Chile’s first ever full-scale rock festival, Lollapalooza, has been making waves not just here in South America.
The widely read New York Times ArtsBeat blog has posted four separate pieces about the event in the last three days, as well as a feature length review from critic Jon Pareles, lauding the event’s professionalism, the enthusiastic reactions to imported bands, and the unparalleled excitement generated by home-grown Chilean acts and other Latin American musicians.
In his first post from on the ground, Times blogger Jon Pareles described Santiago as an “unlikely spot” for the first expansion of the Chicago-based festival outside the United States, and wondered if the heavy weight toward Chilean acts in the earlier hours of both days was “out of necessity or local pride.” And while the answer to that question was probably a little of both, by April 4 – one day after the festival’s close – it also seemed irrelevant. After 2 days, 22 hours, and 50 acts, Pareles came away lauding the Chilean acts as among the festival highlights.
An independent post on April 4 was devoted to Chilean cumbia-act Chico Trujillo, the most popular current proponents of la cumbia chilena. Describing the group as “a world-class party band,” Pareles lauded their ability to whip up the energy of a crowd to near frenzy, unsurpassed even by the major headliners that took the main stages later in the day.
Earlier in the day, performances from Chilean rapper Anita Tijoux and rock band Los Bunkers also drew large, chanting crowds, while performers from Brazil and Argentina were well-received by large contingencies of revelers who flew in from their home country’s specifically for the weekend-long festival.
The Latin American musicians focused their attentions on questions of Latin identity and political struggle, sending strong messages about the power of pride and self-determination. This is the music of a region on the rise.
Officially signed on for another iteration in 2012, Lollapalooza Chile was not designed for profit in its first year, but rather to generate the building blocks of a festival culture that could yield new fruits in the future.
“The promise for Lollapalooza Chile is not solely as another export market for English-speaking rock and pop,” said Pareles in his most recent post. The festival might also spur its Anglo visitors to look beyond their own borders.”
Given the excitement of the local audience over international bands, and tentative plans to bring Chilean performers to next year’s Chicago Lollapalooza, Santiago will never seem an ‘unlikely spot’ for a rock festival ever again.