Blooming cultural events of Bogotá
Whether you prefer theatre, cinema, music or literature, Bogotá most certainly has something to offer for all the tastes. I recently took part in XII Jornadas Universitarias de Poesia as a guest poet giving lectures and readings in different universities, schools and even in parks and biblioestaciónes, which are small libraries placed inside some of the busiest Transmilenio bus stations. Taking art to the streets, instead of waiting people to come to the art, is one of the most delightful ideas of this series of poetry readings and, in my experience, it is the most distinctive characteristic of all culture events in Bogotá. This poetry event ran parallel to the Festival International de Poesia de Bogóta, which, after International Poetry Festival of Medellín, is one of the biggest poetry events in the country. The biggest literature event of the year, on the other hand, is Feria International del Libro (International Book Expo, Bogotá) which this year ran for two weeks from the end of April until beginning of May gathering over 1,000 literary events under its umbrella with over 300 national and international authors involved.
Moving on from literature, the next cultural event in my calendar in Bogotá is the 15th Festival de Cine Francés, which takes places on 21 September – 31 October in different cinemas of the capital and in five other larger cities of Colombia (Medellin, Bucamaranga, Baranquilla, Cali and Pereira). Overlapping this festival there is the Festival de Cine de Bogotá running for the 33th time this year aiming to premier new international directors` works along with workshops, special exhibitions and conferences about cinema. There´s also Eurocine (Festival de Cine Europeo en Colombia) taking place every year in April in Bogotá, Medellin, Cali, Barranquilla and Pereira. It´s led by various embassies of European countries, the delegate of EU in Colombia as well as Goethe-Institute among others. Eurocine brings together various movie genres in short or feature film format catering for all kinds of audiences. With these three, larger festivals running every year, Bogotá would appear to be the promised land of the cinema aficionados.
Yet there is more. For music and dance lovers, Bogotá likes to cater for these diverse audiences in the capital´s numerous and lush parks specifically. Starting with Colombia al Parque in July, that brings together in the capital all types of musical expression from this geographically diverse country. It´s aim is to familiarize Colombians, and why not visitors as well, with traditional and contemporary Colombian music and dance during this vibrant, yearly park festival. In addition to music, there is also regional samples on culinary, hand-craft and other cultural products. As Latin-America is probably best known for its salsa, it is only natural to have one park festival dedicated to exactly that. Salsa al Parque, takes place for two colourful and breathtaking days in August making the whole city dancing along to its` rhythm. This free festival is the meeting point for the genre´s collectors, professional dancers as well as internationally recognized salsa artists. Next ones on the agenda are Jazz al Parque (September) and Hip Hop al Parque (October) which both were founded in 1996 and are showcasing the best from the national and international scene. In addition to the concerts, the latter one also offers competitions on Hip Hop dance, freestyle rapping and graffiti. Last but not least is Ópera al Parque in November, which is the most important event of the year for the operatic scene of Bogotá making visible the works of its professionals. Every year this festival receives the most prestigious Colombian and foreign musicians, orchestras and directors to share their work and knowledge in the open air, public libraries and some selected auditoriums and theatres of Bogotá.
I hope you found your cup of tea among this sample of cultural events of Bogotá. If not, fear not: There are much more to flavour through in the form of smaller, neighbourhood based local events and happenings Just pick up your dates and there are sure to be something happening in Bogotá any time of the year.