most. I can tell you that I am not a big fan of all the new trendy events popping up every year, out of nowhere, that are hyped by heavy spending in social media.