Is a festival possible during lockdown? Free Concerts were a platform for Latin Music during tough times in the 1980s. Can “Not Concerts” be a solution for Chilean artists today?
Numerous artists have had to cancel concerts and tours due to the last months of confinement. The Chilean Congress has been debating an emergency fund for them and radio stations have been streaming artists from home. Another solution might be a mini-festival of “Not Concerts.”
The “Not Co” is a Chilean startup founded in 2015 and famous for its high-tech innovation, marketing, and vegetable products like Not Mayo. Last year, it received an important injection when Jeff Bezos among others decided to invest in the startup.
To market a new burger, Not Co collaborated with Chilean musicians and called it “Not Concerts.” Every Wednesday, for five weeks fans can follow a mini-festival with Francisca Valenzuela, Farmacos, Francisco Victoria, Gianluca, and Princesa Alba.
“One of the most liberating experiences that COVID has taken away from us is Live Music: Concerts. We lost our tickets, the thrill, the vibe, and the freedom of dancing,” writes Matias Muchnick, CEO and one of the founders, on Linkedin.
Valenzuela and Gianluca are the most famous in this lineup. Valenzuela is one of the most popular Chilean artists since she started her career in 2006. This year, she made a celebrated show at Festival de Viña. With her organization, Ruidosa she has built up a platform for female artists.
Gianluca is one of the upcoming locals, with various nominations on Premios Pulsar 2020. His last album Yin&Yang is produced by the respected producer Pablo Stipicic.
Free Concerts in the 1980s
It’s not the first time a commercial brand has hosted a festival with Chilean artists during difficult times. In the mid-1980s, soda-maker Free was aiming to be the drink for young people. The national beer company CCU had just lost its license to produce Pepsi and it was urgent to launch something new on the local market. For almost 10 years, Free was one of the alternatives to Coca-Cola and Pepsi.
The brand is remembered for its Free Festivals. With the slogan “Free trae para ti todo el sabor del Rock” (“Free brings you all the flavor of Rock”) these festivals were an opportunity for bands like Aparato Raro, Los Prisioneros, and Valija Diplomatica to reach a wider audience.
At that time, many experienced something similar to today’s lockdowns – curfews at nights and little to do during the day, except for watching television and kicking stones.
Marcus Nilsson writes about music in Chile Today. He worked in Sweden as a copywriter, editor, teacher and blogger. You can find him on Instagram as @chileanmusic30min