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Top Music Festivals to Attend in Bogotá: Hip Hop al Parque

People at Hip Hop al Parque

María Montes

The biggest hip hop music festival in Latin America is a two-day event filled with music, improvisation, dance, and the best rhymes in the continent. This gig is for the brave and curious, so if you fall into one of these two categories, this is the right event for you!

This year will be the 23rd edition of the annual event that gathers the best national and international talents in the urban scene. The event hosted at Parque Simón Bolívar will take place on the 5th and 6th of October and it promises to be as good as the previous editions. Here is why you should consider going to this festival and the things you should keep in mind before attending.

A CELEBRATION OF DIVERSITY

Without a doubt, Hip Hop al Parque is one of the most interesting festivals of the 5 annual free music festivals organized by the city council. Why? Because it not only showcases music, it also celebrates a whole lifestyle and subculture that took over this country many decades ago and it is still going very strong.  

The last edition of Festival Hip–Hop al Parque showcased 8 international artists and 14 national artists, including DJs and MCs, it also displayed the art of 50 graffiti artists, such as PDV Crew & NOWK, and their work across the city due to Bogota’s council scholarship to promote urban art. This music festival is so diverse and inclusive, that even 4 dance crews were selected to take part in a  dance battle, where the winner got a total prize of $4,000 USD.

Among the artists that have participated in previous editions of the festival are Rapsody (USA), Mala Rodríguez (Spain), Todo Copas (Colombia), Ice Cube (USA), Nach (Spain), and the one and only Grandmaster Flash (USA).

Graffiti artists at Festival Hip Hop al Parque
© Photograph by Objetivo.Fanzine Flickr.com

THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND BEFORE ATTENDING  

Hip hop around the world and Colombia, in particular, has a very close attachment to the low income and working-class neighborhoods, especially in the country’s biggest cities, like Medellin, Cali, and Bogotá. This genre has a strong fan base and these negative associations have caused a stigma among the public opinion. Many locals might tell you negative stories about this event and they might sound scary and put you off from going, but just keep in mind that most of them are not true or are an exaggeration of a misfortunate event. If you are brave enough to decide to ignore the negative reviews (mostly from people who haven’t even been to one of these festivals) and go to this event, you should keep in mind some of the following aspects.

First of all, this is a public event organized by the city and safety restrictions can be quite extreme. For instance, you are not allowed to bring in any type of metal belt buckle, food, alcohol, umbrellas, cigarettes, lighters, or glass, and you can expect to be asked to remove your shoes and socks as part of the police inspection protocols. You can purchase food and non-alcoholic beer inside the venue, but keep in mind that you need to bring cash because there are no ATMs in the park.

Keep also in mind that smoking is forbidden, although you can expect to see a lot of people smuggling cigarettes and smoking without getting in trouble. I encourage you to take public transportation to arrive at the venue, and don’t forget to bring a good jacket for the evening, and wear sunscreen if you happen to arrive before the sun sets!

Most importantly, I encourage you to come with an open mind and a great attitude to enjoy the biggest hip hop party in South America. Even if you are not a big fan of this genre, I still advise you to go, as I can guarantee you will have lots of fun by just hanging out with all sorts of people. Here is a playlist of Colombian Hip Hop so you can get in the mood for this event and attend with the best energy; trust me, you won’t regret it.

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