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The best free music festivals in Bogotá that you shouldn’t miss!

Music stage at free festival in Bogotá
María Montes

María Montes

I'm a social anthropologist working in marketing and I'm passionate about food, traveling to big cities and dogs. I like being that person everyone comes for recommendations especially if it is in Bogotá, a city I love dearly and where I been living intermittently for over 12 years. Instagram: @mariaisaturtle

Bogotá has become important for large-scale music events in South America, receiving the status of City of Music by Unesco. The appropriation of public spaces and the city’s efforts to give a platform to local artists was a recipe for success and an example that music has no boundaries.

The “Festivales al Parque” (Festivals in the Park) had over 330,000 total attendees in 2018 with the different audiences enjoying a variety of musical performances showcasing artists from all over the country and the world. With over two decades of history and great performances, these music festivals in Bogotá are considered some of the most important artistic and cultural displays in the country. Here are the 5 Festivals organized by the city throughout the year, and guess what…they are all free!

Rock al Parque

Main poster of Rock al Parque
© Photograph by Rock al Parque (2018 Billboard)

This year starts with the biggest free rock festival in Latin America. This three-day event will take place from June 29th to July 1st at the Simón Bolívar Park and will have three different stages with all sorts of performances that go beyond classic rock and roll and cover genres like blues, metal, ska, and punk, among others. Last year’s event showcased 55 artists and held around 185,000 attendees. Bands like Anthrax, Dead Kennedys, Manu Chao, and Sum 41 have been featured in previous line-ups over the past 24 years that the event has been held in the city and it promises to keep getting better.

Check out the Festival’s playlist here.

Colombia al Parque

Main poster of Colombia al Parque
© Photograph by Colombia al Parque (2018 Billboard)

During the second half of the year, the city will be celebrating Colombia by showcasing the best music manifestations of all the regions that make this diverse network of genres with all the influences of our past and including modern-day sounds. This 2-day event will take place in Parque de Los Novios on the 31st August and 1st of September and it will have two stages where you can experience some of the country’s best musical performances and DJs. This festival is a must for everyone looking to learn about Colombia’s musical heritage while dancing to great music under the sun.

Check out the Festival’s playlist here and read our special article about this festival here.

Jazz al Parque

Main poster of Jazz al Parque
© Photograph by Jazz al Parque (2018 Billboard)

Created back in 1995, this festival has gained a lot of recognition over the years, and this time, it will take place in September at Parque el Country from Saturday the 14th through Sunday the 15th. This is a very chill event where mostly friends and families attend to enjoy a picnic or a lay down under the sun while enjoying some great live jazz shows. Last year’s event showcased 16 bands and solo performances from national and international artists from countries like the United States, Canada, France, and Cuba, focusing on celebrating the influence of women in all sorts and variations of jazz.

Check out the Festival’s playlist here.

Hip Hop al Parque

Main poster of Hip Hop al Parque
© Photograph by Hip Hop al Parque (2018 Billboard)

This year will be the 23rd edition of the annual event that gathers the best national and international talents in the urban scene. This festival will take place on the 5th and 6th of October at Parque Simón Bolívar and it promises to be a celebration of art in all forms. The famous event will give a platform to several artists, DJs, MCs, graffiti artists, and even dance crews willing to perform and show their talent to all the attendees.

Check out the Festival’s playlist here and read our article about it!

Salsa al Parque

Main poster of Salsa al Parque
© Photograph by Salsa al Parque (2018 Billboard)

To close this year full of music, Bogotá will hold its big popular salsa party that celebrates the diverse range of salsa sub-genres, from the all-time classics to the more modern tunes. This year, the event will take place at Simon Bolivar Park on the 2nd and 3rd of November. This festival has existed for over 20 years and is famously known for gathering the best of the national talent and international artists, dance companies, vinyl collectors, press, and music lovers from all over the world in one place. I recommend you practice your salsa moves before attending! A good place is at Colture’s meeting house, which offers weekly free dance lessons and language exchange, so you can not only learn some of the basic moves but also learn and understand some of the famous salsa lyrics!

Check out the Festival’s playlist here.

Bonus Festival:  Festival Estéreo Picnic

Logo Estéreo Picnic 2019
© Photograph by Festival Estero Picnic (2019 Billboard)

This is a very different festival from the others mentioned above. This 3-day event takes place annually in Bogotá and has been around for almost a decade, becoming Colombia’s biggest alternative music festival and one of the most important festivals in South America. This is not a free event, but if you happen to be in town for those days in the picture above you shouldn’t miss it! Artists like Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Snoop Dogg, Major Lazer, Bomba Estéreo, Calvin Harris, and Kendrick Lamar have performed at Estéreo Picnic. Click here to read more about this event.

Check out the Festival’s playlist here.

You could say that all these events have helped the city to shape its own identity by showing its positive image. Music can be so different, but Bogotá has managed to showcase it on a big scale and helped spark tolerance within the attendees. I’ve had the privilege to go to all these events at least once and I can say they are all worth it in their own unique way. If you have the chance to stay in Bogota for a whole year, I recommend you go to all of them at least for a day, trust me you won’t regret it and I can assure that you will have a great time! All these 6 music festivals have become spaces where diversity and inclusion can co-exist in perfect harmony, showing that music is just a great big party where everybody is invited!

Did you like what you read? Subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on social media for more and less touristy information about Bogotá. Share your thoughts with me and follow my articles on www.colture.com.  

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