The Buenos Aires Tango Festival and World Cup is the largest tango festival in the world.
Every year, thousands of tango lovers come to Buenos Aires to compete or perform, or just enjoy classes, milongas, concerts and the Tango World Cup competition itself.
This year those unable to travel will have to enjoy the festival online, with some couples competing in the Tango World Cup virtually. The rest of the world can watch, and even cast their votes online.
For the first time this year, the grand finale will take place outdoors with the backdrop of the Obelisco.
Every August it’s time to put on a sultry face and slide into a tight embrace on the dance floor at the Buenos Aires’ Tango Festival.
At this yearly tango festival, tango aficionados and international visitors enjoy live tango orchestras, dance shows and competitions, tango-related films, art exhibitions and of course milongas (dance parties), celebrating Argentina’s most famous dance, but only online!
The free two week event is hailed as the world’s largest tango-related festival with 2,000 performers and nearly half a million visitors. This larger event is preceded by the citywide Buenos Aires Tango Championship, held every May.
Bailongo in Buenos Aires
Although today considered one of the country’s most sophisticated cultural exports, tango was born at the end of the 19th century in the working class waterfront neighborhood of La Boca. An immigrant community of mostly struggling, single European men meant there was a dearth of women at the time.
Men danced with each other to practice for the day they might have the chance to seduce one of the few single ‘ladies of the night’ available.
Because of tango’s early association with crime, the outlaw language of lunfardo and poverty, upper crust Argentines originally turned up their noses at the dance.
Once the sounds and moves of tango exploded in Europe in the early 20th century, wealthy and middle class Argentines co-opted the once underground sound and began composing more purified tangos, bringing the sexy dance into their ballrooms.
Since the 1990’s tango has experienced a new renaissance in Buenos Aires and worldwide. The Buenos Aires Tango Festival began in 1999.
In 2009 got a much-deserved spotlight when UNESCO included tango on their Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
Throughout the festival there is a variety of open milongas allowing the public to dance to the live sounds of traditional tango orchestras, tangotronica DJ’s and tango-inspired fusión groups .
Among the living tango greats who have hit the stage here are Saúl Cosentino with his avant-garde tango tunes akin to Piazolla; Bandoneon virtuoso, Julio Pane; and composer and the former bandoneonist for Alfredo Gobbi, Alberto Garralda.
Other memorable performances include an homage to Grammy winner, Leopoldo Federico, who performed at 2018’s Tango Festival and then died at 87 a few months later, and a retrospective of Russian tango of the ’20s and ’30s performed by the Belamor Kanal Quartet. Modern tango sounds include acts such as Cumbre de Contrabajista (Summit of Stand-up Bassists) and French composer, guitarist and singer, Brian Chambouleyron (on a double bill with the aforementioned Alberto Garralda).
For those who dream to dance tango like they own the floor, the festival hosts dance classes and talks with local dancefloor legends such as Milena Plebs, Sebastián Arce, María Nieves, Julio Balmaceda y Corina de la Rosa, Fernando Galera, Vilma Vega and 82-year-old Juan Carlos Copes.
World Tango Competition
The festival culminates in the Tango World Cup in which the world’s best tangueros compete on stage for prestige and cash prizes in the Salon Tango and Stage Tango Competitions at Luna Park.
Salon Tango is what visitors see in local milongas, improvised dance of closely embraced couples dancing with wily precision. Stage Tango is choreographed — it’s the more stylized and acrobatic ‘show tango,’ as seen at the famous tango shows in Buenos Aires.
To see a day-by-day breakdown of the Tango Festival events and the World Championship Dance competition see the Buenos Aires Culture Department’s official webpage linked below.
TangoBA 2021: Citywide championship competition
Buenos Aires Tango Festival & World Cup 2021
This year the whole world can participate and even compete via video or just watch and cast a vote online.
There will also be virtual classes and milongas in edition to live events all over Buenos Aires.
Buenos Aires Culture Department Festival Page
• Tel: . 0-800-333-7848 (Mon-Fri 10a.m.-8p.m)
TangoBa Live Events 2021
• On September 21, at 6:00 p.m., more than 20 artists will gather at Parque Centenario for a Tango tribute to Diego Armando Maradona, who died on November 25 last year.
Artist will perform songs written for the footballer and an unpublished song by the poet Horacio Ferrer (who used to hang out at our favorite Buenos Aires cafe, La Poesia).
There will also be a debut of the tango instrumental ‘El Gol del Siglo en tiempo de tango,’ composed especially for the occasion by the bandoneonist Gabriel Merlino.
The Tango WorldCup BA with competitions for Tango de Pista and Tango Escenario will also take place around the city.
Qualifying and semifinals will be at the Usina del Arte, in emblematic La Boca district, with semifinals taking place on the 22 and 23 of September.
Tango World Cup Finals 2021 & Open Air Milonga
For the first time, the finals will be held in the open air at the Obelisk in downtown Buenos Aires with concerts and open-air milongas, and the competition on a big screen.
The finals will also be streamed online.
→ Get in touch with us to ask about Argentina Vacation Packages
→ Check out other tango tours and activities to learn the dance or check out the city’s milongas with a local.
→ See our suggestions, ‘What to Pack for Argentina.‘
Tango Festival Venues (2022 Festival, hopefully!)
Av. Corrientes y Bouchard
• Tel: 5279-5279
• Bus: 4, 6, 20, 22, 23, 26, 28, 33, 45, 50, 54, 56, 61, 62, 74, 91, 93, 99, 105
• Subway: Línea B, L.N. Alem stop
Subte: Line D: Tribunales stop; Line B: Carlos Pellegrini stop; Line C: Diagonal Norte stop
Av Corrientes 1639
Subte: Line D, Callao; Line B Uruguay stop or 9 de Julio; Line C Diagonal Norte
• Usina del Arte
Av. Don Pedro de Mendoza 501 (corner of A. Caffarena)
Bus: 4, 8, 20, 25, 29, 33, 53, 64, 86, 129, 130, 152, 159, 168, 195
•Museo del Cine
Agustín Caffarena 51
Bus:4, 8, 20, 25, 29, 33, 46, 53, 64, 86, 129, 130, 152, 159, 168, 195
•Teatro de La Ribera/La Milonga del Dique
Av. Don Pedro de Mendoza 1821
Bus:8, 20, 25, 29, 33, 46, 53, 64, 86, 129, 152, 159
•Espacio Cultural Adán Buenosayres
Av. Asamblea 1200
•Espacio Cultural Julián Centeya
Ave. San Juan 3255
•Teatro 25 de Mayo
Av Triunvirato 4444
Bus: 71, 112, 114, 127, 133, 176
Subte: Line B, Echeverría Stop