Festival Rock al Parque Endurance for Cultural Diversity

Martha del Pilar Moreno

Martha del Pilar Moreno

This year’s Festival Rock al Parque’s edition comes with a bang, as the line-up is finally complete. After months of planning, selecting and auditioning bands — between guests and locals — there will be a total of fifty-five bands performing during the three days of the festival. No matter the kind of music you do prefer, there will at least a couple of bands that will satisfy your interest. However, the festival thrives to bring every year an entirely different kind of experience to the audience, which translates on bands with a distinctive sonority and style that may catch your attention outside of your comfort zone. Let us begin by introducing the guest bands.

As always, Festival Rock al Parque has distinguished itself as a festival that recognizes the current worldwide tendencies in music, where genres like metal, sludge, fusion, ska, and other alternative sonorities are represented in a fairly manner within the festival. This year’s edition is no exception, featuring top-notch international acts that are considered exceptional in their respective genres. Within the metal scene, the acts selected to perform this year as guests are the Swedish melodic death metallers Dark Tranquillity and their countrymen Dark Funeral, on a darker side of the metal spectrum. From the United States of America, Festival Rock al Parque introduces the technical death metal acts Suffocation and Cattle Decapitation, metalcore acts Suicide Silence and Walls of Jericho, punk rockers Pennywise, and from Spain the thrashers Angelus Apatrida. Mexico, on its turn, will mark their presence on stage with rockers Machingón.

Swedish Dark Tranquillity is no stranger for the Colombian scene. The melodic death metal act has come to Colombia for three times already, and this year in Festival Rock al Parque they will be performing as part of the promotion tour for their latest album ‘Atoma’, released in 2017. As one of the seminal acts in the melodic death metal scene, Dark Tranquillity shows are very straightforward and technical, moreover, their interaction with the audience is a key factor to them.

For the black metal enthusiast, Dark Funeral will definitely satisfy their craving for a dismal atmosphere. Founded in 1993, this band has gone through several member changes which have somehow refreshed their sound and energy. With their latest work, ‘Where Shadows Forever Reign’ released in 2014 and their latest member added to their line-up in 2017, Bogotá will see them perform this upcoming August at Festival Rock al Parque.

From the United States of America, Festival Rock al Parque will be represented by veterans Suffocation. The technical death metal band has developed their sound greatly after their reunion in 2003, since then, the band has released five full-length studio albums and a live concert album. Their latest release ‘…Of the Dark Light’ in 2017 revealed the announcement of vocalist Frank Mullen retirement at the end of this year, meaning that fans of the band will have the ultimate chance to see him performing live in Bogotá before he retires.

Another representative of the death metal scene is the infamous Cattle Decapitation, a band that will bring their uncanny social criticism to Festival Rock al Parque. Cattle Decapitation lyrical side is well known for displaying their open-minded mentality approach toward offbeat social injustice and animal causes. The band has been in Colombia in 2011 and since then, have released their sixth full-length studio album ‘The Anthropocene Extinction’.

A metalcore stand-off will be settled by the North Americans Suicide Silence, a band also well known to Colombian audiences since the past decade, counting already with two live presentations in the country. However, in Festival Rock al Parque it will be the very first time that the band will play on stage after the release of their highly controversial self-titled studio album, ‘Suicide Silence’, so it will be up to the audience to perceive how much the sonority of the band has changed since their early years, somehow distant from their original metalcore sound. Additionally, Walls of Jericho, a female fronted metalcore band that has been on Colombian stages quite a few times already throughout the years, appeals in much to the ever-growing metal scene in Bogotá. Their unapologetic style will grace us straight out of Detroit for the very first time in the festival.

Pennywise, the punk band that has embraced their Californian roots to a full extent, will be playing in Colombia for the first time. For the fans of the band, this is a double treat since Pennywise has released their long-awaited twelfth full-length studio album this year, entitled ‘Never Gonna Die’.

From Russia with love and defiance comes Pussy Riot. This punk, rebellious collective looks to make a mark in their first performance at Festival Rock Al Parque, where inclusiveness, open and peaceful space has been set to give those with a strong voice a place to express themselves. Their latest act of defiance happened during the biggest scenario possible, the FIFA World Cup, in which Nadezhda Tolokonnikova invaded the field for a brief period with an Anti-Kremlin political message.

From Spain, Angelus Apatrida will debut in Festival Rock al Parque. A thrash metal band founded by brothers Guillermo, José y Alberto Izquierdo together with Victor Valera and David G. Álvarez, with more than eighteen years under their belt, they have gone beyond the Spanish borders, mostly due to the fact that their lyrics are sung in English rather than their native Castellan, which allows them to reach abroad more easily. In the festival, they will present their latest album titled ‘Cabaret de la Guillotine’.

From México, as part of the exchange program that Festival Rock al Parque has with other Latin American Festivals, comes Machingón. This band embraces the popular Mexican culture not only in their fashion sense (all members use typical Mexican wrestling masks) but also in their musical roots as the incorporate congas and timbales to the basic metal gear in a genre they baptized as “El Guapacha Paguer”.

With this diverse metal line-up, Festival Rock al Parque aspires to appeal to an equally diverse crowd, not only to explore other sounds in an open-minded approach within what is considered plausible, but also to create an environment of tolerance in a not-so-tolerant world. Besides the international acts that have been invited to the biggest gathering in Bogotá, there are national and local bands that will perform in this scenario aiming to project themselves to an international market. These bands will be explored in the next article devoted to cover the Festival Rock al Parque.

Festival Rock al Parque will take place at Parque Metropolitano Simón Bolívar, on August 17th to 19th. The entrance as always is free of charge and the gates will be open from 12:00 p.m. onwards. Remember, this festival is an act of endurance, and to anyone planning to see as many bands as possible, it is highly recommended to organise the schedule ahead of the dates.

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