Bringing the Day of the Dead to life in London

A riot of colour, culture and cuisine – not to mention its macabre central theme – makes Mexico’s Day of the Dead festival one of the world’s most popular and visually memorable cultural traditions. Celebrating death and honouring the past by living life to the full is a more than worthy excuse for a party and perhaps London’s most eye-catching celebration will be held at Tobacco Quay, where Wahaca’s inaugural Day of the Dead festival on November 7 has paired a feast of food alongside a vibrant 12-hour schedule of music, art, performance and provocative cultural conversation. Here we round up some of the highlights that we expect from the event.

Guac and roll stars
As you’d expect from a festival established by Thomasina Miers – founder of the Wahaca restaurant group – the food options are plentiful and will bring all of the flavours from Mexico’s rich culinary tradition to East London. Get in quick to secure a spot at a pop-up supper club fronted by celebrated Mexican chef Enrique Olvera while elsewhere expect to see innovative takes on traditional recipes, not to mention a celebration of tacos made the authentic way. Dock Best

Heaven knows we’re Mexican now
A high-calibre line up of artists from both sides of the Atlantic fuses the best of Mexican and British music into an irresistible bill. Renowned party starters Crystal Fighters are set to complement the melodrama of returning rockers Savages and the new-wave sounds of Toy and the Horrors, before the DJ lineup takes the celebration into the night. Yet we’re most excited about catching Mexxrissey, which sees Manchester meet Mexico head on in a folk-music take on the songs of former Smiths frontman, Morrissey.

Tequila, talks and taco trucks
Beyond the cuisine on offer there’ll be plenty of nourishment for the mind, too, with a series of talks and debates bringing together some of Mexico’s cultural titans and literary heavyweights to discuss everything from drug cartels to coming of age in Mexico. Meanwhile a proportion of the festival proceeds will be donated to the Periodistas de a Pie charity in support of those Mexican journalists who passed away while fighting for freedom of speech, making this a feel-good festival of the highest order.

by Ben Olsen

Wahaca presents Day of the Dead, November 7, tickets on sale here