With under a month to go until Force Fest 2018, the excitement surrounding Mexico's premiere open air festival is reaching fever pitch. This year's lineup is massive, featuring legendary acts such as Rob Zombie, Alice in Chains, Slayer (playing their last Mexican show ever!), Danzig on his 30th anniversary tour, System of a Down, Lamb of God and too many others to list here (see the full bill below). Equally impressive is the venue where all this will take place: the historic site of Teotihuacan, Mexico. Located approximately 30 minutes from Mexico City, Teotihuacan is an ancient Mesoamerican site that, at its peak, was the largest city in the pre-Columbian Americas. Its famed Pyramid of the Sun is the third largest pyramid in the world, and exquisitely preserved murals and architecture provide a rich historical context and magical vibe for a heavy-music festival.
Six stages, campgrounds and a diverse lineup will set Force Fest apart from its partner, Guadalajara's Hell & Heaven Festival. The organizers behind both wanted to create a special event for fans who, for various reasons, had difficulty making the trip to Guadalajara. With amenities such a campsites, a carnival and a family-oriented atmosphere, this growing event is sure to provide lasting memories for all those who attend. We had a quick chat with Carlos Alcaraz, the man behind this momentous event, and got his take on this year's proceedings.
CAN YOU GIVE US A LITTLE BACKGROUND ON THE ORIGINS OF FORCE FEST?
The Force Festival started in 2008 in Mexico City in a small venue for 3,000 people. Then we kept growing with the festival and, in 2013, then we moved up to a venue for 18,000 people — a big growth for us! We started Force Festival as an alternative option for the people from the south and from Mexico City.
We always wanted to do a festival like in Europe with the campsites, a two-day festival, more than 12 hours of music each day, and so people can get out of the city to live this experience with everybody before the show. We tried to do this in 2014 with Hell & Heaven, but the festival was canceled by the government. We've been in partnership with Hell & Heaven since 2016, but we decided to make Force Fest a different experience, out of the city, with the campsites, and we're the first metal festival in Mexico to do this.
WHAT LED YOU TO CHOOSE THE HISTORIC SITE OF TEOTIHUACAN FOR THE FESTIVITIES?
Teotihuacan is a very well-known place in Mexico. It's very pretty and very magical. We found this golf course near there, and we're really psyched to do it here because we have a magical place, a lot of space, and it's 30 minutes from Mexico City so it's easy to get there and near the airport. I think it's going to work very well for the festival.
YOU'VE DESCRIBED FORCE FEST IS A "FAMILY FESTIVAL." CAN YOU ELABORATE A BIT?
Indeed it is for all ages and the whole family — all children under the age of 13 can get in free to the festival! We're trying to push for people to bring their whole family. We have a special place for the kids where they can go while the parents go see the show.
WHAT ARE A FEW THINGS FANS SHOULD LOOK FORWARD TO WHEN THEY ARRIVE AT FORCE FEST?
Well, as I said, we're very invested in having families. We have a different approach. We have six stages — one stage is all the local bands, we have new bands, we have classic bands, we have nu-metal bands, we have different attractions like a carnival. We also have all the culture of this part of the country with Teotihuacan, which is a magic place. We want people to know about this culture.
WHAT ARE YOU PERSONALLY MOST EXCITED ABOUT THIS YEAR'S FESTIVAL?
One of the goals we had when we were booking the lineup was to have the final show of Slayer, and we are happy to have it. It was not easy to get, so I'm very excited about that. Also, I'm excited to have a very balanced lineup with thrash — like Slayer, Lamb of God and Anthrax — and we'll have the grunge side with Alice in Chains and Stone Temple Pilots, which I love that combination, and also we have a lot of punk! I'm really excited for the lineup, and I think we are bringing to Mexico and to the people a really good and balanced lineup.
I NOTICED QUITE A FEW PUNK BANDS ON THE LINEUP!
Yeah! We have NOFX and Comeback Kid, we have the Used. We have this combination and I think it works very well.
ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO LET PROSPECTIVE GUESTS KNOW ABOUT THE FESTIVAL?
Where Hell & Heaven is meant to keep being in the city, Force Fest will be an experience of camping out of the city — people can keep this experience. As I said, it's the first festival in Mexico where we are doing a campsite. Many people are afraid they don't know the culture well enough, but we're trying to give people an experience where they live there, they eat there, they play there — the goal is that people will leave this experience happier than when they came. We want them to come back every year.
More information on the lineup, tickets and everything else related to Force Fest can be found here.