Why is Ibagué the Musical Capital of Colombia?

Historically Ibagué has been called the “Musical Capital of Colombia” the city has a cultural infrastructure represented in 209 cultural assets, which allows the capacity of live shows for 71,406 spectators. The city Displays an offer of more than 30 folkloric, artistic and musical events over the year, becoming spaces where music, popular arts and crafts, and gastronomy converge. During the last five years, there were 5,239,402 viewers in a virtual and face-to-face format.

The music business sector is made up of 216 companies and 1,480 musicians distributed in all links of the value chain, as follows: Creation 12, production 78, distribution, circulation, and exhibition 96, and 30 training. Of the musicians, 64.29% are engaged in live musical entertainment activities, 50% create music, 25% create their music, 17.86% perform sound recording and music editing activities, and 7, 14% manufacture musical instruments. The music sector for 2019 generated USD 3,599,833 and 18,988 jobs in artistic activities, entertainment, recreation, and other services in 2020.

The two music conservatories have marked the history of the country’s musical development. The budget for music education during 2015-2020 was USD 13,238,246. For the same period, 332 graduates, 158 professionals, and 10 music specialists graduated.

Educational centers

The city has educational institutions with a musical emphasis, at all levels of training. At the base level and intermediate education, it has two institutions: the Santa Cecilia Musical School and the Ibagué Conservatory of Music “Amina Melendro de Pulecio” that grants the title of Technical Bachelor with Musical Specialty, with 397 graduates between 2015-2020. In free technical training, the Artistic and Cultural Training School (EFAC) grants the title of Technician in Colombian Andean music. The Tolima Conservatory of Music offers the programs of Technology in construction and repair of stringed instruments (unique in Colombia), Technology in Audio and Music Production, Bachelor of Music with 180 graduates between 2015-2020, Master of Music with 53 graduated between 2015-2020 and postgraduate in Music Education Specialization.

The complimentary education offer of the city is from three cultural houses, 14 schools, and musical academies, corporations, and more than 20 music festivals, aimed at providing base and technical training in specific music topics to children, teenagers, young people, and Adults. The university wellness programs of 7 higher education institutions offer programs for culture and creativity, in dance formats, folk groups, Colombian music ensembles, traditional Andean music, choirs, alternative, tropical and urban genres, among others. The Simifarte program reaches 13 communes and rural areas with a cultural and artistic offer, benefiting 5,135 young people. Another hand, the National Batuta Foundation has been offering training in musical initiation ensembles and choir for 20 years for 284 boys and girls each year who are victims of armed conflict or are in situations of extreme social vulnerability.

Cultural and Musical identity

Since the beginning of the 20th century, Ibagué has been positioned as the “Musical Capital of Colombia” due to the efforts made around musical training, as well as the generation of scenarios for the practice and enjoyment of traditional Andean music, music classical music, study, and ethnomusicological research. In Fact, an achievement in the construction of musical identity was considered in 1906 with the creation of the Tolima Music Conservatory from which professional graduates who energize the Colombian music subsector are graduated. In 1936 the first National Congress of Music was held, this being one of the first events of great magnitude at the national level. To the above, the musical process of the Tolima Polyphonic Choirs added, achieving international visibility and circulation. Starting in the eighties, the celebration of Music Festivals enriched the cultural life of the city. Music has been fundamental in sustainable urban development.

Creative District Ibagué the Capital of Music

Through Decree 0482 of September 24, 2020, Mayor Andrés Hurtado implemented the first Creative District (DNA Zone) under the name of Capital of Music. Delimited by a 25-hectare polygon located in the downtown area, where there are also important cultural assets and facilities such as the Panoptic cultural complex, The Artistic and Cultural Training School (EFAC), Acoustic Shell, Tolima Theater, Music Park, Conservatory of Tolima, among others. The bet is to turn this creative district into an axis of cultural, economic, and social development, supported by the potential of the cultural and creative activities present in this space. The Creative District Musical Capital brings with it the implementation of new projects to promote it, among them the Ibagué initiative 365 days of music, the itineraries bazaar in the Acoustic shell, a musical corridor along Carrera Tercera, and a cultural agenda, consolidated by festivals, meetings, and artistic events.

Annual Musical Agenda

The city offers a diverse and permanent annual events schedule of forums, talks, symposia, conferences, workshops, training, and lutherie clinics organized for actors in the music sector (composers, producers, singers, among others). The offer consists of specialized academic events and academic events within the framework of music festivals. The most representative is the Colombian Music Festival (35 editions since 1987), and the Colombian Folk Festival (48 editions since 1959) both declared Cultural and Artistic Patrimony of the Nation; Ibagué Ciudad Rock (19 versions), Ibagué Festival, International Piano Festival, Ibero-American Guitar Seminar, Fractal Circuit, Ibagué Góspel, Regional Symposium on Art Education, University Seminar on Cultural Heritage. The academic events have had national and international experts. The successful experiences are considering as a reference at the national level by the actors in the sector.