Bogotá’s live music scene is just not comparable to those of major cities in Europe or the US: local bands prefer to focus on covers and genre exercises, and international acts rarely consider that two or three gigs here and in Medellín will cover their costs.
When they do their sums and take the plunge, the ticket prices are inevitably high. So when a handful of international bands arrive at the same time, it’s hardly surprising that Estereo Picnic tickets reflect that same short-supply, high-demand dynamic.
At the time of writing there are plenty of day-tickets left for between $210,000 COP and $290,000 COP each – well out of the price-range of most normal Bogotanos.
But if you’ve been earning Australian coal-mine money, Norwegian oil money or banking money, well, anywhere, here’s what to see if you get those dirty hands on a boleta.
Thursday’s lineup is the sparsest (reflected in the ticket price), but does boast Strokes’ singer Julian Casablancas, who might preview to lucky punters songs from his new jazz-punk protest project The Voidz. The always-entertaining Trent Reznor will also be there with the latest incarnation of Nine Inch Nails to promote well-received new album Hesitation Marks, and French power-pop veterans Phoenix will plug the Killers-shaped hole in the line-up with their superior synth-drenched anthems about nonsense.
Babasónicos might also be worth a look: formerly one of Argentina’s best-loved experimental rock bands, a turn to the mainstream lost them cred but gained them many more fans. With more than 20 years of material to draw on, their set should be an interesting mix.
For followers of international indie, rock and indie-rock, Friday seems to be the most promising day, with many fans surely in head-spinning excitement at the prospect of seeing foundational 80s alt-rockers Pixies.
“Vamos” and “Isla de Encanta” will surely be sung along to in gleeful Spanish, and they’re sure to try out some new songs from their upcoming new record Indie Cindy too.
Vampire Weekend endured hype and backlash in equal measures from indie fans upon their arrival in 2008, but three fantastic records later the early backlash appears to have been purely reactionary. They’re now chart-topping and Grammy-winning superstars.
But perhaps the dark horse for Friday could be Savages, whose debut album last year Silence Yourself was a thrilling reminder of post-punk’s potential to agitate.
Saturday is a day for practicing your Spanish listening chops while discovering Colombian and other Latinoamerican bands, with only The Wailers and Gogol Bordello likely to utter an English word throughout the day.
Local rappers LosPetitFellas have a well-deserved reputation for exciting live shows, though you might need help following the lyrics, while everyone is sure to go loco when Bomba Estereo drop “Fuego” and somewhat less loco for their similar and similarly great other songs. The peak of the night will surely be the 10.30pm until 2am double-bill of Argentine ska legends Los Fabulosos Cadillacs followed by local salsa heroes La 33.
What better way to end a festival than with a stomping live run-through of “Pantera Mambo”? There is none, so don’t even think about choosing Tiesto instead.
April 3 – April 5
By Ally Brown