Ibague, capital of the Tolima department, which rests on the slopes of the Cordillera Central mountain range, is known as the “musical city of Colombia.”
The industrial city, which is recognized for its abundance of cultural heritage, will be host to the Colombian Folklore Festival in June, presented by the Tolima Corporation as part of the nation-wide National Network of Traditional Colombian Music Festivals.
The month of June will see the city of less than 500,000 people inundated with cultural enthusiasts seeking to enjoy, share, teach and learn about folk tradition from around the country.
Exhibitions of music, dance, art and photography coupled with discussions and workshops about Colombian folklore will fill the streets, theaters, parks and squares of Ibague from June 9 until July 5.
Ibague is an ideal setting for the Colombian Folklore Festival. The capital has a rich tradition of music centered around the 105-year-old Conservatory of Tolima.
The music school was founded by maestro Alberto Castilla in 1906, accepted its first female pupils in 1909 and received accreditation as an official school of music in 1920.
In 1959 the director of the conservatory, Amina Melendro of Pulecio, established a curriculum for under-privileged children to pursue musical education while they attended high school.
The republican-style building, now with modern additions, is a must-see for any music history enthusiast. The conservatory gives free, folk performances for the public on Thursday nights during the school year thanks to the Ministry of Culture’s “Support for Symphonic Movement of the Conservatory of Tolima.”
When your ears tire, give them a rest and exercise your sense of sight and smell while strolling through Ibague’s Fundacion Orquideas del Tolima. The garden is home to 160 species of orchids, heliconia, tropical flowers and fruit.
As the melody fades with each step away from Colombia’s musical city, the department of Tolima offers tourists other great sights including one of only three snow capped volcanoes in Colombia, the Nevado del Tolima.