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Top Music Festivals to attend in Bogotá: Festival Jazz al Parque

Main entrance and logo Jazz al Parque

María Montes

Here is why you should join two days of fantastic live music, great picnic areas, unique design stores and lots of sunshine in the biggest free jazz festival in Colombia.

Created back in 1995, Festival Jazz al Parque is one of the five annual free music festivals organized by the city council and held in Bogotá. This year, the festival will take place in Parque el Country, located in the north of the city, more specifically at Calle 127 No. 11D – 10. Here are some reasons why you should consider going to Jazz al Parque. 

TWO DAYS FULL OF MUSIC AND GOOD VIBES

Jazz al Parque is a two-day event that takes place in September. This year, you can enjoy the festival from Saturday the 14th through Sunday the 15th. Jazz al Parque is a very popular festival among people of all ages and backgrounds. Unlike some of the other free music festivals in the city, like Rock al Parque and Hip Hop al Parque, the jazz festival has a smaller number of attendees and is commonly known for hosting a lot of families looking to spend a nice time enjoying live music in a different atmosphere. So keep that in mind in case you are looking for a wild party because that won’t be the case here.

In 2018, Festival Jazz al Parque showcased 16 bands and solo performances from national and international artists from countries like the United States, Canada, France, and Cuba. The whole event was dedicated to recognizing the place of women in the jazz scene and it was amazing! Among some of the artists who played Jazz al Parque in previous years were Macy Gray, Henry Butler, Big Band Bogota, Steven Bernstein & The Hot 9, Cassandra Wilson, Steve Coleman, and Chucho Valdés. So, I can guarantee you won’t be let down with the variety of ensembles and rhythms you will find. You can also follow the festival’s playlist here to keep track of the different artists playing each year.

© Photograph by Marttina_ (Jazz al Parque attendees) Flickr.com

TO KEEP IN MIND

The festival opens its doors to the public at 11 a.m. and I highly recommend you arrive before 3 p.m., otherwise, you might have to wait a while to get in. I personally consider public transport to always be the best way to arrive at any busy event, but if you are thinking about taking a car or a bicycle, you can park in Unicentro Shopping Centre, which is right next to the venue.

Due to its chill vibes, Jazz al Parque’s security is very flexible, meaning you can bring food to the event with no restriction apart from glass containers, which are forbidden at every event in the city. The security checks are way more laid back than at any other festivals, so you won’t be asked to spend so much time in the security line.

If you are hungry, you can buy food inside the event. There are plenty of food trucks to pick from, but just keep in mind that these businesses only take cash, so you should make a quick stop at the ATM before arriving. Also keep in mind that this event is mostly sponsored by a lot of media, such as local radio stations, newspapers, and tv channels, like Canal Capital, which broadcasts the event live every year, so watch out cause you might get on camera!

WHY YOU SHOULDN’T MISS IT

I personally love Jazz al Parque. It is without a doubt one of the best free festivals in the city. It’s not hectic or crowded, people are happy, you can see kids dancing and enjoying the sun while listening to fantastic music – what else can you ask for?

If you want to have a better experience and make the most out of this event, I advise you to bring your own picnic basket. The event has some really nice picnic areas where you can sit down and still enjoy the music while eating amazing local cheese. Just keep in mind that bringing alcoholic beverages is forbidden, however you can get free beer or buy hard liquor and other soft drinks at the event.

Jazz al Parque is way more than just an event; it’s a way of promoting local artists by giving them a platform to showcase their talent and bring awareness to young attendees of the importance of jazz music in today’s time. The jazz community in Colombia is very strong, especially in Bogotá, where some of the best universities in the country have prominent music departments. The city wants to promote and show this musical side so the international jazz community notices the talent here, giving opportunities to young musicians to be seen and become part of the worldwide jazz network. Overall, I think Jazz al Parque is the right balance of fun, good music, and great energy. I highly encourage anyone who is a fan of music and happens to be in the city around those dates to at least attend one day of Jazz al Parque because trust me, you won’t regret it.

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