Could this be one of the hippiest festivals on the planet?

Ever wanted to go to a festival that was far away from everything – stripped of home comforts, and where people aren’t on their phones, distracted by technology? A festival whose essence is purely derived from music and nature?

Nomade might be the ideal festival for you, then. It takes place in the bay of Manquemapu, in the dense Valdivian rainforest in the south of Chile. We are talking about a 14 hour drive from Chile’s capital city Santiago – and even longer if you want to go via public transport.

The plus side of having a festival that’s so remote is that there is a strong community amongst visitors: punters of Nomade - ‘nomades’ - are fully committed to its concept. Respecting the local environment is a key part of the festival experience: the land it is based on is somewhat sacred – it’s government protected and belongs exclusively to the local indigenous community.

Nomade strives not only to intensify music’s relationship to nature, but also to promote ethnotourism – benefitting the local community by bringing tourism and capital to their small settlement. Locals participate in the festival by selling homemade food and market goods, while ‘Nomades’ enjoy the elucidating experience of talking to locals about their unique, secluded lifestyle while sampling a freshly baked seafood empanada – so it’s a win-win situation.

- - -

- - -

Aside from nature and community, music is naturally the main attraction. This year’s line up boasted an array of Argentinian acts such as singer La Yegros and DJ Chanco via Circuito, as well as Chilean artists such as Matanza – who are one of the country’s premium contemporary electronic acts. International guests included Martha van Straaten, David Mears and Wide Awake. The majority of musicians at Nomade base their music on fusing heavy electronic beats with samples and rhythms inspired by traditional music across Latin America – ranging from Chile’s Patagonia to Brazil’s Amazonas. This genre, which can be broadly labelled under the term ‘electro-cumbia’, is currently thriving in this part of the world. While Nomade isn’t the only festival dedicated to this type of music, it is probably the only one that most accurately embraces the rustic spirit of it.

As spectacular and unique as Nomade is, it is not for everyone. With no electricity nor indoor shelter, the initial days of heavy rainfall and gail force winds made camping difficult. The festival lacked necessary organization and infrastructure; the luxury tepees leaked, toilets – albeit marvellously decorated with moss and branches– were built with see-through curtains instead of doors and showers were freezing cold.

On the whole, the festival seemed to be highly unprepared for the tempestuous weather of the rainforest - the sun’s merciful appearance on Saturday and Sunday potentially saved it from being a washout.

Although, it should be considered that such things don’t really matter to the average ‘Nomader’. For they seek the spirituality of nature and a pilgrimage to a humbler, rustic way of life. All the while getting incredibly high and trippy to Latin America’s most modern incarnation of traditional indigenous music.

- - -

- - -

Words: Charis MacGowan
Photography: Nomade // Chico Gonzales // Charis MacGowan

Buy Clash Magazine


Follow Clash: