What an exciting time to be in Bogota right now! The 14th Annual Festival Iberoamericano de Teatro starts this coming Friday (more on that soon), promising an influx of drama, excitement and culture into our (mostly) fair city. But that’s not all we culture-vultures have to look forward to this week: the 5th Estereo Picnic Festival will be taking place in Bogota, beginning on Thursday 3rd and going on until Saturday. The festival is happening in the far north of the city, in Parque Deportivo 222, but it’ll be worth the trek up there for this year’s line-up, which would surely be the envy of almost any major festival in the world, not only Latin America.
Headline slots this year are coming courtesy of Nine Inch Nails, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Argentina’s Los Fabulosos Cadillacs. Also stepping up to late-night slots are Pixies, Tiesto, Phoenix and Vampire Weekend, making this edition of Estereo Picnic about as multicultural as it gets: Colombia, the UK, the States, Jamaica, Holland, France…I could go on (but don’t worry, I won’t).
If seeing some of these major artists doesn’t tickle your fancy, then wait, there’s more to come! More underground, alternative fare comes from gypsy punk ragamuffins* Gogol Bordello, dark and poetic British group Savages, and Australian electro duo Cut Copy. Julian Casablancas from The Strokes is even coming! As well as the aforementioned Argentine Cadillacs, Mexico’s psychedelic rock pioneers, Zoe, will be rocking the evening slot on Friday; and let’s not forget the legendary Wailers, whose classic reggae songs (although tragically lacking any Bob Marley these days) will surely be bringing a warm smile to the faces of everyone attending.
There’s plenty to cater to those of you more into the local music scene as well. Colombia’s very own bombastic party-starters Bomba Estereo will be bringing their brand of upbeat electro-cumbia to their (almost) namesake festival, whilst salsa orchestra La 33 will be on hand to provide some hip-shaking respite from all the brooding gothic punk on offer elsewhere. Not only that, but See Colombia favourites, Monsieur Perine will be chasing any rainclouds away with some uniquely Colombian swinging jazz sounds.
All in all it promises to be a cracking Estereo Picnic, and the line-up is easily the most varied and exciting since the festival’s inception in 2010. What makes it even more special is the presence of the mega-bands who, up until very recently, would have be unlikely to include Colombia as a stop on their tours. It all goes to show what we’ve been shouting from the rooftops of See Colombia Towers (possibly fictional) for years: Colombia is changing for the better, and opening itself up to travellers and foreigners like never before. Just look at the roll-call of artists who’ve visited these shores over the past few years: Metallica, Morrissey, Madonna. And it’s not just limited to artists beginning with ‘M’: Paul McCartney (that one’s borderline…), Justin Bieber, The Killers, New Order…the list could go on. Colombia is finally getting the chance to show itself to the world for what it truly is: a diverse and exciting culture, filled with warm and generous people.
Entonces, vamos to Estereo Picnic (anyone who got the subtle Pixies reference there: award yourself One Million hipster points).
*I’ve always wanted to use the word ‘ragamuffins’ in a post. Check!