Mar 6, 2011

Boquete Jazz Festival

Well, the Boquete Jazz Festival has come and gone and seems to have been a success.  I was mildly offended by the donation scalpers in central park on Sunday, though.  Local announcements stated there was a free concert in the park from 11 am to 3 pm as a gift to the community.  But in actuality,  concert-goers were accosted from all angles and donations aggressively requested. 

I arrived during a lull in the performances.  Immediately upon setting foot in the park, --like mosquitos attracted to a warm body at twilight,--- the hawkers alighted and shoved plastic pitchers in my face.   I mentioned it would be nice to hear some music first, and one of the collectors snapped, "Well, it's been going on all morning!  I remarked I just arrived and hadn't heard any jazz yet. 

The Sunday performance was a wrap up  to several appearances musicians made at local restaurants. (Places are too costly for a lot of locals to attend.)  It was a "gift to the community",  but what any curious Panamanian or Ngobe attendee observed were  gray-haired hipsters in jeweled chains & bracelets, with silver-studded hats, carrying plastic pitchers and asking for money. 

The atmosphere was quiet and restrained the short while I remained.  Not sure if it was because the music was unfamiliar, the location was sub-optimum, or if it was because of the people hawking donations.   Whatever it was, it wasn't anything to rave about. 

The after party at Las Ruinas, on the other hand, was fantastic.   The place was swinging, the music superb, and the crowd delightful.  Donations were requested there, as well, but it was done tactfully, at the end of magnificent performances by very accomplished musicians, and I couldn't wait to drop my money into the pitcher.   My feeling is that they "Let the free [Central Park] concert  be free," and only collect in the other locales.   But that's just me...

Snapped a few photos during the Las Ruinas after-party and jam, but they aren't very clear.  As I said, the event was a lot of fun....