Santiago's Best Alternative Music Festivals

Camila Gallardo at Ruidosa 2018
Camila Gallardo at Ruidosa 2018 | © Carla Granifo
Photo of Charis McGowan
2 October 2018

The Chilean capital is packed full of unique, alternative festivals that cater for all different types of music lovers. Here is a list of some of Santiago’s best alternative music festivals.

Ruidosa Festival

Founded by Chilean musician Francisca Valenzuela, Ruidosa is a music festival with a purpose: to empower women through music and community. The annual event features a bill of female musicians and female-led bands (also exposing the need for female inclusion in mainstream festivals) while creating a platform for women to discuss gender rights and issues. It has featured some of Chile’s most popular musicians and is open for absolutely everyone to attend. And yes, everyone is welcome – this is by no means a girls-only event, but it does promote a safe and inclusive space.

Francisca Valenzuela performs at Ruidosa | © Carla Granifo

En Órbita

An indie fest in an observatory that has a focus on music, creativity and innovation – what’s not to like? Seeking to cross music with science, En Órbita not only boasts some amazing experimental and iconic bands from both Chile and abroad, it also packs in talks and exhibitions. The second edition took place over five days at the end of 2017, with its third edition, and international début, taking place in New York. The fourth event is planned in Lima, Peru.

Piknic Électronik Santiago

Piknic Electronik Santiago is a weekly electronic party, where the young and hip of Santiago gather together during the summer months. It’s often hosted at one of the city’s best shady spots to escape the scorching heat: the San Cristobal hill, whose leafy gardens offer stunning views of the city. The event boasts an array of cocktail spritzers and refreshing drinks, comfy seats and intimate stages, making it the perfect chillout zone to enjoy electronic ambience.

Fauna Primavera

Fauna Primavera has brought some of pop music’s biggest artists to Chile: Iggy Azalea played in 2017, while Lorde is set to headline in 2018. But the festival also boasts a list of impressive indie and electro bands, from Courtney Barnett to Claptone, and some of Chile’s finest alternative acts, such as Miss Garrison and Javiera Mena. For those who prefer to avoid the busy crowds and chaos of the massive Lollapalooza festival, Fauna Primavera is a great alternative to experience some of the world’s best pop, rock and electro music in a more mature setting.

Phoenix at Primavera Fauna 2017 | © Carla Granifo


A festival that first took place in 1980 in the UK, WOMAD is a world festival originally brought together by Genesis frontman Peter Gabriel. It currently takes place in the UK, Spain, Italy, Abu Dhabi, New Zealand and Australia, with Chile being its only edition in the Americas. The Chilean event takes place on the grounds of the city’s spectacular cemetery, right outside its main gates. It’s a free celebration of music from across the world, and is a place to share positive thoughts and leave with heartwarming memories.

Santiago Gets Louder

For lovers of the harder stuff, Santiago Gets Louder is responsible for bringing some of the world’s biggest metal and alternative bands to the Chilean capital. System of a Down, Megadeath, Deftones… this festival has made the dreams of metal fans come true, delivering legendary acts to a country often overlooked on bands’ international tours. It also gives rising local and Latin bands a valuable platform to play to large audiences. It’s undoubtedly the primary event for alternative rock and metal fans in the country.

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