In the middle of one of the rainiest weekends in Bogotá, Colombia, in recent memory, the Estéreo Picnic festival triumphantly overcame the lousy weather. In its second day, in addition to a roster of heavy-hitting headliners that included Florence + the Machine and Noel Gallagher, the clever lineup distribution led the visitors trough a journey of new Latin American sounds.
The day started with heavy rain, traffic jams and a little bit of chaos created by a hailstorm that almost led to power cuts to safeguard staff. The weather also led to delays, with fans and bands alike stuck for up to two hours in traffic. But this time, the visitors were better prepared and boots and umbrellas took over the skimpy outfits of the prior day.
And thank God for that, because one needed boots to trudge up what seemed an obstacle course of hills made slippery with mud and water before reaching the stage in time to hear Revolver Plateado, who kicked off the afternoon with their blues rock. Ismael Ayende followed with their danceable psycho-surfing and Las Pirañas started a psychedelic rumba of unexpected proportions.
The final burst of Latin American explosion was carried out by the more international Ximena Sariñana, Vicente Garcia, Little Jesus, Francisca Valenzuela and Oh’LaVille, providing a complete sample of indie and alt/pop Latin American music.
With the evening came Alabama Shakes, whose heartbreak songs — including hits like “Don’t Wanna Fight”, “Dunes” and “Gimme All Your Love” — led the audience to tears. Then, another long-awaited first for Colombia from Gallagher, who performed Oasis hits like “Don’t Look Back in Anger”, “Champagne Supernova” and “Wonderwall.”
“It took me 24 years to come here, let’s hope next time doesn’t take that much,” Gallagher said to an appreciative audience that gave one of the biggest ovations Estéreo Picnic has seen.
Sadly, this year’s sound is not what we’re used to from a festival of this level. There was no back-up sound in the middle of the main stage venue, and the lack of a powerful sound system left those watching from a distance with the sense that the only way to truly be part of the show was to be up front kicking and screaming with the hardcore fans.
Nevertheless, Florence Welch and her Florence + the Machine managed to, literally, shake Bogotá’s ground. With a powerful selection of songs and an equally powerful performance, the group took Estéreo Picnic to a new level of import in the global festival stage.
In the end, the rain never stopped, but neither did the music. Between legendary performances and enchanting new sounds, Estéreo Picnic delivered, showing us all that indeed, this is #UnMundoDistinto (a different world).