A Tulum-based “awareness festival” which became known as one of the most notorious “plague raves” in North America is going international this November.
Art With Me, the Tulum festival which last November lead to an untold number of COVID cases from both attendees heading home to their gentrified enclaves in San Francisco and New York as well as among the local population, has announced a multi-day festival coming to Miami.
I honestly never thought I’d hear the words “Art With Me” again. As 5 Mag wrote last year, the supposed hippie “awareness” festival became synonymous with “COVID tourism” — the act of wealthy Americans and Europeans flooding into poor countries for entertainment of the type banned at home and then leaving the locals to deal with the fallout.
The festival in Florida will take place almost exactly a year after the notorious Tulum superspreader event. Many attendees to Art With Me Tulum’s 2020 event brought COVID home; Eleonora Walczak of New York COVID care and testing company Checkmate Health Strategies told the Daily Beast that “60-70 percent of my positives in the last couple of weeks in New York City have been a direct result of either people coming back from Art With Me, or who have been directly exposed to someone who attended Art With Me.”
Art With Me was founded with the mission to “enrich the local community, preserve the natural environment and strengthen the local artistic development of Tulum through conscious and sustainable practice.”
After a month of equivocation, the founders of Art With Me eventually apologized for holding the event at all. In a statement sent to CNN last December, they stated they “regret not canceling the event entirely. We apologize for any strain this may have caused on our already overtaxed healthcare system [in Mexico] and front line workers, and we hope others might learn from our experience.”
Among the talent announced at Art With Me’s Miami event is a return engagement by our old correspondent, Lee Burridge. Lee has had a strangely conflicted history with providing the soundtrack for COVID tourism. In July 2020, the All Day I Dream founder apologized profusely for playing a “small private event.” He even thanked those who “called me out”:
Famous Tulum Art With Me alumni Lee Burridge will be in attendance, making little heart signs with his hands and handing out pre-printed copies of his next apology pic.twitter.com/bkcnmXEzaC
— 5 Mag Dot Net (@5Magazine) September 17, 2021
When 5 Mag asked Lee about playing at Art With Me Tulum just four months later, he was but one of the dozens of DJs who left us on read:
This is how it’s going to happen: Rich people who made atrocious ethical decisions for cash are mostly going to refuse comment for now. Then they’ll claim it is “ancient history” and imply there’s something wrong and possibly even disturbed about you for bringing it up. Then they’ll deny it ever happened at all. We’re between Stage 1 and Stage 2 now.
Photo: Gurus Gone Wild: screenshot from the 2020 Art With Me promotional video.