There are many things that one could complain about with music festivals, especially down here in Argentina. Yes, the simple act of standing around in a field with thousands of people is inherently exhausting. Yes, the event organization is often messy enough that even the simple act of entering the venue can turn into a drawn-out headache. And yes, sometimes you have to withstand a lot of musical mediocrity to get to the few acts you’re really into.
These are all annoying aspects of festival culture. But the absolute worst thing about music festivals? Well, it tends to be the food and drink. Bland, sloppy, and often ridiculously overpriced, consuming food at a music festival tends to leave you feeling weird, cheated, and sad.
But what if your music festival also happens to be a food festival?
The new installment of Festival Wateke rolls into town this weekend, taking over the Hipódromo de Palermo for three solid days of food, music, and what the festival marketing material refers to as “funtasy” (which sounds like what you’d call a new hyper-specific kink that mixes medieval fantasy with clown makeup. We’re thinking that’s not what they mean when they use that term, but it’s fun to imagine!).
The multi-day event takes place this coming Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, from noon to midnight. There will be two stages for musical acts, as well as a beer garden, a wine bar, and a large, varied selection of food trucks, featuring gourmet creations by over 40 chefs. They also have a children’s play area, in case you come with little ones in tow. Find ticket information and further details on the festival’s official website.
Helpful as we are, here at The Bubble we took a look at the line-up across all three days and put together a quick little guide for some of the artists that will be hitting the festival stage. We also made this nifty playlist for you, so make sure to check that out and follow us on Spotify for more cool, hyper-specific playlists.
Argentina probably isn’t the first country you think of when you think of salsa or mambo music, but the mighty Descarga makes a good case for why Argentines can also make their own version of the tropical dance music genres. Make sure to bring your dancing shoes.
La Bomba de Tiempo
Hey, speaking of dancing, you’re probably already familiar with venerable porteño institution La Bomba de Tiempo. This “percussion orchestra” has become a phenomenon in its own right over the last several years, often mentioned as the “must-see act” by tourists who’ve heard tales of their energetic live performances. Of course, they’re also beloved by the locals, who routinely flock to their shows at Club Cultural Konex. Who doesn’t like banging on stuff?!
Angie Casares is a singer who is well on her way to making a big splash on the music scene, with the release of her new solo album. She makes infectious, acoustic-based pop music that incorporates classic elements of the genre with a modernist approach. Make sure to catch her early set by the beer garden, so you can brag about knowing her before she hits it big.
Bicicletas is an up-and-coming Argentine indie rock band that accomplishes the seemingly-impossible task of making pyschedelia danceable. That’s right! You can listen to their songs, feel like you’re exploring the rocky surfaces of some far-off as-of-yet-unnamed planet, while also dancing your butts off to their catchy toe-tappers.
They’ve made a name for themselves after opening for Roger Waters, Jane’s Addiction, and Arctic Monkeys. One of the most promising artists of the last several years, and definitely one that tends to be a happy discovery for those unfamiliar with the indie underground scene.
Lucas & The Woods
Speaking of Argentine pop, Lucas & The Woods have also become household names after scoring a few radio (and viral) hits, as well as earning the unwavering love of our very own Paige. Their songs are big, bombastic, loud, riddled with synth lines and hooky melodies so catchy and anthemic that you’ll think you’re actually listening to some late-80s When In Rome B-side. Good stuff. (Paige has asked that we also mention their perfect jawlines). (Editor’s note: It’s true, and we regret nothing.)
If you’re in the mood for something a little less synthy and a little more rootsy, here’s a good option for you. Banda Cafundó mixes reggae and dub with African rhythms and ornate percussive arrangements, as well as chant-along choruses that are perfect for zoning out and forgetting where you are and prancing around the Hipódromo like an idiot, embarrassing all of your friends.
We love Huevo for two reasons: number one, their music, which is a strange, angular take on indie rock, with loud fuzzy guitars, unusual song structures, and a tighter-than-tight rhythm section that keeps a steady pulse amid all the weirdness surrounding it. Two, their name. Which is amazing. They’re called Huevo. How can you not love a band that names itself after eggs? Come on. These guys are a must-see.
La Delio Valdez
La Delio Valdez is an amazing group of musicians who mix elements of Colombian, Peruvian, and Argentinian cumbia to make something authentically theirs. They are extremely talented, so you’re not going to hear chintzy, digitally-produced rhythms; instead, you’re going to hear a group of seasoned veterans actually producing sounds on stage. What a novel concept! A ridiculously easy band to recommend, especially if you’re a fan of traditional salsa. Trust us, you’ll have a blast.
Lo’ Pibitos started as a hip hop group consisting of one DJ and two MCs; as time went on, the lineup expanded, as did their sound. They now include funk, rap, rock, and traditional Latin American rhythms in their musical DNA, while maintaining their identity as, primarily, a hip-hop group. But who says that urban music is a little box you have to fit into? With their music, Lo’ Pibitos posit that it can be a large and sprawling thing.
What can we say about Miranda? Well, we’ve said a lot about them already: make sure to check out our detailed album-by-album guide of their entire career. Suffice it to say, this pop duo is a treat to watch, with upbeat music, sweet melodies, and lyrics of heartbreak and regret. It’s a winning combo, and one that has made them one of the most enduring Argentine pop acts in recent history.
If you were of age in the year 2006, you likely remember the song posted above. If you remember it, it likely elicits intense feelings of nostalgia; nostalgia for the promise of youth, for the simplicity of the past, and for the peso going for less than US $4. If this weren’t reason enough to catch Coti’s set, there’s also the fact that his discography is made up of similarly breezy, catchy songs that won’t send you into an existential panic. Sometimes that’s all you can ask for.