As July approaches, expectations regarding Festival Rock al Parque grow exponentially. A festival created through local government intentions to create a safe space to enjoy music, this festival has grown beyond its own fame. With a mixture between local bands emerging for a chance to be known, National acts that want to win over the tough Bogotanian audience; and international acts willing to enjoy the perks of high altitude gigs… oxygen tanks on standby.
The three-day festival proves to be an endurance test for it lasts from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. each day. As Festival Rock al Parque has progressed so has the culture behind it. In the early versions of the festival, all three days were focused on music. Nowadays with the incursion of more open music genres, urban tribes and culture, the festival has become a gathering of subculture, including those involved in environmental issues, entrepreneurs, and collectives concerning different aspects of life within Bogotá.
Over 22 years, many things have changed over time. When conceived, back in the mid-nineties, most of the bands who took part were into Latin American alternative rock. Bands like Café Tacuba, Aterciopelados, and La Pestilencia, Todos Tus Muertos (Argentina), Molotov (Mexico) were making an impact in Bogotanian youth. For those into a heavier sound bands like Kraken, earlier Ekhymosis, A.N.I.M.A.L. (Argentina), among others were strengthening the local music scene that paved the way for many others to come. As you may guess by now, earlier versions of the festival were focused on Latin American groups, but such vision expanded with time.
Bands from non-Spanish-speaking countries were slowly integrated into the festival. At first, it was a cautious move, mostly because of a language barrier between audience and bands. Little did organisers know that most rock fans started their musical journey with anglo-speaking bands. So, as it was expected in a country that only recently became a well-known spot for concerts, as soon as the announcement of bands like Anthrax, Morbid Angel, Apocalyptica, or Dead Kennedys would play at a local festival , the reception and attendance was overwhelming.
For 22 years, Festival Rock al Parque has brought several artists to Colombia and has propelled Colombian bands to other festivals giving the world an opportunity to get familiar with what this country can offer musically. This open air festival takes place on a three-day-weekend making room for different genres and subgenres of Rock. This diversity sometimes comes as a surprise, as some versions of the festival were oriented to one or another subgenre. This year is proving to be challenging for diversity advocates, as it has turned heavier this year than previously before.
This year, 32 acts have been announced thus far with a clear tendency towards metal and its subgenres. Aborted (Belgium), Against the Waves (Spain), Bambarabanda (Colombia), Banda Conmoción (Chile), Baroness (United States), Caramelos De Cianuro (Venezuela), Cynthia Montaño (Colombia), Deafheaven (United States), Decapitated (Poland), Elsa Y Elmar (Colombia), Eshtadur (Pereira), GBH (United Kingdom), Ghetto Warriors (Medellín), Goretrade (Colombia), Gustavo Cordera y La Caravana Mágica (Argentina), Hedor (Colombia), Las Manos De Filippi (Argentina), Leiden (Cuba/México), Los Nastys (Spain), Los Viejos (México), Morbid Macabre (Colombia), Mr Bleat (Colombia), Nación Criminal (Colombia), Napalm Death (United Kingdom), No Raza (Colombia), Pedrina Y Río (Colombia), Puerto Candelaria (Colombia), Sepultura (Brazil), Sick Of It All (United States), Sinergia (Chile), Socavon (Colombia), The Black Dahlia Murder (United States).
Quite an arsenal! However, local bands that are participating in the process of selection are yet to be announced. Auditions were held during May, so it is just a matter of time to have the definitive lineup for Festival Rock al Parque 2016. This year, the festival will take place at its usual venue, Parque Metropolitano Simón Bolivar, from July 2nd to July 4th.