Festival NRMAL found a new home away from home this past weekend on the edge of San Jose in Pedregal.
The popular music festival held since 2010 in Mexico has now branched out with Costa Rica the chosen destination.
NRMAL has been growing in Mexico and attracts both artists and pilgrimaging festival-goers from across the Americas in their thousands — from Argentina and Chile to Canada and USA. NRMAL is dedicated to innovative and fresh musicians who deliver memorable, high quality and exciting shows regardless of their impact on the market and their commercial appeal. Epicentro of Costa Rica, themselves no strangers to putting on a show, worked with NRMAL to bring the same vibe here.
NRMAL, Costa Rica Edition
Held over just one day rather than a whole weekend, it was a relatively low-key affair with one main stage and a second small stage held inside a dome marquee. Tickets were free and there wasn’t a great deal of publicity or advertising prior to the event. The whole thing felt like they were playing it fairly safe to give themselves a solid platform with opportunity and space to grow.
Despite the persistent rain throughout the afternoon and evening and a slight lack of things to do, the atmosphere was chilled and positive with the crowd getting more and more into it as the drinks flowed and the music picked up. The music started quite experimental and surreal and served more as an interesting backdrop as people continued to arrive and catch up with each other. As the more popular artists came on and performed, the crowd got livelier to match the tempo of the music and the day.
The Dome hosted local DJ’s from San Jose, playing electronica and dance sets as an alternative to the main stage outside. Algodón Egipcio from Venezuela, aUTOPerro from Costa Rica, AAAA from Mexico, Buscabulla from Puerto Rico, Helado Negro from Ecuador and Gepe from Chile provided an eclectic and vibrant mix of Latin American indie pop music and embodied the ethos of good quality live performances with different sounds coming together.
No one lifted the crowd like old-timers The Sonics from the United States though, who brought an unmatched energy and experience in performing some of their international hits like “Have Love Will Travel,” “Psycho” and their cover of “Do You Love Me.” Their music apparently had reached Costa Rica long before they had. It was the first time they’ve ever played here, but the young Tico crowd danced and sang along to much of their set.
A New Age for NRMAL
Festival NRMAL in Mexico now enjoys an international reputation with bands and fans travelling from across the Americas, Europe and Asia to revel and party in Latin America, and they will hope, along with Epicentro, that similar popularity follows here in Costa Rica.
The first edition is done for the year, but will it be able to return bigger and better and fill the short-lived but significant gap that has been left by the Festival Imperial? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.