Rock al Parque celebrates its 20th birthday by reconnecting with its heavy metal roots. Daniel Brody takes a look at the line up.
The 20th edition of Rock al Parque, one of the largest rock festivals in South America, will be taking place at Parque Simon Bolivar in Bogota from August 16 to August 18. The festival is free and is set to take place over a three-day holiday weekend.
Rock al Parque features acts from a wide range of genres, but after low attendance numbers last year on days with no metal bands on the bill, the festival is hedging its bets this time around.
The typically all-metal Saturday will also be accompanied by other heavy acts sprinkled throughout the mostly ska/punk lineup on Sunday, and the alternative rock artists that usually dominate Monday, in an acknowledgement of metal’s popularity in Bogota.
While Colombian and Latin American bands dominate the announced schedule, a number of North American acts will also be performing.
Saturday, August 16th – Pentagrams vs. Hipsters
The festival’s opening day is also the loudest. If you don’t have extensive moshing experience, you may want to avoid the area in front of the stages, where a giant circle pit full of thrashing teenagers may grind you to a pulp.
Killswitch Engage, one of the greatest metal bands of this millennium, takes the stage at 8:35pm, while Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett’s first band Exodus closes out the night at 9:50.
Indie rockers can head over to the Media Torta bandshell in Candelaria, where a slew of underground acts will also be performing as part of Rock al Parque. Fans of trippy electronic acts like Bjork will enjoy the skittering beats and folky songcraft of Argentine singer Juana Molina, who plays the Media Torta at 2:20pm.
Sunday, August 17th – Skinheads & Rudeboys
The second day of Rock al Parque resembles the Vans Warped Tour, with lots of punk bands trying to keep the spirit of 1977 alive.
Some classic punk bands will be stopping by: forty-swilling gutter punks the Casualties play at 3:10pm, and legendary ska punks Fishbone will be skanking at 7:30pm. Two of the greatest reggae producers alive, Sly & Robbie and Mad Professor, will motivate everyone to roll a fat spliff at 5:10pm and 9:50pm, respectively.
Skip the Soulfly performance meant to lure more metalheads to attend day 2 and finish the night at the Escenario Eco stage, where Afro-Colombian hip-hop collective Chocquibtown will rock the house.
Monday, August 18th – Alternative Nation into Headbanger’s Ball
This is the day to attend if you are feeling nostalgia for the 1990s. Several classic rock en español bands from that decade will be performing in the evening. Vulgar Mexican pranksters Molotov will try to offend everyone at 7:05pm, followed by Aterciopelados, Bogota’s most famous rock band, at 8:20pm.
But it’s up to two metal acts to finish the night: Black Label Society, led by former Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Zakk Wylde, will conjure a blizzard of riffs at 8:15pm, and “Big Four” thrash band Anthrax will bring Rock al Parque to a close at 10pm.
Get those devil horns ready!
Check out our review of the event itself
By Daniel Brody