Music Festivals in South America
We all know that South America is famous for its colourful carnivals that come in all shapes and sizes through the course of the year, including the ever-popular Carnaval in Rio. However, in a continent that has rhythm running through its veins, South America also hosts its fair share of fantastic music festivals. Some attract major names in the world of music, others are delightfully local and crammed full of South American character. With amazing natural surrounds, cities that are brimming with culture, top-notch accommodation and an incredibly welcoming vibe all round, South America should be on every music lover’s wish list when it comes to cultural travel experiences. With this in mind, read on for inspiration on where to find the best music festivals in South America.
Storyland – Santa Marta, Colombia
If you are going to Colombia, then Cartagena will most likely be on your itinerary. This coastal city is a dream to visit, with quaint cobbled streets, museums full of Colombian treasures and cuisine to rival any city in the world. So why not have your visit to Cartagena tie in with the Storyland festival? These days it takes place just up the coast from Cartagena in Santa Marta, and is usually held in January. This beach-based event is one of Colombia’s biggest music festivals, with dance music of all varieties being the order of the day. Here, you will find two stages that attract over 30,000 revellers, with impressive past acts including David Guetta, Tiesto, Huxley and Camelphat who have all graced Storyland with their presence. With such a reputation, you can be sure that whoever is headlining at Storyland will be a big name!
Ultra – Buenos Aires, Argentina
With Buenos Aires being one of the birthplaces of the fiery tango, it’s fair to say that musical beats make up the very fabric of this vibrant city and the people who call it home. The Ultra brand of festivals crop up worldwide, from Australia to the United Kingdom and everywhere in between, and Buenos Aires is one of these starring destinations. This slickly run event is for anyone who loves dance music, spread over two euphoric days. Previous lines ups have featured legends such as Carl Cox, Hardwell and Adam Beyer, along with many up and coming DJs. What better way to kickstart your trip to this incredible country than by spending it in the company of like-minded ravers!
Rock in Rio – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rio de Janeiro may not be the first place that springs to mind when looking for a rock festival, but Rock in Rio is actually one of the biggest festivals not just in South America; but the world – with over one million tickets sold for the first ever event that was held in the mid-1980s. Since then, this ground-breaking franchise has spread worldwide, from Lisbon to Las Vegas, but it is Brazil that will always be its spiritual home. Rock giants such as Queen, ACDC, Bon Jovi and Guns N’ Roses have all picked up their guitars and wowed the crowds over the last 30 years. Taking place over several days, this festival is the size of a small town, taking over Barra Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro; the perfect venue to rock on!
Cosquin Folk Festival – Cordoba, Argentina
Lasting over a mammoth nine days, Cosquin Folk Festival is one of the oldest gatherings of this kind in South America. First welcoming revellers over 50 years ago, today Cosquin – held in Cordoba, Argentina – continues to feature artists, musicians, dancers, poets and other creatives, showcasing the many aspects of traditional Argentinian culture. Once a year, thousands of peaceful fans of the festival descend on the sleepy town of Cosquin, some of whom don’t even attend the festival itself, but are simply there to soak up the atmosphere on the streets. Cosquin is a real treat for those who love to get under the skin of a country and immerse themselves in local culture, something that Cosquin has in abundance.
Lollapalooza – Santiago, Chile
Hosted by Chile’s capital city, Lollapalooza is an annual music event that covers all kinds of musical genres – acts such as Eminem, Mumford and Sons and Sam Smith have all played here in the past. The diversity of this festival means it attracts all kinds of people and is billed as family-friendly, with a mini-festival going by the name of Kidzapalooza taking place within the main event. An educational recycling programme is also featured here, encouraging festival-goers to minimise their waste both here and once they return home. With over 120 bands performing across eight stages, there really is something for everyone here. So, whether you enjoy seeing the big headliners or get a boost from discovering emerging artists in a more intimate space, you are sure to be able to fill your time here with ease.
These examples are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to music festivals in South America, as each country hosts plenty more cultural events throughout the year. If you are there at the right time you are sure to find at least one major music event, be it an enormous festival with household names entertaining hundreds of thousands of people, or an intimate gathering unique to the country you are in. Either way, experiencing the natural high of a festival, shoulder to shoulder with locals and tourists alike is a fantastic way to add that extra special experience in to your South American trip.
Start building your South American trip today by clicking here and exploring our online template tours, or get in touch by calling us on 1 866 978 7398 (Canada and USA) or 080 8189 0438 (UK), and Discover Your South America with Surtrek! Or, keep reading our blog by exploring other articles, such as top traditional festivals in South America or La Feria de Cali.
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