Official Launch of the 2020 Barro Fest
(PANAMA, REPUBLIC OF PANAMA, JANUARY 18, 2020) - The third edition of the festival will take place Feb. 7-8 in Pedasi, Los Santos, a region where folkloric traditions are deeply rooted, and one of these is the Junta de Embarra. This area is also known for its beaches, surfing, bohemian and relaxed atmosphere, without losing its roots in the folkloric traditions of the region.
This festival attracts locals, city dwellers, and tourists of all ages. The Barro Fest create contrasts between folklore and the modern; for example, in the previous edition, a typical dance group performed the dance of the "Torito Guapo" to the rhythm of the song "The Magnificent Seven" by The Clash.
This next edition starts on Friday, February 7th in the central park of the town of Pedasi, from 3:00pm, with a mini skatepark set up by Full Drop (surf & skate shop), food and beverage stands, and on the stage will be bands from Panama's independent music scene: Novadicción, Playa, Tvrbo, Random Brando, Fulmonti, AP and Los Guayas. Then, the bands Lemmiwinks and Diafragma will perform at The Corner Art Center, located one block away.
On Saturday, February 8th, at Hacienda Los Gavilanes (8 minutes from downtown Pedasi), the Junta de Embarra begins at 2:00pm, where attendees knead mud and dry grass with their feet to the sound of live folk music, holding on to their shoulders, and plastering the walls of the quincha house structure, learning from the farmers who keep this tradition alive. It is a fun, different experience inspired by the value of a sense of community.
At nightfall, the bands Pepe Bahía (Panama), White Denim (USA), which is considered one of the most important indie rock bands in the world, and as the main act Señor Loop (Panama), will perform on a unique stage: a semi-open stable, with a disco ball in the middle, an LED screen at the back of the stage, a first class set of lights and a lot of volume.
This transition from the traditional to the modern, and the approach of the modern to the traditional, is the essence of Barro Fest, which seeks with this fusion to give value to the old and the new in a context that goes beyond time.
What is the Junta de Embarra?
A community joins together to build a house of quincha for those who need it. Whether it is for a newlywed couple who have no resources, or for seniors whose homes are in poor condition, in this tradition, the power of the community is present.
The materials of their environment are used: mud, wood, cane, vines and dry grass. The labor force is 100% communitarian. The materials are kneaded with the feet of the participants, to the sound of folk music. It is a fun experience, different and inspired by the value of a sense of community.
Some bring food, others refreshments or liquor, others help in the construction, some bring their musical instruments to entertain, and so a party is set up where family, friends, neighbors and strangers set up a house of quincha for those who need it.
Unfortunately, this tradition is being lost due to the lack of a new generation. El Barro Fest has joined the formal request for the Board of Embarra to be included in the UNESCO list of Urgent Safeguarding of Intangible Heritage of Humanity, and has helped the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in its efforts to document and inventory this tradition.
One of the requirements for inclusion on this urgent safeguarding list is to prove that activities are being carried out in the requesting country that will help to promote and encourage generational change. The Barro Fest is one such activity that helps to meet this requirement.
Why Indie Rock?
The organizers of Barro Fest claim that the power of community that is seen in the tradition of the Embarra Board, is also seen in the independent music scene.
Without getting into technicalities about what is and what is not indie rock, the word 'indie' comes from 'independence' and refers, in a broad sense, to creative independence, artistic autonomy, freedom to experiment and express oneself creatively. The creative independence of the musician has been essential to the evolution of musical styles, the exploration of new sonic textures, the invention of new instruments, and has inspired musical, social and political movements; every musical genre was born from the creative independence of a musician.
We live in a world where big record companies pay millions of dollars for the public to buy and follow their artists, occupying almost all the space available for mass distribution: radios, bars, discos, djs, etc... but there has always been a group of artists who, despite not having the backing of those millions of dollars, and almost no space in the mass media, keep creative independence alive, supported by a community of people who are looking for something genuine.
Independent artists subsist because of the community support they receive from the scene they belong to. Bands tour and get free stays with other band members or fans of the scene they belong to. They constantly receive help from people who believe in what they do and who value authenticity.