January is a slow month for cultural activities in Bogotá, but there is one event that reels in audiences and those who are musically curious.

Festival Centro has become a hallmark event for those in the capital enjoying relatively empty streets and the historic neighborhoods of La Candelaria and Egipto.

Organized by the Gilberto Alzate Avendaño Foundation (FUGA) and lasting for seven days from January 11–17, the 7th annual festival wants to convert the centro into your musical stop.

In order to find new bands and give local talent visibility, the foundation asked Bogotá-based musicians last year to send in proposals. The top 15 bands selected took to the stage on opening night.

This year, the theme of the festival is “Vuelve a tu centro” a slogan that carries the double meaning of returning to Bogotá’s often-overlooked downtown and rediscovering one’s personal center.

Heralded as the “first music festival of the year,” Festival Centro opens up the musical spectrum with village bands, folk ensembles, rock and hip hop artists. The plethora of sounds and homegrown talent is also a celebration that music always goes over well as a live act.

Each day has a different theme, starting with a family-friendly day on Monday, followed by hard rock on Tuesday, pop on Wednesday, rock on Thursday, world music on Friday, “fiesta” on Saturday and Colombian music on Sunday.

The Gilberto Alzate Avendaño Foundation (Calle 10 No. 3-16) is the main venue to to hear the bands play, but other cultural venues, such as the Jorge Eliecer Gaitan theater, Rafael Pombo Foundation and Cultural Center Gabriel García Márquez, have joined in.

Festival Centro is an ambitious space for new sounds and innovative rhythms. It is also a tribute to the urban and the rural. Above all, it’s a celebration of our city and its rising talent.

Admission to these more than 250 concerts is free. For a complete listing of the bands performing at Festival Centro and when to hear them, visit the official festival website: www.festivalcentro.fuga.gov.co