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Caricaco Music Fest Rocks Harder in its Third Year

By Fritz Elmendorf
PHOToS by pinar istek

Nosara’s own music festival, Caricaco, in its third year at the hilltop retreat Tierra Magnifica, showed that three times is a charm with a strong lineup of bands and professionally managed venue.

More than 600 people attended the event as the large full moon lit the sky, with a positive vibration free of incidents, according to festival founder Steve Jacobus. He described it as a ‘musicians festival’ because the bands hang out together for a weekend of activities that brings their music together and makes them want to do it again. The music producer for the event, Alexandro Gutierrez, ensured that the music flowed seamlessly and sound standards were first rate.

Los Cuchillos took the stage after sunset with their surf rock sound inspired by the originators of that genre, guitarist Dick Dale and the ‘60s band the Ventures. The reverb drenched electric guitar provided a most fitting sound for a venue featuring a stunning view of Playa Guiones. Guest backup singer Catalina Castro contributed to the song Nena Zombie and their cover of the “Batman” theme added to the excitement of the night.

Local photographer Ray Moss once again contributed a trippy computerized light program to the show, mixing live images with an explosion of psychedelic visuals to add a full audio-visual experience to the festive ambience. Moss has stepped up the visuals each of the three years of the festival.

Jippo, another popular Costa Rican band from San Jose, delivered a hard driving and bluesy rock and roll set that included a number of crowd-pleasing covers of songs from Pink Floyd, the Beatles, Eric Clapton along with can’t-go-wrong classics like Purple Haze and Born to be Wild.

Next up was Los Santisimos Snorkels, from Mexico, a classic power trio delivering more surf-rock and reminding the crowd that bass, guitar and drums is all it takes to rock and roll. The band showed off some instrumental work featured in a Mexican movie soundtrack named “Los Pajarracos” and roused the crowd with a few straight up rock and roll covers, including their closer, Johnny B. Goode.  Wearing a flamboyant red Mexican wrestling mask, lead guitarist “Dr. Reverb Snorkel” showed what can be done on a Fender Strat without pedals or other fancy effects, or perhaps even without his peripheral vision.

Getting into the rhythm of it all, local singer Ashley Laux, possibly inspired by the proximity of the full-moon, threw in some improvised vocals between sets with trance music played by DJ Juan Carlos Saldana, as the headliner band Sonambulo set up for their brass and percussion driven performance to close out the night well past midnight.

With gusting winds as a backdrop, Sonambulo started their set with an instrumental, showing off a performance by alto saxophonist Beta of gravity-defying manipulation of crystal orbs. His mystical control of from four to eight balls set the stage for a high energy show that bore the signs of their history as circus performers.

Kicking things off at 4 pm was an unbilled performance by San Jose-based Mumble Riot, who decided to stick around town after their St. Patrick’s day performance at the Black Sheep Pub. 

Jacob said additional promotion of the event in San Jose, including 104.7 radio and the University of Costa Rica station, helped bring in more people, and predicted an even larger crowd next year as the momentum and anticipation continues. He said planning will begin in a month and he hopes to see even more community participation, although there are already many volunteers and sponsors that contributed to the event’s success.

The singer of Los Cuchillos
At the beginning of the night, guests cooled by dipping their feet in the pool.
Catalina Castro sang a song with the band Los Cuchillos
The guitarist from the band, Jippo
Mexican band Los Santisimos Snorkels
Los Cuchillos sang a song with Los Santisimos Snorkels

Local singer Ashley Laux

Saxophonist Beta from the band Sonambulo


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