Events, Festivals and Exhibitions

Festival Vallenato 2024, Valledupar, Colombia

30 April - 4 May

The Festival Vallenato is held in Valledupar, Colombia.

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The 56th Festival Vallenato or Festival de la Leyanda Vallenata will be held in Valledupar, a regional capital in the north east of Colombia from 30 April to 4 May 2024.

Vallenato is country music from Colombia’s Caribbean region, but it is popular in other parts of South and Central America and is recognised as part of the nation’s cultural heritage by UNESCO. Yes, it is a festival, but it is a very competitive one with many musicians of many different ages involved playing for a range of prizes. The Festival de la Leyanda Vallenata is held in Valledupar, a regional capital in the north east of Colombia.

History of the Festival Vallenato Valledupar

This musical genre evolved from storytellers wandering from village to village , who began to put their tales to music. The Vallenato Festival began in 1968, inspired by the area’s governor, Rafael Escalona, a famous Vallenato composer. It was also linked to the celebration of a local legend of the Virgin of the Rosario, who supposedly used miracles to help the Spanish thwart a rebellion of the Tupe and Chimila tribes against their colonial oppressors. From 1994, traditional dance was added to the event.

When is the Festival Vallenato 2024?

The Vallenato Festival is held in late April. In 2024 it will be from 30 April to 4 May.

What to Expect at the Festival Vallenato 2024

Vallenato Festival
photo credit ProColombia

The key instruments are the accordion, for the melody, and the snare drum and the guacharaca (a ribbed hollow tube of wood, played with a wire fork) for the percussion. There are four rhythms: merengue (different to Dominican two-beat merengue), paseo, puya and son. This music has both indigenous and African antecedents.

There are musical competitions for children, adolescents, amateurs and professionals as well as for composers and traditional dance. The dance is in groups, between partners, and was created around the mortars and pestles, or pilones, that were used to grind the corn, a monotonous task where songs helped pass the time.

Where is the Festival Vallenato 2024?

It takes place in the city of Valledupar. There will be official venues, particularly the Leyenda Vallenata Park, but restaurants, bars and clubs will also host their own shows linked thematically to the wider festival.

Things to Do in Valledupar

This city has a small colonial centre, which is pleasant to walk around and includes the town square, the Plaza Alfonzo Lopez, that has a stage that was previously used for the festival, and the church named after the Virgin of Rosario that has a carved effigy of her inside. To gain a deeper understanding of this musical genre, visit the accordion museum on the street Carrera 17 #9A -18, or the Composer’s Museum, Carrera 6 No 11 -56. For a sense of history there is the statue of the indigenous leader Upar, from which the city, literally, the valley of Upar, takes its name.

Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta National Park
Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta National Park

As Valledupar is some distance from the sea, balnearios, natural pools, in the Guatapuri River are popular sunning, picnicking and relaxing places. The area is considered good for bird watching. Further away are mountains, such as the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.

Flights to Colombia and Valledupar

Avianca fly direct between London Heathrow and Bogota. British Airways fly via Madrid. According to Skyscanner the British Airways flight is the Greener Choice, emitting less CO2.

From the US, there are direct flights to Bogota from New York, Washington DC, Houston, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles and Atlanta.

A domestic flight from Bogota to Valledupar with Avianca takes just under 1 hour 30 minutes. The bus from Bogota takes about 16 hours.

More information on the Festival Vallenato Colombia

For more information about the festival or to purchase Festival Vallenato tickets, click here or here.

Things To Do in Valledupar

For travel inspiration when you are in Valledupar, visit

Main image: photo credit ProColombia.


30 April
4 May


Leyenda Vallenata Park
Valledupar,CesarColombia+ Google Map
Mike East

Mike East

Mike began his career in travel writing by writing his own guide on his holidays. He sent this manuscript off to a range of travel guide companies and got a range of rejection letters — all except one. Getting a contract to write for Roger Lascelles Publications on Trinidad and Tobago, and The Bahamas was how his career began. With this opportunity came other pieces for British magazines, The Sunday Telegraph and now Travel Begins at 40.

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