Crowd Pleasers

Crowd Pleasers

Gabriela Raimondo rocks up and asks “Where ‘s the Party?”

Argentina has always been the pioneer South American country in terms of live music concerts. It was the first country to produce excellent rock bands and festivals. Ever since the 60s going to concerts or festivals has become a great tradition.

The crowds in Argentina are very ardent. It has become somewhat of a fashion for tourists to go to football matches not only because of the quality of the team’s game but because the Argentinian public puts on the main show with their passionate chants.

This also happens in music nowadays. There are huge differences between the crowds here and for example, our neighbouring countries. I went to see my favourite rock band, Pearl Jam in Buenos Aires and Chile and the experience, even though was excellent both times, was hugely different. In Buenos Aires there was electricity in the air that turned the night into something especial. A lot of music aficionados are coming to festivals in Argentina to enjoy music but mainly to be part of the synergy of the crowd.

A few decades of rock

Rock arrived to Argentina in the mid-50s and started a revolution but it wasn’t really until the 60s that bands began singing rock songs in Spanish. The rst major hit was ‘La Balsa’ from Los Gatos in 1967. Some of the founding bands of Rock Nacional, as Argentinians call it, were Almendra, Manal and Sui Generis. The bands were short lived but some of the most in uential musicians came from those ensembles such as Charly Garcia and Luis Alberto Spinetta. In the 70s harder rock appeared and bands like Pescado Rabioso and Pappo’s Blues became very successful. In the mid-70s and beginning of the 80s, the military dictatorship censored most rock bands and some even had to ee the country. Touring, which was not very common, began as a way to escape the government’s radar. Their fame became more international.

Gustavo Cerati

The 80s was the golden age of Argentinian rock. After years of censorship there were free elections for the rst time in seven years. Most musicians came back from exile and Luca Prodan arrived to Argentina. Luca was the lead singer in one of the most famous bands of Argentina, called Sumo. Sumo split up after Luca’s death but two bands arose from the ashes, Divididos and Las Pelotas.

Pappo’s Blues


Argentinian bands became famous throughout the 80s for such super bands as Soda Stereo, Sumo, Los Enanitos Verdes, Los Redonditos de Ricota and Los Fabulosos Cadillacs . There were solo artists that were also very well known like Fito Paez and Andrés Calamaro.

During the 90s bands were in uenced by different styles such as hip hop, pop and metal and they began fusing them with rock. Bands like Illya Kuryaki and the Valderramas which is heavily in uenced by rap and hip hop marked the new generation of rock musicians (Spinetta’s son, Dante was one of the lead singers of the band). The rst female rock stars appear during these times such as Patricia Sosa, Fabiana Cantilo and Hilda Lizarazu. Los Piojos and Los Pericos gained international fame.

The millennial saw the beginning of the rock barrial or rock chabón which were new bands talking about the everyday life of young people living in working class neighbourhoods. Unfortunately, several deaths like Pappo’s in 2005 and Gustavo Cerati’s in 2006 together with the Cromañon disaster caused a major setback. Currently, there’s been a return of the rock barrial with bands like Guasones or Las Pastillas del Abuelo. They are packing out stadiums again and gaining more recognition as international bands are coming more and more to Argentina and many local bands have performed as the opening acts for big shows. It is my wish that Argentinian rock bands return to their former glory

Festival Extravaganza
‘God is everywhere but his of ce is in Buenos Aires’ (Argentinian saying)

For years now, big international bands have been coming to Buenos Aires to perform for their crazed fans. Some excellent examples are Morrissey who played in Maipú, Rod Stewart who is coming in February, the Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney just to name of few. McCartney got the crowd in a frenzy in Cordoba with the legendary greeting “Buenas Noches Culiados!”.

Excellent energy and loud audiences is what the bands expect and Argentinians do not disappoint. Rock concerts are de nitely a must when tourists come to Argentina. Excellent music is not only what you receive but also the atmosphere of euphoria and freedom that might become one of the greatest experiences in life.

One of the biggest of the year is Lollapalooza. Since its rst Argentinean edition in 2014, Lollapalooza brings in the crowds into San Isidro in the province of Buenos Aires. For the year 2018, the dates are 16th, 17th and 18th March and it is expected to be a very big event. Airline companies throw special offers for music lovers and tickets sell out quickly. The headliners include Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Las Pelotas, The Killers, Bajofondo and Pearl Jam. Most sidebands perform for smaller crowds at Niceto Club.
For tickets or more information: www.


The SoundHearts Festival is presenting Radiohead on the 14th April in Tecnopolis. The lineup includes Flying Lotus, Junun and Rocco Posca. This is Radiohead’s rst time back in Argentina since 2009 so it will be a great night for followers of the band to reunite.

The Foo Fighters and Queens of Stone Age are presenting at the Velez Stadium in Buenos Aires on the 7th March.

The Folk Festivals

Even though Buenos Aires is the mecca for big international rock bands, the provinces are the most popular for local bands to perform to huge audiences. These are some of the best.

Cosquín Rock, 10th and 11th February

Santa Maria de Punilla is the location in the province of Cordoba and attendance is a must. The biggest Argentinian bands love to perform here since it is a rite of passage for most of them. This festival has two sides to it as there is a rock version and a folklore version. Two days lled with amazing music is a great plan. It has taken the model imposed by several international festivals of having several stages and artists playing at once.

Cosquín Rock

Fiesta de la Vendimia in Mendoza,
‘Wine Constellation’ 3rd, 4th and 5th March

March is the harvest time and people love to celebrate it. After all of the hard work that goes into taking care of the vines and collecting the grapes, a big party is in order. There are many events that led up to the Central Party but my personal favourite is rock night. After picking a Harvest Queen, the party continues with musicians. This year, there will be a folk music and rock night as closure.

Most artists are scared of performing in the Frank Romero Day’s Theatre. The theatre is huge and it has bleachers so from the performers’ point of view it seems like a humane cascade might fall on to them at any second.

The audience in the Vendimia Festival is mostly composed by families but the energy is still there. Most youngsters see the show from the neighbouring small mountains and Mendocineans make a picnic out of it. People bring their own food as the event takes most of the afternoon and continues till midnight.

Vendimia in Mendoza

The tragedy that changed it all

Callejeros, a local rock band, played in Cromañon, Buenos Aires on 30th December, 2004. The venue was indoors when a re broke out due to the use of smoke ares. 194 people died and over 1400 were injured. There were political and cultural changes that followed the huge catastrophe.

All dancing venues remained closed for 15 days until their licenses got renewed under stricter regulations. It transpired that Cromañon was overcrowded and the emergency exit did not comply with the minimum standards for such a big show. The Jefe de Gobierno Aníbal Ibarra was removed and replaced and several culprits have faced trials and incarceration. Since then, there is a big fear of holding events in enclosed venues and it is close to impossible to get a licence to do a show in a smaller venue.

Ever since the Cromañon tragedy it has been harder for rock bands to perform without the approval of big companies such as Ticketek or All Access. There are a lot of dif culties planning these events especially with musicians that bring in masses of fans. Indio Solari, one of the most famous musicians in Argentina, is probably the best example of the complexities that security has to face when without any kind of publicity other than a concert date more than 200000 people show up for a rock concert. Two people lost their lives in a humane avalanche in his last concert even though he tried to stop the crowds from pushing people forward.

Gay Vendimia

March 10th
The party continues with a vibrant show with dancers and performers from the LGBT community and electro music is the favourite of the night. Bring your dance shoes and attitude.

April 7th. Wine Rock: Bodega Monteviejo. This is Mendoza at its best as it brings together all of our passions: wine, rock, mountains and art. It is located at Monteviejo winery, 90 minutes south of the city in Valle de uco. As well as music, there is an art exhibition and copious amounts Marcelo Pelleriti’s wine since he is the main winemaker at Monteviejo and one of the founders of the event.

For more information:

Vendimia schedule

February 25th
The Blessing of the Fruits : First of cial event in the Fiesta Nacional de la Vendimia. This year it wil be held in the East of the Province in Rivadavia. This religious ceremony pays homage to the producers, harvesters and women. Free entrance.

2nd March
Via Blanca de las Reinas: parade held at night where the queens of each region wave and smile from their chariots. 3rd March Carrusel de las Reinas: parade during the day with the queens in chariots that display the products each region is known for.

3rd March
Harvest Festival, the rst day a Queen is chosen from all of the regions in Mendoza to represent the wine industry nationally. It is a beautiful show with dancers, actors and music all around.

4th March
Folklore Repetition: The show is repeated and folklore artists perform. Soledad Pastorutti accompanied by the Philarmonic Orchestra of Mendoza and Juan Carlos Baglietto and Jairo are in charge of the night’s entertainment.

5th March
Rock Repetition: The show is repeated and Auténticos Decadentes, Kapanga and Parió La Choca perform. Tickets range from $110 to $400 AR pesos. Dates might be modi ed,

For more information: