After a one-year hiatus, Caricaco music festival came back with gusto this yearon Saturday, March 15th, setting up camp at Finca Austria. With 14 hours of planned fun and an impressive line up, it was impossible not to have a good time.
The day started off with a dance performance by local school children followed by a Five Rhythms session in the warm Nosaran sun. According to festival organizer David Malbon, “we wanted to try a location where kids and families can come and play around.”
Inflatable pools and Naked Foods drinks cooled down the crowd along with tented areas. Vendors lined the path leading to the festival center from the entrance, where your biodegradable cup for the event is handed out. Beautiful artisanal jewelry, crafts made from repurposed goods and even Japanese ninja boots tempted festival-goers.
For the thrill seekers, Climb Nosara rigged up an original game called Torre ElMiedo (The Fear Tower). While harnessed to a secure rope, players are handed empty beer crates to stack by climbing on top of each one as they go. Intermittent sounds of tumbling plastic and giddy cheers echoed from the far corner of the festival.
Local favorite DJ Paul DaCosta kicked off the music, putting aside his usual turntables and showing the crowd his singer/songwriter skills. Next up was the melodic musings of vocalist/guitarist Daniel Patiño Quintana whose infectiously joyful songs were the perfect compliment to the late afternoon festival vibe. Quintana peppered his set with a few Beatle songs, perfectly channeling John Lennon for his version of “Get Back.”
Female punk band Las Robertas kicked off the side stage with a youthful and assured rendering of all-girl Punk Rock while the crowd charged up their pre-paid Caricaco Festival beer cards at the Birra tent.
Self-serve tap stations automated by card scanning made for a fun high-tech twist. Local fare included vigoron, chop suey, pinchos and arroz cantones. A few different sushi rolls were available while Guiones restaurant El Campensino served up pulled pork sandwiches, beef brisket and veggie burgers to a hungry crowd. Given the huge space at Finca Austria, there was ample space for growing it next year.
Gypsy folk band Passiflora officially got the crowd moving with their engagingly stellar performance. Flawless harmonies and multi-lingual lyrics kept the audience wanting more. Lead vocalist and guitarist Mariana Echeverria wowed the crowd with her spot-on vocals and blaring rockstar quality. Passiflora had such distinct and electric synergy that they single-handedly transformed the scene from day concert to music festival.Psychedelic graphics projected onto a screen as the full moon rose lent a magical quality and the audience was definitely under it’s spell.
Next to rock the side stage was experimental Noise Rock duo Colornoise, whose ladies only guitar-drum duo packed a mean punch. Reminiscent of the White Stripes or Haim minus one sister, Colornoise effectively left their mark at Caricaco.
Punk Rock/Ska favorite SEKA took the main stage by storm with their energetic mastery of the genre. Amazing bass and serious percussion jumpstarted a small mosh pit, which miraculously left fans unscathed – a perfect reflection of the event’s environment.
After a painfully long sound check, Costa Rica’s reggae fusion preference Ojo de Buey recentered the crowd and laid out grooving beats for people to move their hips to. Fans sang along to the lyrics and a perma-smile took hold of the crowd.
Well past 11pm, psychedelic tropical legends Sonambulo unleashed their brilliant multi-cultural ensemble of horns, percussion and string for the crowd to completely let loose to. Hailing from different countries with diverse influences, the eclectic and unique sound they produce has a tantalizing effect on the senses. To watch Sonambulo is to witness musical originality take form and come alive. The dance floor was in such a fury that a dust cloud hung heavily above attendees’ heads. After Sonambulo’s incredible performance, a lot of people had gotten what they came for and went home.
Closing out the night was electronica favorite Huba y Silica’s new project, Blackout. The DJ-singer duo kept the late crowd dancing past 2am,sprinkling in elements ofreggae and drum and bass to catchy beats they’re known for.
With a full moon overhead and happy faces all around, Caricaco 2014 was a massive success. “We wanted to make it accessible for all different crowds that want to enjoy different parts of the event,”Malbon adds. Caricaco achieved what all festivals dream of: it had something for everyone in a gorgeous setting with room to grow.