¡VAMOS! Festival – Bringing Mexico to Liverpool
By Jennifer Browne
Stuck in Merseyside and longing for a vacation?
Mexico will be coming to Liverpool this year through the world-renowned ¡VAMOS! Festival – a tequila-infused celebration of all things Mexican!
Starting the 26th of October, ¡VAMOS! will bring a lively and colourful combination of Mexican culture to Liverpool that will continue into next year. Its packed schedule of cultural events will range from Mexican wrestling to the first UK exhibition of internationally renowned designer Manuel Cuevas, whose clothes have dressed everyone from The Beatles to Dolly Parton.
With ¡VAMOS! calling Newcastle home for the last decade, this will be the first time the festival will be bringing its Mexican traditions to Merseyside, and the city’s reaction has been, unsurprisingly, extremely enthusiastic towards the festival.
Emma Foxall, director at Monkey Mind Productions, who has teamed up with ¡VAMOS! to bring the event to Liverpool has agreed, saying, “We’re sensing a real excitement and desire to take part from the people of Liverpool! It’s really exciting and a fabulous alternative to the regular Halloween celebrations that generally go on in the UK.”
Festival director Nik Barrera has said that Liverpool was an obvious fit for the event, “It’s a completely unique city in the UK. With a strong political, cultural and social identity, it was a given!”
Foxall, whose hometown is in Liverpool, first approached ¡VAMOS! in 2014 with her idea for a Merseyside celebration that coincided with 2015m – the year of Mexico in the UK, and the UK in Mexico.
She said, “Liverpool is a completely unique city. It stands apart and has its own special spirit. It’s so open to new cultures and people and there is a real synergy between the character of Latin people and the people of Liverpool. They really care about people, their rights and their quality of life. They love family and having a good time.”
¡VAMOS! will begin on October 26th with the UK debut of Frida and Me at the Central Library. The exhibition workshop is open to all ages and will showcase the work of world-famous Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.
In true Mexican style, a large-scale Frida piñata will launch the exhibition with a mass bash at 4:15 pm on the day.
The festival will also include a Day of the Dead celebration taking place on the 31st of October, showcasing fashion couture, live music, DJs, street food, wrestling, a Mexican shrine and even an attempt at a world record – and let’s not forget tequila!
The Day of the Dead event will be held at St Georges Hall from 6:30 pm-1:00 am on Halloween night and is open to everyone over the age of 18, with advanced tickets available online now.
¡VAMOS! is also calling for thousands of Liverpudlians to come dressed as their finest “Catrinas” and “Catrines” (the popular Mexican skull painted faces) before the Day of the Dead celebration in an attempt to break the world record for the largest gathering in the same place.
This is not an event to be missed – with the current record standing at 509 participants, Liverpool will be competing with the US and Mexico in breaking the record, and festival director Nik Barrera thinks we stand a chance.
Catrinas and Catrines must be dressed according to rules set out by the Guiness Book of Records, though, with full Calavera makeup and dress.
Although the night event is ticketed, the world record attempt is free to everyone and will have makeup artists available at the Hall from 1 pm onwards. People are also encouraged to do their own make up and gather for the attempt at 4 pm, which will be followed by, you guessed it, another mass piñata smash!
For those trying their own hand at full Calavera makeup, full details and examples can be found at www.vamosfestival.com/2015/10instructions-for-participating-in-our-world-record-attempt/.
To follow the event, get more information or buy tickets, visit the ¡VAMOS! website at www.vamosfestival.com and follow @vamos_festival on Twitter and Instagram.