What’s a giant fluorescent-green ape doing tearing apart Flinders Street Station? It’s the wild, psychedelic art on the front of El Gran Mono, a three-metre-high soundsystem that’s been custom built for a day-long Colombian party this weekend.
Verbena Picótera takes place at Whitehart in the CBD on December 22. It’s inspired by Colombian picó parties, which centre around giant, elaborately decorated speakers (such as El Gran Mono) playing rare African and Afro-Colombian music. The speaker’s owners, or picotero, compete in a game of one-upmanship, pushing each other to attract the biggest crowd with increasingly louder volumes and crazier artwork. These parties are rarely held outside of South America.
On the day, expect the smell of empanadas, queso arepas and fried plantains (by local caterers Fandango Caribbean Food) wafting over a bar serving Caribbean-inspired rum cocktails and aguardiente, a strong white spirit. African and Colombian music collectors will play rare vinyl before sets by DJ Jnett and DJ Manchild. Then, as the sun goes down, El Gran Mono will light up, and the party will kick into another gear.