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Top 16 Most Important Music Festivals in Colombia

Singer in Guacaó bar Valledupar Colombia

Updated on 05/29/2024

Dear reader,
I would also like to recommend our Colombia travel guide, which provides a perfect overview of the tourist attractions in Colombia. Enjoy reading it!

Not everything in Colombia is salsa and vallenato as portrayed, on television. These are the most important music festivals in Colombia that you didn’t know about.

Rock al Parque Festival – Bogotá D.C

Following the format of Hellfest (France) and Wacken (Germany), the Rock al Parque Festival was born in Bogotá in 1995.

It started as an initiative to create a space for interaction among young people and to promote local and national talent in rock culture to a massive audience.

Over the years, it has become the largest free rock festival in Latin America, expanding its offerings to include genres such as punk, ska, metal (extreme metal, metalcore, etc.), and reggae.

What I really like about Rock al Parque is its role in the independent music scene in Colombia. It has served as a springboard for emerging bands, giving them opportunities in the national and international rock and metal scenes.

Artists and Bands that have participated in Rock al Parque

Since its inception, the festival has featured over 500 national and international bands/artists who have performed for millions of spectators.

Some of the standout names include Juanes, Kraken, Korn, Café Tacvba, Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, Sum 41, Andrés Calamaro, The Offspring, Sepultura, among others.

Memorable Moments

In 2005, the legendary Colombian metal band Kraken performed with the Bogotá Philharmonic Orchestra and a choir, creating a memorable moment of musical fusion.

And let’s not forget Juanes’ surprise appearance in 2019, accompanying Fito Páez in “Dar es Dar.”

What’s the Experience like at Rock al Parque?

Rock al Parque is a free festival, attracting a diverse crowd, so precautions are necessary due to encounters with all kinds of people, long lines for entry, and food purchases. Additionally, security checks are conducted upon entry, with prohibited items including:

  • Cans
  • Glass containers
  • Sharp objects
  • Belts
  • Umbrellas
  • Any object that could harm attendees when thrown

Also, be aware of street vendors selling more expensive food and drinks inside the park.

If you love disorder, mosh pits, and “Wall of Deaths,” this festival will be a delight as these are inevitable among the audience.

The experience is complemented by other activities such as an academic agenda on the music industry and musical performances on other stages in Bogotá.

Details

  • Date: The festival dates vary each year, generally lasting three to four days.
  • Location: Simón Bolivar Park.
  • Entry: Access is entirely free. Discover more about the annual events organized by Rock al Parque.
  • Attendees: An average of 300,000 attendees per edition.

Festival Baum- Bogotá D.C

The Festival Baum has stood out on the calendars of electronic music enthusiasts.

Its first edition was in 2015, hosting one of the most memorable “raves” in the history of the festival. Over 20,000 people attended, sponsored and supported by Heineken and Red Bull.

The festival has almost universal acceptance among the younger audience passionate about electronic music, attracting thousands of attendees from Colombia and other countries around the world.

It is currently the largest electronic music festival in the country and a reference in electronic music throughout Latin America.

What Sets This Electronic Festival Apart?

It’s simple; it stands out for its focus on musical quality and its commitment to the underground electronic scene, attracting local and international DJs exploring new genres.

It has featured legends like Carl Cox, Paul Oakenfold, and others, influencing electronic music in Colombia and serving as a launching pad for local artists.

Additionally, the musical focus is very diverse. At Baum, you can find everything from Minimal, Techno, Dark Techno, Hard Techno, Hard Trance to more relaxing genres like Tropi House or Melodic House.

Visual Experience

The visual experience is mind-blowing! I’ll just say that the light shows, lasers, and visual projections far exceed the expectations one would have for an electronic music festival. Of course, you’ll find excellent stage design.

It’s funny because during the sets, the audience tends to disconnect for a moment from the earthly plane of the festival. It’s as if they enter a psychedelic journey where they’re completely ecstatic, all thanks to the music.

It’s normal to experience this sensation, even some time after the last set ends, which is supposed to be a sign of a great electronic music festival.

Details

  • Dates: Lasts for 2 days, usually in May.
  • Location: Corferias Fairgrounds in the Teusaquillo locality, Bogotá.
  • Entry: There is a cost for entry.
  • Attendees: 40,000 attendees for each edition.

Festival Cordillera – Bogotá D.C

The Festival Cordillera is the youngest on this list, having been created in 2022 and already having two editions. Its purpose is to bring together the best of Latin American musical diversity in one place, as the concept arises from the idea that “on the other side of the mountain range, we are one voice.”

The festival has successfully gathered established and emerging artists from different Latin American countries and various genres on the same stage.

Not only that, but the festival is also committed to environmental conservation, planting a tree in the Páramo de las Cuchillas in the Andes mountain range for every ticket sold.

Highlighted Lineups and Genres

The Festival Cordillera stands out for its musical diversity, covering genres such as:

  • Rock
  • Pop
  • Reggae
  • Cumbia
  • Trap

It’s interesting because the festival’s artists explore innovative fusions that mix folk, electronic, and urban elements.

The lineups feature over 80 artists in the latest editions, including renowned names like Juanes, Residente, Andres Calamaro, Café Tacvba, Argentine rapper “WOS,” Enanitos Verdes, Maná, and other legends of Latin American music.

The Cordillera Experience

Generally, the Festival Cordillera is well-organized, and like any other major festival, you can expect impressive projections and visually appealing displays for each show.

Some people opt for VIP, which offers a better view of the stages with access to chairs and umbrellas.

An interesting feature is the Cashless bracelet provided before entering the festival. It’s practical, as it allows you to load money onto it for food, merchandise, as well as participating in all activities within the venue and experiences such as:

  • Entrepreneurship showcases (clothing, accessories, crafts, etc.)
  • Interactive activities and entertainment zones.

Details

  • Date: Lasts 2 days in September; dates may vary each year.
  • Location: Simón Bolívar Park.
  • Entry: There is a cost.
  • Attendees: Over 65 thousand people for each edition.

Hip Hop al Parque – Bogotá D.C

Hip Hop al Parque is the country’s most popular rap festival since 1996 in Bogotá. It originated from the need to create a space of expression for the growing hip-hop community in the country.

Over the years, the festival has grown significantly, evolving from a local event to one of the most important hip-hop festivals in Latin America, a benchmark in its field. It increasingly incorporates new disciplines of hip-hop.

Impact of the Festival on the National Rap Scene

Hip Hop al Parque has had a profound impact on the national music scene, contributing to the spread of hip-hop as a musical genre in which many young people express themselves artistically.

It has also served as a platform for emerging artists to become professionals and for collaboration within the hip-hop community.

Influential Artists and Moments of Hip Hop al Parque

This festival has hosted a wide range of genres and artists. In addition to rap, the event has featured other elements of hip-hop, such as breakdancing, freestyle, and graffiti. Notable artists include Canserbero, Trueno, VallesT, A.K.A Mind, KRS-One.

One of the most iconic moments of the festival was the rap battle (improvisation battle) in 2019 between some of the leading figures in international freestyle, such as Marithea and Carpediem from Colombia, and the Mexican freestyle legend “Aczino.”

That year, attendance set a record with 60,000 people in one day.

What’s the Experience like at Hip Hop al Parque?

First, you’ll find food areas, merchandise stands, as well as experiences related to Hip Hop culture, such as breakdance competitions and graffiti exhibitions.

The rap battle is one of the most anticipated experiences at the festival, where rappers improvise lively rhymes, and the audience participates through “hyping” to heighten the excitement and tension in the battles.

Details

  • Dates: Two days, usually in July.
  • Location: Simón Bolívar Park.
  • Entry: Attendance is free. Find more information at Hip Hop al Parque.
  • Attendees: Between 100,000 and 150,000 attendees for each edition.

Ópera al Parque – Bogotá D.C

The Ópera al Parque Festival was born in 1998 as an initiative of the Bogotá Philharmonic Orchestra to bring the lyrical genre closer to the city, making it accessible to all and promoting local talent.

The festival is characterized by its diversity in formats, stages, and proposals, ranging from classical operas to contemporary ones, including zarzuelas, musicals, and chamber operas.

It has also stood out for bringing internationally renowned artists and groups, enriching the operatic scene in Colombia.

Genres of the Festival

Some of the most popular genres you’ll find at Opera al Parque are generally sub-genres of lyrical singing, such as:

  • Italian opera.
  • French opera.
  • German opera.
  • English opera.
  • Spanish zarzuela.
  • Zarzuela.
  • Viennese operetta.
  • French operetta.
  • American musicals.
  • Choral singing.

Highlighted Productions and Artists

Some of the standout artists who have performed at the festival are Plácido Domingo, the Spanish legend who played the lead role in Giuseppe Verdi’s “Otello” with his deep voice, and Anna Netrebko, the famous Russian soprano who played the role of Mimi in Giacomo Puccini’s “La Boheme.”

The production is impressive; in 2021, the festival staged an opera that adapted a zarzuela for deaf and hearing audiences, with a cast of professional singers and actors performing the piece in sign language.

What’s the Experience like at the Opera al Parque Festival?

The experience of this festival is different from the other festivals on this list. Generally, it carries a significant emotional charge. In many of the works, you’ll travel through time, thanks to the production, sound, and costumes.

Especially when you attend the theaters prepared by the festival, as they make these shows feel like you’re witnessing a typical opera show in the Renaissance-era Europe of the 15th and 16th centuries.

Another experience the festival offers is surprising the audience with concerts in unexpected places such as market squares, transport terminals, airports, and public transportation service stations in the city.

Details

  • Date: More than a week, usually in November.
  • Location: Market squares, stations, airport, among other public places in the city.
  • Entry: Attendance is free. Find more information at Opera al Parque.
  • Attendees: 160,000 for each edition.

Festival Salsa al Parque – Bogotá D.C

The Salsa al Parque Festival has been celebrated since 1997. It originated as an initiative to promote salsa as a musical and cultural genre in Colombia.

If you didn’t know, salsa wasn’t as popular in Colombia as it is today, and this festival was born as a response to the demand for appreciation and dissemination of this genre, eventually gaining the support of the Bogotá city government and other entities. Today, it is one of the most important events in the Colombian salsa scene.

Orchestras

Here, you can find some of the most renowned salsa orchestras from Colombia and other parts of Latin America, from genre legends to young talents.

Orchestras like Grupo Niche, Sonora Ponceña, Wilfrido Vargas, and Willie Colón are some of the most popular artists who have participated in the festival. Salsa al Parque integrates genres such as:

  • Classic Cuban and Colombian salsa
  • Hard salsa
  • Romantic salsa
  • Fusion salsa
  • Salsa choque

What’s the Experience like at the Salsa al Parque Festival?

Salsa al Parque is part of Bogotá’s series of public concerts, so it welcomes all audiences, whether locals or not. However, due to the nature of the musical genre, there aren’t as many restrictions as in Rock al Parque. This event also includes an area for local salsa-related entrepreneurship.

A typical feature of the festival is partner dancing; in fact, this is typical of any salsa concert you attend in Colombia. In this case, there is a large dance floor for couples and groups. Some tourists may not be very open to these traditions; however, it is part of the Colombian salsa experience that the festival offers.

Details

  • Date: Two days, usually in June, though it may vary each year.
  • Location: Simón Bolívar Park, Bogotá.
  • Entry: Attendance is free. Visit Salsa al Parque for more information.
  • Attendees: In the last edition of 2023, it brought together over 170,000 people over the two days.

Festival Estéreo Picnic – Briceño, Cundinamarca

The Festival Estéreo Picnic is like the Colombian version of Lollapalooza. I’ve had the luck to attend several times; let me tell you a bit more about this musical experience.

How did Estéreo Picnic start?

The Festival Estéreo Picnic is a true gem in Colombia’s music scene. It started in 2010 as a modest one-day festival, primarily focusing on indie and alternative music.

It has now become one of the country’s most prominent musical events, where you can see artists from all over the world on its five main stages.

In 2022, Billboard magazine nominated the Estéreo Picnic Festival among the top 50 music festivals in the world, calling it the “Lollapalooza of Bogotá.”

If there’s something I like about Estéreo Picnic, it’s its ability to bring major artists to Colombia.

In previous editions, we’ve had the pleasure of enjoying performances by bands/artists such as Arctic Monkeys, The Strokes, Kendrick Lamar, Florence, Billie Eillish, rapper “Drake,” among others.

In short, I could be mentioning high-profile artists who have participated in the festival throughout the entire blog.

What’s the Experience like at Estéreo Picnic?

The atmosphere at this festival is incredible! The organizers always do an excellent job with lighting, production, stage setups, visual and sound effects. They also excel in selecting local gourmet food offerings.

There are plenty of activities to keep people busy during the shows, from art zones to relaxation spaces, local product ventures, and mechanical games.

Like any other large festival, the experience can be affected, for example, by long lines to buy food or drinks (a recurring criticism from attendees).

But despite these minor inconveniences, the overall atmosphere is very positive, making you quickly forget about these issues.

Details

  • Dates: Four days between March and April.
  • Location: Briceño 18 Golf Course, Cundinamarca.
  • Entry: There is a cost.
  • Attendees: 170 thousand people for each edition.

Festival Internacional de Tango – Medellín, Antioquia

The Festival Internacional de Tango (or International Tango Festival) originated in 2007 to celebrate Colombian passion for Argentine tango music and dance, coinciding with Carlos Gardel’s death in Medellín in 1935. It was born as a tribute to Gardel’s legacy.

Over time, it has become the second most important tango festival in the world, attracting artists from around the globe and promoting diversity, enriching the local and global tango scene.

Impact of the festival on Tango and common genres

It is currently a worldwide reference point for tango. This is because young people have experimented with the genre, exploring new ways of interpreting it and fusing it with other musical styles.

This attracts new audiences, sparking interest and preserving the culture. Here, you’ll appreciate other musical forms of tango such as:

  • Electronic tango (tango with experimental synthetic sounds)
  • Tango fused with jazz and folklore.
  • Traditional and contemporary tango.

Influential Artists of the Festival

The Festival Internacional de Tango has had the honor of hosting some influential artists such as Astor Piazzolla, Osvaldo Pugliese, Susana Rinaldi, as well as professional dancers like Carlos Gavito, María Nieves, and Geraldine Rojas.

They have left an indelible mark on the history of this festival, contributing to its international renown and giving it more visibility than it already had.

What’s the Experience like at the Festival Internacional de Tango in Medellín?

In addition to contests, dance classes, exhibitions, and conferences about tango offered by the festival, you’ll interact with guest artists, probably many from Argentina, depending on the invited country.

As if that weren’t enough, the festival also offers digital platforms to watch all events live. Moreover, if you attend in person, you’ll be able to attend theaters for free and enjoy the stages that Medellín has.

Details

  • Date: About a week, the month may vary each year.
  • Location: Plaza Gardel, Medellín.
  • Entry: Attendance is free.
  • Attendees: 20 thousand people for each edition.

Learn more about the Festival Internacional de Tango in Medellín.

Festival Altavoz – Medellín, Antioquia

The Festival Altavoz is a musical event in Medellín that emerged in 2004 when the city was just emerging from a turbulent past and was seeking to project a renewed image.

Since then, the festival has grown, transitioning from a one-day event with 12 local bands to a three-day festival with over 70 local and international bands and artists.

It has become a platform for discovering new talents, being one of the most popular and significant festivals in the country for promoting alternative music.

Relevant Artists and Musical Genres

The festival has been a stage for hundreds of bands and soloists from various genres such as rock, punk, metal, ska, rap, metalcore, and alternative music. It has hosted artists like Mon Laferte, Esteman, or the American metal band Exodus.

Also, artists like the legendary former drummer of the British band The Ramones, “Marky Ramone,” celebrated his 72nd birthday on the Altavoz Festival stage while the audience sang him Happy Birthday.

Inclusive and Participatory Atmosphere

It’s a multifaceted space, where you’ll find rock fans, electronic music enthusiasts, or lovers of more folkloric music.

In addition to live music, the festival includes a variety of artistic and cultural activities such as design fairs and exhibitions of local art, adding an additional dimension to the experience.

Details

  • Date: Three days, the month varies each year.
  • Entry: Admission is free. Learn more about the Festival Altavoz.
  • Attendees: Over 50 thousand attendees for each edition.

Festival de Música Clásica – Cartagena, Bolívar

The Festival de Música Clásica (or Classical Music Festival) de Cartagena is held every year in January since 2007.

Inspired by the artistic festival “Spoleto” in Italy, this festival was born in Cartagena with the purpose of offering the local and foreign public a live experience of high-quality classical music.

Since then, it has attracted classical music lovers from all over the world, becoming the most important event of this genre in the country and a reference in Latin America.

Repertoire and Musicians

The repertoires offered by this festival are very varied, ranging from baroque to contemporary music, including classicism, romanticism, impressionism, and nationalism.

Every year, renowned musicians of high repute are invited. For example, the famous Andre Rieu, the living legend of the violin, who performed orchestral waltz repertoires, including the national anthem of Colombia, in several past editions.

Renowned featured musicians such as Jean-Yves, Joshua Bell, or Daniel Barenboim have also interpreted classical works by Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, and other legends of classical music.

What’s the Experience like at the Cartagena Music Festival?

Many attendees highlight its beauty and organization. In case you didn’t know, Cartagena was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO due to its well-preserved Spanish colonial architecture.

Of course, this makes attendees experience a performance as if they were in a typical European concert hall with carefully tuned acoustics. It’s like mixing European colonial stages and classical music but within a Caribbean atmosphere.

You can also enjoy workshops, masterclasses, educational activities, and practical sessions so you can get involved and learn more about classical music.

Details

  • Dates: One week, usually in January.
  • Location: Historic Center of Cartagena in the Castillo de San Felipe, also in theaters or auditoriums in the historic center.
  • Tickets: Some concerts are free, held in outdoor venues (parks, squares, etc.). Others have a cost and take place in indoor spaces (theaters, convention centers, cloisters, etc.). Find more information about the Cartagena Music Festival.
  • Number of attendees: 10 to 15 thousand people for each edition.

Festival Petronio Álvarez – Cali, Valle del Cauca

The Festival Petronio Álvarez, originating in 1997 in Cali, is an emblematic musical event that promotes and celebrates Afro-Colombian culture, honoring the African heritage in the Colombian Pacific.

Named in honor of Petronio Álvarez, a prominent musician, the festival has become a significant reference in Afro-Colombian music, attracting musicians and tourists from around the world every year.

At the festival, you can witness musical competitions, categorized into five musical genres: Traditional songs, marimba, chirimía, Caucano violins, and free version.

Judging criteria include musical quality, originality, interpretation, and stage presence. Cash prizes are awarded at the end.

Additionally, the festival has featured performances by very popular national artists/groups such as Grupo Bahía, ChocQuib Town, and Herencia de Timbiquí.

Social Impact of the Petronio Álvarez Festival

Petronio is one of the festivals that has successfully promoted social inclusion through programs and events involving locals and visitors, such as workshops and community activities.

Not only through programs does it promote inclusion, but the festival itself creates opportunities for local artists and communities through festival promotion to encourage tourism.

What’s the Experience like at the Petronio Álvarez Festival?

It’s common to see locals performing group dances during the shows. Generally, these people are very open to visitors, so they’ll invite you to join in at all times.

But what caught my attention the most is that during the festival, many locals tend to drink a beverage called “El Arrechón.” It’s an ancestral aphrodisiac drink, one of the most typical in the Pacific region.

During the festival, don’t be surprised if locals offer or give you a bit of this drink; it’s normal. They say it gives a lot of “potency,” enhancing the experience during the festival.

Details

  • Dates: Five days, usually in August.
  • Location: The event location varies each year; you should stay tuned on the Petronio Álvarez Festival website.
  • Entry: Admission is free.
  • Attendees: 500 thousand for each edition.

Green Moon Festival – San Andrés Islas

The Green Moon Festival is a music festival known for its commitment to sustainability and environmental awareness.

It began in 1983 on the islands of San Andrés when a group of friends passionate about music and environmental protection decided to join forces to create an event that was “a simple musical celebration.”

Since then, it has grown and fostered ecological awareness among attendees, using Afro-Caribbean music as a platform for raising awareness about environmental issues.

At this festival, you can experience a wide range of artists and musical genres, primarily focusing on African-origin genres such as reggae, calypso, soca, rap, zouk, and dancehall.

Some of the standout artists who have participated in the festival include Shaggy, Sean Paul, Bennie Man, Steel Pulse, Cultura Profética, and Jamaican Damian Marley.

Not only does it offer Afro-Caribbean music, but local and international DJs also participate, such as Charlotte de Witte, who has performed several times at Tomorrowland.

Experience within the Green Moon Festival

The experience at this festival offers beach activities such as yoga, surfing, paddleboarding, and sailing games. Additionally, it stands out for promoting ecological awareness with recycling stations throughout the venue.

At nightfall, people gather to contemplate the moon and make wishes, stemming from the belief in lunar magic and wish fulfillment by the archipelago’s natives. Hence the festival’s name.

The stages, sound, stage design, artists, and the mix of Caribbean music and the overall atmosphere create that tropical beach party feeling.

Details

  • Date: Generally during a week in September.
  • Entry: There is an entry cost. Facebook Page.

Festival Nacional de Música Colombiana – Ibagué, Tolima

The Festival Nacional de Música Colombiana (or National Colombian Music Festival) is a cultural event celebrated since 1987 in Ibagué, Tolima, known as the musical capital of Colombia.

The festival was created to preserve and promote the country’s musical traditions, especially Andean music, as well as other regional folk expressions. It has also incorporated new elements and musical genres but always maintains its focus on Colombian indigenous music.

Impact on the Colombian Music Scene

As you can see, in this list, it is probably the only festival that has significantly contributed to the promotion and preservation of traditional Colombian music, fostering interest in the representative folk music of Colombia. So, it has been fundamental to Colombia’s cultural identity.

Repertoire and Artists

The festival covers a wide range of Colombian folk genres, including bambuco, pasillo, and guabina (Andean region), cumbia and vallenato (Caribbean coast), llanera music (Orinoco region), among others. It has also been a platform for emerging musicians and composers such as Jorge Villamil, Leandro Díaz, and Rafael Escalona.

What’s the Experience like at the Festival de Música Colombiana?

It’s a space where you’ll appreciate regional music, an immersion into the musical and cultural diversity of the country. In addition to a live music space, the event also offers activities more focused on regional culture such as parades, art exhibitions, and gastronomic fairs.

Details

  • Date: One week, usually in March.
  • Entry: Most events are free, except for the gala concert and others held in theaters.
  • Attendees: 30 thousand attendees for each edition.

Festival de la Leyenda Vallenata – Valledupar, Cesar

The Festival de la Leyenda Vallenata (Vallenata Legend Festival, by its meaning in English) is the most important vallenato event in the country, celebrated annually since 1968. It aims to preserve vallenato, which is currently one of the most representative genres of Colombian folklore, through its four rhythms:

  • Paseo
  • Merengue
  • Son
  • Puya

This festival is usually linked to oral traditions associated with vallenato, such as myths, stories, legends, and other cultural expressions.

Accordion player of vallenato in Santa Marta Colombia

Recognition of Outstanding Vallenato Artists

In the Leyenda Vallenata, each year, an artist or group is chosen as the honoree of the festival, and a special night is dedicated to them with a concert or recognition for their career. Examples include:

  • Rafael Escalona.
  • Diomedes Diaz.
  • Jorge Oñate.
  • Carlos Vives.
  • Los Hermanos Zuleta.
  • Silvestre Dangond.

Currently, they are considered legends in this genre.

Categories and Festival Competitions

At this festival, you can observe competitions defined in five categories:

  • Infant.
  • Youth.
  • Amateur.
  • Professional.
  • Interpreters.

Each category is evaluated on accordion, box, and guaracha mastery (basic instruments in vallenato), as well as the interpretation of the four airs or styles of vallenato (Paseo, Merengue, Son, and Puya).

Winners in each category receive a sum of money and recognition as kings or queens of the vallenato genre at the festival. This tradition has been maintained to this day.

Collaborations and Fusions with Other Musical Genres

The Festival de Vallenato is not limited to pure vallenato; it has also fused genres like rock, rap, blues, and flamenco. Artists like Juanes or Carlos Santana have enriched vallenato, expanding its reach.

Some purists see this as a loss of authenticity. Nevertheless, the festival remains one of the most important in Colombia due to the popularity of vallenato today.

Details

  • Dates: Four days, usually in April.
  • Location: Celebrated in different parts of the city of Valledupar each year.
  • Entry: Attendance has a cost.
  • Attendees: 137 thousand attendees for each edition.

Festival Nacional de Gaitas – Ovejas, Sucre

The Festival Nacional de Gaitas (National Bagpipes Festival, by its meaning in English) is a Colombian folk music event that started in 1985 in the municipality of Ovejas in the department of Sucre.

It began with the aim of promoting the gaita music, a traditional aerophone instrument from the Colombian Caribbean region. Therefore, the festival is the result of respect for the cultural heritage of the gaita.

Repertoire and Genres

There, you’ll see gaita rounds and traditional groups, featuring the best gaiteros like Los Gaiteros de Ovejas, Los Gaiteros de San Jacinto, Los Gaiteros de Magangué, among other groups.

Some of the genres you’ll find at the festival are:

  • Gaita: The main and most traditional genre.
  • Cumbia: A traditional Caribbean dance genre.
  • Mapalé: An Afro-Colombian rhythm.
  • Merengue: A cheerful rhythm of Dominican origin.

Impact of the Festival on the Region

It is the only festival in the Colombian Caribbean region that has contributed to the preservation of gaita music, as it is one of the most important instruments in Caribbean folklore. Also, thanks to this festival, tourism is promoted in the municipality and the region.

The festival is an important source of income for people who live off folk music and perform at the festival.

The Experience at the Festival

The festival takes place on multiple stages in the town, including the central square and other outdoor spaces. What’s fun is that the whole community gets involved, fostering a sense of belonging.

The stages are decorated with Caribbean elements such as hats, gaitas, and colorful murals representing regional culture. Additionally, you can enjoy stalls with crafts and foods from the Colombian Caribbean, creating an immersive experience that captures Caribbean festivities, all in one place.

Details

  • Date: Three days, usually in August, sometimes in October depending on the year.
  • Entry: Attendance is free. Learn more about the Caribbean at the Festival Nacional de la Gaita.
  • Attendees: Between 3 to 5 thousand people for each edition.

Tatacoa Festival- Huila

The Tatacoa Festival is an electronic music event that has been taking place since 2017 in the Tatacoa Desert, in the northern part of the Huila department.

From its inception, this festival aimed to promote tourism in the region, capitalizing on the natural beauty and cultural richness of the Tatacoa Desert, considered one of the most attractive places in Colombia.

This event is quite unique, as it features sounds ranging from Tech House, Deep House, Tech House, and Experimental House to more relaxing synthetic sounds.

Focus on Music and Nature

The Tatacoa Festival focuses on merging sounds inspired by nature with the distinctive sound of house music and has attracted renowned artists such as Mathame, Claptone, and Mark Broom.

These artists have performed at international events like Tomorrowland and have enjoyed playing house sets for up to 2 hours on the desert stages of the festival.

The climate, atmosphere, and Latin audience create a dynamic and enjoyable experience for both musicians and attendees.

What’s the Experience like at the Tatacoa Festival?

It’s fascinating how they manage to combine stage setup, decoration, and production with the desert environment. Essentially, they create impactful visual experiences, projections, light shows, and special effects, playing with the trees, rocks, palm trees, and the rest of the surroundings.

To complement this, the festival also offers activities such as yoga, camping, cycling, hiking, among other sports. It promotes ecotourism not only within the festival but throughout the region.

Currently, the festival has been on hiatus since 2019 due to an incident involving a university student. There is no official confirmation of a return, but closure hasn’t been definitively stated either.

Details

  • Date: Lasts for three days, usually in October.
  • Entry: Admission has a cost.
  • Attendees: 5 thousand attendees for each edition.

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Frank

Frank

Hello! I'm Frank Spitzer, the founder and the heart behind Pelecanus, a specialized tour operator for Colombia travel. My journey in travel is vast and rich – I've explored over 60 countries, absorbing cultures, experiences, and stories along the way. Since 2017, I've been channeling this wealth of global experience into creating unforgettable travel experiences in Colombia. I'm recognized as a leading authority in Colombian tourism, with a deep-seated passion for sharing this beautiful country with the world. You can catch glimpses of my travel adventures and insights around Colombia on my YouTube channel. I'm also active on social media platforms like TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, where I share the vibrant culture and stunning landscapes of Colombia. For professional networking, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn. Join me on this incredible journey, and let's explore the wonders of Colombia together!

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