From little picnic to Bogotá’s biggest music festival

By bogotapost February 24, 2016

Estereo Picnic 2016Linda Gómez takes a look at the history of Estéreo Picnic

The festival that has got more than just a few people dancing, shouting and dreaming over the years is nearly upon us and the excitement is mounting. Estéreo Picnic began in 2010 with a modest set-up and a unique line-up that few promoters had previously been risky enough to consider.

Among the main acts was Matisyahu, which, on a personal level, was a huge motivation for me to go, given that the reggae scene in Colombia was fairly underdeveloped. However, his appearance was not enough to make the event a success, only around 3,000 people made it, which meant substantial losses for the organisers, but at least offered plenty of lessons for the future.

And while the next editions also failed to bring the desired results, the festival stuck firm to its principles of not only offering the public a star-studded international line-up, but also creating a space that combined music, gastronomy, games and camping – Bogotá’s first real festival.

Estéreo Picnic 2011 brought groups like Zoé, The Presets and Calle 13 to the capital, although attendance remained relatively low, at around 4,500.

The festival continued to grow, however, and the organisers refused to give up – 2012 received almost three times as many bands as the previous year, although the attendance of 6,000 still meant a financial loss. However, with MGMT, Caifanes, Cassius and Tinie Tempah pitching up, Estéreo Picnic was clearly making its presence felt.

It wasn’t until the next year that this one-day music bonanza was given an extra date, with organisers adopting the ‘go big or go home’ mantra. The Killers, New Order, Two Door Cinema Club, Foals, Café Tacvba and a whole host of other big names were announced – initial projections of 18,000 attendees were utterly smashed by the eventual 25,000 tickets sold. The festival had now staked its claim as the country’s number one music festival.

Other stars to have graced the stage at Estéreo Picnic include Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pixies, Nine Inch Nails, Empire of the Sun, Kings of Leon, Calvin Harris, Kasabian, Axwell, Skrillex, Jack White and so many more, leaving the door wide open for any number of international artists to visit the capital in the years to come.

This year, the strong line up at the three-day festival, which begins on March 10 at the Parque 222, represents the astonishing and rapid growth of this relative newbie on the festival scene, with the likes of Florence + The Machine, Mumford & Sons, Snoop Dogg, Noel Gallagher, Tame Impala and so many more.

Tickets are still available from, at $265,000 for individual days and $735,000 for all three.

By Linda Gómez