Bogotá By Night: KPTL SOUND FSTVL
Welcome to Bogotá By Night, a place to share my thoughts and experiences in the growing nightlife of Bogotá. With more and more foreigners coming to BOG for the nightlife and music, I figured it would be a good idea to start this little off-shoot of my blog to help guide readers around at night… and well, I do know my way around the scene, so why not share?
The idea of this is to help readers, from all over, explore the diverse music and nightlife of the city. Written for both music lovers and party-goers around the world, I encourage you to read and then come experience for yourself! None of these posts are commissioned (unless otherwise stated) and all my opinions are based off my personal, real experiences and adventures.
Got questions? Want to find a great party in Bogotá? Seeking new music? Want to know how the city really parties? Let me show you!
Bogotá By Night: KPTL SOUND FSTVL
Like most urban cities in the world, the electronic scene is exploding in Bogotá. Exponentially, some might say. Everyone’s cousin is a DJ mixing in the latest nightclub and every couple months, another spot opens up to serve the party people even after 5am. Party drugs are not foreign companions to alcohol and heavy beats. And it’s surely not uncommon to end your night in a remate (after party) as the sun comes up.
Bogotá still has leaps to go before it catches up to the likes of Berlin or Tel Aviv but let’s go ahead and call it a mini-Berlin. While I was in Berlin this summer, I noticed a lot of comparisons, mainly because of the influence industrial and urban designs have on their nightlife infrastructures. Another: techno and house reign supreme. Occasionally you’ll have you’re classic EDM thrown into an electronic set list, but for the most part you’ll find yourself rocking to about 125 BPM.
In honor of this growing electronic scene the people at Aftercluv and All For One (the people behind Storyland Cartagena) put together the first electronic festival in Bogotá, KPTL SOUND FSTVL featuring a host of international like Tom and Collins, Groove Armada, Chris Malenchek, Kenny Larkin, and Hot Since 82 and national DJs like Pao Calderon and La Femme.
The event was hosted at the Hipódromo de Los Andes (an old race track outside of Bogotá), which is surely set to be the new It-Spot for large scale events. It’s a bit far for “everyday parties”, but larger scale events NEED this place. It’s indoor-outdoor space (always clutch for events in Bog, where it rains like a mother all year round) where the indoor is spacious (a few thousand people) (also clutch) with multiple floors. Outdoors, KPTL brought a slew of international house and techno on the main stage with enough space to fit a couple thousand more people and vendors in the loungy grass area.
The space alone sold me on this first-timer festival. The industrial vibe brought to mind the warehouse nightclubs of Berlin, while paying hommage to the urban concrete that influences Bogota’s architecture. The space was enhanced by visuals: LED mapping and lights playing off the shapes of the columns and walls and intricate stage design which interacted with the music.
Apparently the party started at 12pm with boozy brunch cocktails (nice touch!), but to be frank, I don’t know many who would venture out that early to party until 3am… I arrived around 5pm (and even that seemed a bit early), which helped beat traffic, lines, and larger groups before the doors closed at 9pm.
Once inside, the music was what I like to call “Baum 5am”* (or as Colombian’s call it: pesada. Heavy. Densa. Dense.) Lots of smoke and diehard house fans dancing to local and super underground producers. The sound and light worked for the space, although I think the it was a lot bigger than they anticipated and wasn’t easily filled. It felt empty in some moments and perfectly comfortable in others.
This might have happened because outdoors the weather held off and the headliners brought out their very best throughout the night. On this stage I had the delight of seeing Fruto, legendary Colombian DJ mix, and easily become one of my favorite producers! Mixing house with classic Colombian instruments and beats like cumbia, he creates a dynamic effect on the crowd. It’s no longer the solitary dance beat we know in electronic music, but now something that even the least electronic-inclined person would warm up to. The music is danceable… it’s got flavor. It’s a style that I’ve noticed a few producers playing with lately, but only one has truely mastered.
As the night went on, the KPTL’s sounds evolved into European beats from the UK, France and Germany, as well as some real US-Detroit-vibes. Tom and Collins and Groove Armada brought a hell of a show that night single handedly doubled the crowd outside, engaging the audience with beats and bright and bouncy as the lights. (Does that sound weird? Can beats be bouncy? I sure was bouncing around a lot). At this point, I got lost from my group. Not entirely tragic, as the festival wasn’t overwhelming or intense. I slipped into the middle of the crowd and jammed out to Groove Armada until I spotted my wonderful friend (and little brother of my BF)(Hey Tito!). By now, the crowd was committed to the party and Hot Since 82 took the stage with a terrific high-energy climax to the show.
Equal parts intensity and energy from both sides of the stage is what makes a show, and at KPTL, we had just that. For Bogotá’s first electronic festival, I would consider it a success. It was well organized (hard to come by in Colombia) and seemed to go off without a hitch (at least to general public) and help expose the city to a growing genre around the world.
Thanks to publicity and buzz from international DJs and other entertainment groups for KPTL SOUND, this could be the start of a busier festival season in Bogotá; and beyond that it could be the start of Bogotá solidifying it’s place as LatAm’s top electronic-house city.
*Baum 5am=a type of techno thats so deep and heavy, there’s no going back. It refers to music played in Baum (Bogota techno/house club) in the wee hours of the morning after you’ve commited to severely long hours of dancing and partying and you can’t help but bop out like a zombie. I use this term frequently. If you’ve lived and survived Baum 5am, you know what I’m talking about.