Del Putas Fest: “We recommend that you come to Colombia, Hijueputas!”
Zero Tolerance is proud to be one of the sponsors of 2014’s “DEL PUTAS” punk and metalfest in Medellin, Colombia. The pact comes as a result of our continued collaboration with incredible bands and promoters in South America, who have worked with us on various projects. It’s the first time in history that a British magazine will lend it’s name to a South American fest… and we only did it because they had guns. The festival will be headlined on Saturday by a group of English tourists disguised as Mexican death metal band Brujeria (Shane Embury, Nick Barker and Jeff Walker plus vocalist Juan Brujo) and feature a lineup of Colombian talent as well as three of the city’s own veterans: Blasfemia, Athanator and Antagon. Once the murder capital of the world, Medellin has regained its status as a rustic Mountain paradise… but has always been a hotbed of extreme music. During Pablo Escobar’s reign of terror, the city would give birth to one of the loudest and most terrifying sounds on the continent, Metal Medallo. Between these waves were Masacre, Parabellum, Reencarnacion, and Astaroth – bands that would declare war on the death and despair of their daily lives with music. Some of these were the first extreme metal bands on the Southern continent, starting as early as 1983. While the years may have obscured their names and legacy, Medellin has never forgotten – and has been partying ever since. I spoke to Roman Gonzalez, Del Putas promoter and future mayor of Medellin about the festival. “Tomorrow,” he told me.
ZT: Del Putas Fest?? Doesn’t that mean… “Festival of the bitches”?
Roman: “In Colombia we have ways to express moments when they are great or unusual “del putas” is slang used to express a feeling or a situation that exceeds normal, everyone knows the word ‘putas’ really means prostitute – and there are people who think this is some erotic porno festival… but it really is just a two-day festival of rock and metal.”
Tell us about modern Medellin…
“Medellín has always had the image of being the world capital of violence and the drug war. It is no secret now that since the early ’90s, the local government has invested a lot of money to change the image of the city worldwide, generating all kinds of international events – sporting, cultural, social and political. Now everyone has a very different mindset since the drug-trafficking era. Security has improved and so the city is now a must for every tourist who passes through South America.”
What is ‘Metal Medallo’ and what does it sound like?
“El Metal Medallo is a kind of trademark to denote the peculiar sound of the bands born in Medellin, in the mid 80’s. The Medellin scene grew spontaneously many of the bands were loud rock and metal. All this music is hard and visceral, very real and honest. This is what has made it so special and after so many years, people value it as if it were a discovery from the Stone Age.”
Of course! The festival isn’t just about metal right? We heard there are punks there too?
“I consider myself a lover of rock in all its manifestations! The idea of this festival was to try to unite the different scenes in several days of live performances.”
How long has Del Putas been going and how does it compare to Colombia’s other rock and metal festivals – Rock al Parque and Altavoz?
“The fest has been going four years. Unlike the bigger festivals in Colombia, we don’t receive assistance from the government or any multinational company – We have achieved everything independently and with the help of these metalheads who buy the tickets. The team is made up of myself (Director), Marcela Ocampo (Press & PR), Alejandro Toro (Logistics) and Eduard Sapata (Design).”
We see that Brujeria are in charge, but what can you tell us about the other bands?
“Since 2013 we have invited international bands to visit us. Last year we had Whiplash (USA) , Dia de los Muertos (USA) , The Glorious Death (USA) and Double Strength (Argentina) this was our first experiment with foreign bands. This year we have Brujeria… who are coming with Jeff Wallker (Carcass) and Shane Embury (Napalm Death) and obviously all the other celebrities featured in the band [Nick Barker has been announced as the drummer for the show]. We are also bringing together some former members of Parabellum to perform tribute to this legend of Colombian metal – Ramon Restrepo on vocals and Carlos Mario Peres (La Bruja) on guitar – so after almost 30 years of absence we will hear songs such as ‘666 Engendro’ (666 Spawn), ‘Madre Muerte’ (Mother Death), Mutacion por Radiación (Mutation by Radiation) and ‘Guerra, Monopolio y Sexo’ (War, Monopoly and Sex). We also have metal bands of many different generations, such as Organismos, Eternal, Athanator and also the return of Blasfemia, who have a new album. This will be a special year!”
So this is the first time Colombia has received the support of a UK magazine… How do you feel about that?
“Yes! This is the first time this has happened and we are very grateful for this. Some years ago we met the Zero Tolerance team who came to Colombia and from the beginning there was good energy and brotherhood among all of us. We are glad to know that outside our country there are many people who value what happens in our city so this is a matter that fills us with joy.”
What do you have to say to foreigners who want to come to Colombia for the festival next year? Is it safe to visit and are we welcome?
“Everyone is welcome to come to Medellin and visit Del Putas Fest! Unlike other festivals in the world, we try to offer new experiences. Look… the girls are cute, the beer is good, travel within the country is very cheap and I’ll try to be the best host to those who come. You can learn Spanish while travelling through the country, there are many concerts and the weather is great!”
We’ve heard that you ‘Paisas’ (People from the Antioquia region) like to party day and night! What’s the difference between the Paisa mentality and the rest of Colombia?
“In this respect I think it all has to do with the weather and the existing socio-cultural changes in the cities of Colombia. This country offers many contrasts and there are very different peoples, so if you can tell that the Paisas are somewhat more cheerful and friendly – we like to make friends and break boundaries… this is our feeling!”
The last words are yours!
“To our amigos at ZT – thanks for your interest in us! We hope that after these words you will come to visit Medellin and remember every year in May, Del Putas fest is on! 2 days of music and beer! Journalists, travelers metal fans all are welcome! HAIL TO ENGLAND!”
This year’s edition of Del Putas Fest begins on Saturday, 17 May at the Teatro Carlos Vieco Ortiz in Medellin.