Brazil and its next-door neighbor, the Rioplatense region of South America, are blessed with stunning natural beauty and a rich cultural heritage, with music and dance at its heart. Música de la Tierra was dreamed up in Montevideo not only as a showcase of local music, but as a springboard from which to launch a new awareness of environmental issues.
Today it’s a family-friendly festival celebrating the folk music of Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil. As well as a packed roster of performances, the festival plays host to workshops and talks around the themes of sustainability, environmental care and recycling.
The festival’s motto is “la música nos une,” or “the music unites us.” In 2016, more than 30,000 people showed up to watch a line-up that included the Uruguayan Trío Ventana, Argentinean Aça Seca Trío and Brazilian Renato Borghetti and Alegre Correa, among others.
Workshops feature everything from indigenous pottery skills to cultivating tropical forests, and how to sustain a vegetarian diet in meat-loving Uruguay. Supported by UNESCO and sponsored by Uruguay Natural and health food store La Molienda, the festival has some serious green credentials. There’s even a market peddling organic foods, handmade textiles, instruments and natural cosmetics from the likes of local businesses Uraniaroma and Eva Negra.
The festival is held in Jacksonville in Montevideo, north-east of the city center. This charming barrio is one of the prettiest and most well maintained parts of the capital, with its quaint Chapel San José de Manga and colonially inspired square.
This festival kicks off as summer rolls into Uruguay. It usually takes place on the second or third weekend in November – keep an eye on the website for updates. Best of all, the festival is free to enter.