The inaugural Latin Salsa Festival took over Pershing Square in Downtown Los Angeles, Saturday, July 9 and Sunday, July 10, 2016. Pershing Square was the perfect venue, with its abundance of trees, framed by the vibrant, Downtown Los Angeles skyline, on a picture perfect day.
Salseros and foodies were invited to spice up their life and appetite during this exciting, engaging, fun, cultural event. The festival featured tons of delicious salsas to sample in the Salsa Tasting Tent, complimented by local food vendors offering up an array of mouthwatering treats.
The kids were thoroughly engaged in the interactive Kids Zone, with jumpers, face painting etc. The Beer and Margarita Bar was a welcome addition to the festival that made for a perfect outing to spend a summer afternoon in beautiful Southern California.
Salseros came from near and far to groove and move to the hot Latin rhythms provided by DJ Charlie manning the sound boards. DJ Charlie also served as Master of Ceremony for the entire weekend. There were some international salseros that received a shout out from DJ Charlie as well as Santa Barbara Salseros were in the house. Internationally recognized salsa dancing champion Cristian Oviedo provided dance lessons for beginners and intermediate dancers. The lessons were immediately put to good use all afternoon.
The Yari More Latin Band and The West Coast Salsa Orchestra served up some amazing salsa dura, mixed with some cumbia, merengue to the delight of the dancers.
The Yari More Latin Band got the live portion of the show underway with an entertaining set of salsa, cumbia and merengue. They thrilled the crowd with the tunes “Pa Gozar,” “Humo Y Alcohol,” “Pegaito,” “Algo Se Me Va,” “Es Mentirosa,” “La Pollera-Nueva,” “Vivir Mi Vida,” “La Rebelion,” and closed with a Celia Medley that featured the songs “Carnaval,” “La Negro Tiene Tumbao,” and “Bemba Colora.”
The West Coast Salsa Orchestra directed by Fabian Otero (accomplished pianist, composer), exploded onto the stage for an electrifying performance. The band has already made a name for themselves in the huuuge Salsa and Latin Jazz community in Southern California. Janeen Puente is one of the talented vocalists with the West Coast Salsa Orchestra. If you are into name checking, Janeen Puente lineage is from royalty in the genres of contagious rhythms of Puerto Rico, Salsa and Latin Jazz and Afro Cuban music. She is the granddaughter of the late great legendary music icon Tito Puente. Their high octane set consisted of the tunes “Mi Ritmo,” “Bembe Colora” dedicated to another musical icon Celia Cruz, “Can’t Feel My Face,” “Valio La Pena,” and an original tune written/composed by Fabian Otero entitled “Muevelo” to close out their first set. The group took it up a notch for their second set to close out the festival on a high note.
The first annual Latin Salsa Festival was a tremendous success. Thousands were in attendance for all or part of each day of the festival. The Latin Salsa Festival held its own during this popular gastronomy weekend. There were two additional food related festivals this past weekend.
Don’t change that dial just yet, The Pershing Square Downtown Stage, is held now until August 20, 2016. The series offers seven weeks of free outdoor concerts, movies, and specials events throughout the week. Pershing square encourages our entire guest to enjoy summer by siting the “Square” and all that Downtown has to offer including museums, restaurants, and an exciting night life. The audience is welcome to bring lawn chairs, or blankets to relax with family, friends, and fellow co-workers, and enjoy free entertainment under the twinkling lights of downtown Los Angeles. Easy access and check-in will be located on the corner of 6th and Olive. It is suggested that all guest read the summer concert rules so that the venue entrance can be accessed quickly and safely.
Visit http://www.laparks.org/pershingsquare/SummerConcertSeries.html for more information and to view the eclectic line-up scheduled for the Downtown Stage Saturday Concert Series, Pershing Square Wednesday and Friday Lunchtime Concerts, and Friday Night Flicks.
The Downtown Stage attracts guests from Ventura to Orange County as well as the San Fernando Valley, and all the city neighborhoods close to downtown Los Angeles. The “Downtown Stage” entertains a medley of families, friends, musicians, and band fans.
The Downtown Stage Summer Concert Series would not be possible without the help of our generous sponsors including The Pershing Square Park Advisory Board, 100.3 The Sound, CBS/KCAL, The Dew Foundation, The Los Angeles Downtown New, Kaiser Permanente, Center Staging, Total Production Group, The Musicians Foundation, The Downtown Center BID and The Downtown Neighborhood Council. In addition we thank the downtown business community, our downtown neighbors and all other who have joined with the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks to present this summer series at Pershing Square.