We were in Boquete the weekend before for band practice and the town was crowded. We came up in the early afternoon without problems but in the evening we had to park and walk a ways to get to downtown to enjoy a couple other bands. When we left there was traffic but no major delays, but we didn’t have to go through town to get on our way.
This last weekend however, my goodness! Word was the last weekend is the height of the festival and more people came this year than ever before.
We set out on Saturday for Boquete about 4:45 for our evening gig at Mike’s Global Grill. We were fine until Alto Boquete when traffic piled up and was soon stop and go only. After traffic funneled down to one lane entering Boquete Bajo, things went better so we decided not to take the unfamiliar back road, which we regretted later. Even after allowing extra time we arrived late (though this is Panama and late is more normal than on time for entertainment). Some of our supporters spent well over an hour in traffic! That is real dedication to the band. Others had a more sensible plan, in my opinion, and stayed home while all this was going on.
It seems the night time festivities at the fair are the really big draw. When we finished at Mike’s (after 11 pm) we could hear the music booming from the fairgrounds probably a kilometer away, and word is this goes on into the wee hours of the morning. Traffic was still heavy, there were many pedestrians on the roads, and cars were parked in every available space for quite a ways even farther than Mike’s. There were also many buses, large and small, coming and going and they were all full.
Sunday was more of the same. We left about 3pm and the traffic again was stop and go when we reached Alto Boquete, but this time we opted for the back road which worked out great. We were at the Boquete Brewing Company which is on the far side of downtown, and we found back roads that took us to the corner just above the Brewery which was perfect. We bypassed all the traffic and arrived in plenty of time. We saw a lot of buses parked everywhere though. It seems they come from everywhere to help get people in and out of town.
It was a great evening! We played out on the terrace so we also got to play to the people in the street who were stuck in traffic. We were very happy with our performance and got a lot of great compliments from the audience which grew in size throughout the evening. This was the first weekend out with the new bass amplifier Joel bought me, and the bass sounded great. It has a lot of setting and controls I need to learn more about, but it’s definitely going to work out wonderfully.
But, if you plan to come to Boquete during the festival, you have been warned. Unless you want to party to the booming music at night, come in the daytime during the week. Boquete is a small town surrounded by mountains so there isn’t much space. When something big is going on it can get pretty crazy.
Or, if you want music – rock, blues and other fun stuff, I know this band…… 😁