The streets are packed with people and music fills the air in Cosquin. Cosquin is a small town nestled in the Punilla Valley in the Sierras de Cordoba. It is a small town but it had a big musical heart. There are two well known music festivals that happen annual here, Cosquin Rock and the Cosquin Folk Festival. The Cosquin Folk Festival is the most important folk music festival in Argentina and apparently in all of Latin America. For nine days at the end of January, the nine moons of Cosquin, the streets are full of people and there is a concert every night from 10pm to past 4am in the morning. The concert is an amphitheater that can hold up to 10,000 people and there are easily a few more thousands of people in the streets. In addition, there are penas, music houses that play music all night and people interact, dance and make music in the streets and river banks.
We attended the music festival on opening day this year, catching the long parade during the day and then the concert at night. This was the 55th edition of the festival. There are many Argentinean tourists, and even some visitors from neighbouring countries such as the family from Paraguay that sat behind us in the concert who traveled here just for the show, but there are few international visitors. It was an awesome experience and I totally recommend it for people who want to get off the beaten-track and really experience the pulsing heart and song of Argentina. It is a celebration of the folklore of Argentina, of gaucho culture and the ranching lifestyle that is at the heart of Argentinean national identity. Argentina is known for its tango but lesser known to everyone other than Argentineans, tango’s folk sister is just as important, wild and a heck of a lot of fun!
Here are some pictures and videos from our time at the festival:
Cute children all dressed up in the parade
A little crazy fun – a shaving cream spray can fight! Well, it was much less a shaving cream fight than an ambush. There was a family in the tables beside us who seemed to know many people in the parade. At one point, two of the mothers ran out into the parade with cans of shaving cream and joined the dancing and blasting everyone!
The outfits were amazing. To us, the men’s costumes really reminded us of pirates…
But either or, they sure could dance!! Yarrr!
Dancing in the parade for Cosquin’s National Folkloric Festival, Argentina
More people in the parade
This group represented Andean dancers. While we saw music videos in Bolivia wearing this type of bodice, there was usually a lot more skirt!
Fireworks at the opening of the concert
Opening night concert at the Cosquin’s National Folkloric Festival, Argentina. There is an interesting performance with traditional style dancing, electric guitar and full orchestra
Opening night concert at the Cosquin’s National Folkloric Festival, Argentina with a performance by the famous Argentinean folk singer, Soledad
And the crowd goes wild!
Some travel tips for going to the festival:
- You can buy tickets there even on the day off. There are different ticket prices for different seating in the amphitheater ranging from over 300 pesos for right infront of the stage to 120 pesos on the bleacher stands at the back.
- Camping is probably your most affordable option. There are numerous campgrounds by the river in Cosquin and more campgrounds in the next village of Santa Maria, 3km away. If you are getting a hostel or hotel, book in advance.
- If you’re staying in Santa Maria, there are many buses that go to Cosquin. 7 pesos fare. At night, give yourself lots of time as the buses get packed and often pass you by.
- A great tip for the parade is get there a little early, about an hour or so, and find one of the cafes that line the street. Order a drink or snack and then you’ve got seating right at the edge of the parade!!
- You can go to the festival without actually going to the concert. Thousands of people seem to take this option as the streets were packed with people as the concert began. Restaurants set up onto the road and there are people performing in the streets. Crowds of people dance in the streets outside of the amphitheater (the amphitheater is all seats so people dance in any open areas but it’s mostly seating). Also, there are the private music houses called penas that play folk music all night.
- The Grido ice cream store is open all night