Jazzin’ Things Up
At the end of every November, Playa del Carmen hosts the Riviera Maya Jazz Festival. Launched in 2003, the Jazz Festival has steadily grown in popularity. Last year’s attendance was estimated at over 20,000!
It’s easy to see why so many are drawn to this unique 4-night event.
The weekend celebration of music remains free to attend, and is held at Mamita’s Beach (calle 28). How many times have you enjoyed a free concert under the stars on a stunning Caribbean beach? It’s a memorable experience, to say the least!
More than just jazz, the festival celebrates a broad range of musical styles. There can be merengue, mariachi, R & B, samba, funk and soul.
International artists are featured, so you’ll see American, Mexican and European musicians alike sharing the stage. To me, this event really encapsulates the singular spirit of Playa with its beautiful mosaic of global culture!
Usually my friends bring a few beach chairs, or maybe a blanket, and choose a spot near the stage…if we’ve arrived early enough. Seeing Earth Wind & Fire perform a couple years ago was a highlight. I’ll never forget swaying and singing along to “September” as the moon glinted off the waves!
Mamita’s Beach Club is a great venue, with the widest stretch of beach in town. It’s several blocks north of the dock on Constituyentes. (The other top beach in town right now is in front of XamanHa and Plaza Marina, just so you’re in the know. Lucky you if you’re staying there!) But wherever you’re staying, a fun and free evening of music is within a few minutes’ stroll from your downtown beachfront condo!
This year the festival gets started early with free performances at the brand new concert hall in town. Finally Playa has a legitimate, cutting-edge performing arts venue! Teatro de la Ciudad, near Walmart on 115 Avenue, hosts big band and jazz musicians starting Tuesday November 22 at 7pm.
It’s great to see Playa developing and offering more than just sunny all-inclusive vacations. As a local expat, I love attending the annual Jazz Fest! And what a cool experience to catch this event on your vacation. I recommend it wholeheartedly!
Written by Kelly Gislason