Miami’s big street festival hosted by the Kiwanis Club of Little Havana is back for the 37th year bringing one million people out to dance, eat, carouse and wave their flags all in the name of fun. Here’s what we are excited about for 2014.
1. Tribute to Celia Cruz
Often imitated, never duplicated, Celia Cruz, the eternal queen of salsa gets her own saintly procession at 2 p.m. starting from Celia Cruz Way where a sculpture of the Guarachera de Cuba will initiate a parade through the streets of Calle Ocho. Be prepared to sing and dance your way through decades of hits while you remember that “La Vida es un Carnival.”
2. King Daddy
No one can get you moving like the Puerto Rican powerhouse, Daddy Yankee, with his infectious reggaeton repertoire of dancefloor anthems like “Rompe,” “Lo que paso paso” and the song that put him on the map, “Gasolina.” Daddy Yankee will be crowned this year’s King of Calle Ocho, ruling over an enormous population of people who know how to party. Catch him at the Power 96 stage (at Eighth Avenue) getting the crowd to move even if they can’t find space.
3. Tricked out baños
What’s the worst part about being in a crowd of one million people? The traumatizing experience of using a port-a-potty in a place where folks are eating greasy arepas, deep-fried pinchos and washing it down with beer. But don’t get antsy, this year Charmin (the toilet paper people) are creating a spa-like experience (well, sort of) for festivalgoers who are feeling the call of nature. At the corner of 20th Avenue and Eighth Street a high-end restroom will be stationed, fully equipped with running water, lights, a television in each stall and lots of TP (obviously). Bonus: There will be attendants to keep things fresh and clean.
Though it originally began as a celebration of Cuban culture, Calle Ocho has become a pan-Latin celebration that acts as a surrogate carnival for immigrants and visitors who can’t be back home to enjoy their traditional festivities. This year could be especially cathartic for South Florida’s Venezuelans who are in much need of some distraction after anxiously following the events and tension back home. Venezuelan artists like Chino y Nacho, who called for peace in Venezuela upon accepting their Premio Lo Nuestro award for Best Tropical Group, last Thursday, will perform at the Mega 94.9 Stage (22nd Avenue, 10 St. Road) to bring a bit of support to their compatriots.
5. Music, obviamente
Calle Ocho King Daddy Yankee will be joined by Sean Paul at the Power 96 Stage (Eighth Avenue), making that one of the hotspots of the carnival, but the nine stages scattered throughout Eighth Street have impressive line-ups for all tastes (in Latin music, that is). Here is the complete line-up.
Power 96 Stage (Eighth Avenue)
Daddy Yankee, Sean Paul, DJ Zog, DJ Def, Cato K, Power 96 DJs
Mr. 305 Stage (12th Avenue)
Fito Blanco, Farruko, Angel y Khriz, Kriz, Sensato, DJ Chino, Juan Magán
Simple Mobile Stage (13th Court South)
More than 14 folkloric groups from Costa Rica, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Bolivia; Fundación Escuela de arte Marleny, Grupo Complot, Felipe Molinares y su grupo, and many more
17th Avenue North Stage
Pedrito Martínez, Elain, Johnny Ventura
Mega 94.9 Stage (22nd Avenue, 10 St. Road)
Chino y Nacho, Ilegales, Maluma, Gocho, Baby Rasta, Tony Dize, Alexis & Fido, Zion & Lennox, Grupo Treo, Elvis Crespo, Juan Magán
Coca-Cola Stage (22nd Avenue North)
Leslie Grace, Frankie Negron, Alfredo de la Fe, DLG, Celia Cruz All-stars, David Correy
Telemundo 51 Stage (Pep Boys, 23rd Avenue North)
Orquesta Pichaco-Havana2, Henry Flow, El Pikete (Ulanito), Conjunto Impacto, Jack Jerry, Yaidan Lemus, Sheena, Delexilio, Farruko, Angel & Kriz, Timbalive, Melina Almodóvar, Lucy Grau, Oro Sólido
Miami Herald/El Nuevo Herald Stage (24th Avenue North)
Cachet, DJ Holiday, Suénalo
Univision 23 (27th Avenue)
Oro Solido, Nina Rodriguez, Frankie Ruiz Jr., Lefty Perez, Pericles, Jose Luis Morin, Elaine, D-Notes, DA2, Jayma y Dalex, Albita