After a packed schedule during the first two days of our trip, we were grateful to have a free morning in Montería. A few members of the group decided to meet up for a mooch around the nearby shops and streets to experience the local culture, whilst also looking to buy some shorts and flip-flops to help cope with the extreme heat!

We were staying very close to the Sinú River so Matt Gee and I decided to go for a (seriously sweaty) jog to take in the sights. During our run we came across a fiesta in the street, complete with live Colombian music, people dancing in traditional dress and an array of food stalls. We were also greeted by a number of huge iguanas crossing our path… thankfully they were too busy eating lettuce leaves from the locals to take any notice of us.

Festivities in Monteria

After a leisurely lunch at the hotel, we boarded our tour bus for the two-hour journey to Sincelejo, 120km north of Montería. It was a great way to see some of the country and to spot grazing cattle, tropical trees and exotic-fruit sellers at the roadside along our journey. Once we’d arrived at the hotel, we had time for a short rest before heading over to the venue for a soundcheck.

We’d been invited to give a concert that evening at the Auditorio Biblioteca Pública Departamental José Elías Cury Lambraño – a lovely, bright, 2 year-old building in the centre of town. We were performing in its 170-seat auditorium which had a clear and supportive acoustic. It’s always an interesting challenge to work out how to adapt your playing for each venue (the previous night’s concert had been in a large, boomy church) so this felt rather more exposed, but it was great to be able to hear each other so well in this setting.

It wouldn’t be a day on tour without a small complication of some sort and today’s issue came in the form of music stands which couldn’t be raised higher than their lowest setting. This meant that our only option was to perform this concert all seated – a first for Septura.

The concert was free for the audience to attend and we were delighted to see that it was completely full. It was so busy, in fact, that the start of the concert had to be pushed back by 15 minutes to allow for the organisers to add more chairs into the aisles. Afterwards we were told that there had actually been even more people who were sadly turned away as there was absolutely no more room!

Backstage in Sincelejo

I hugely enjoyed the performance and it seemed to go down very well with the audience – we received warm applause between each piece and a full standing ovation at the end. After some quick photos alongside our hosts and with some enthusiastic audience members, we headed back to the hotel to drop off our instruments and concert clothes.

We were then generously treated to a delicious meal in a local restaurant by our host, Edwin and our translator, Liz. This restaurant’s speciality was seafood, so we tucked into a mixture of different dishes ‘del mar’, alongside some well-earned drinks. It was a very enjoyable evening and I had a great time dusting off my A-Level Spanish with Edwin and Liz, who kindly indulged me and both spoke very slowly! After dinner – and with the prospect of a 6:20am bus looming for the following morning – it was time to call it a night for some and time for one last nightcap for the rest. Next stop, Bogotá!

With our hosts in Sincelejo