Casco Viejo – Casco Antiguo – Panama
The Panama Jazz Festival has been growing steadily year by year, flooding Panama and Casco Viejo with great music and fantastic vibe. After 8 years of attending the Jazz Fest, I`ve put together a couple of recommendations for those of you thinking on attending for the first time:
1. Buy your tickets in advance: this way you`ll make sure you have the ones you really want and for the events you are most interested in. While the Anayansi theatre at Atlapa has a capacity for almost 3000 people, the National Theatre can only hold 800. Also, some of the events are going to be held at one of the smaller areas (Salon San Lorenzo) which has a lower capacity. You won`t need tickets for the outdoors concert in Casco Viejo! If you haven`t seen the schedule yet, you can FIND IT HERE.
2. The workshops are really good!: if you are thinking on signing up your kid or attending yourself if you are a musician, again, you probably need to sign up in advance. Contact Alida for the Workshops HERE.
Now… for the concert at Casco Viejo:
1. Stay in Casco Viejo: it is the best way to enjoy the festival. You just walk to the plaza and back home. Check out our list of recommended hotels and private apartments for rent HERE. If you are not staying in Casco and are coming from Panama City:
2. Leave your car outside at Cinta Costera: believe me, it is the best strategy. I`ve tried it myself and it works. Every year they have a shuttle service, so there is no need to stress about parking. The shuttle will bring you back. And even if you want to leave between shuttle rides, you can actually just walk out using the Cinta Costera extension. It is very easy!
3. Seating comfortably: you will have a good time no matter what, even if you sit on the floor. However, I`ve always been grateful for those who offered me their folding chair (you know, those camping chairs that fold into almost a tube). These chairs are fantastic: almost no weight and no hassle. This year the festival is going to provide with more seating areas, but just in case go prepared! and remember to wear comfortable clothing and shoes.
4. Goodies: no need for them unless you have a special food need. You`ll find people selling anything from water, beers, soda, and food.
5. Bathrooms: the Fest always have several rows of public bathrooms, usually near the Canal Museum. If anything… bring paper with you!
6. Casco Style VIP areas: the Panama Jazz Festival always has a small VIP area, which is a nice way to check out the concert. But also there is the “Casco Style VIP” = knowing anybody that has a balcony overlooking Plaza Catedral. Most owners are holding parties for their friends on that day… so just drop by! bring some good wine and cheese!