Colombia has become a powerhouse of hardcore festivals in recent years. It’s hard to say why, or pinpoint a specific catalyst moment, but the trend can be clearly seen on the tour schedules of North American bands heading south of Mexico.
It probably started with the ease at which artists can skip down from Florida and back without blowing a travel budget, combine that with the low cost of living in Colombia and you have a pretty stable jaunt for small and mid-stage bands who are clamouring to get into any international market.
But Colombia is something more than just “any international market” it is a strange world of rebellious punk. A place where every street sign is tagged with “ACAB” and the steel studs adorning classic hardcore leather brush shoulders with the Carribean neon of native culture. It’s a place that appreciates the heavy and the chaotic.
This was the first year that Internacional Punkytud Festival came to Colombia.
Punkytud has been in Mexico City for a number of years, but decided to branch into the South American terrority for a three-day test run in two cities.
Friday night in Medellin, and back-to-back shows in Bogota for Saturday and Sunday.
The first night in Medellin did not go well. After facing significant delays for rain, the festival was beseiged by police who informed the bands that the proper permits were never submitted. Only one band played in Medellin, Mexico’s Atoxxxico.
The festival’s second leg, a 12-hour indoor show at El Subte in Bogota also faced some delays but the underground basement bar accumulated crust punk throughout the night.
Sunday’s event was planned for an outdoor park, but when the sky turned dark and threatened rain, the organizers took a page from the Medellin lesson book and moved the show inside to an unmarked retail space on one the city’s main drags.
The staunch white walls made things feel a bit like a Nu Metal music video, but knowing the day wouldn’t be oppressed by weather or police was a welcome change.