Celebrating its 10th year, the 2012 Latin Grammy Street Parties kicked off the six-city cross-country fiestas on Sunday, Sept. 30 in Chicago.
The interactive traveling music festival for Hispanics, which includes live entertainment and product sampling, will lead up to the 13th annual Latin Grammy Awards telecast on Nov. 15 in Las Vegas.
“An average of 25,000 to 30,000 people come out each year, rain or shine,” said Gabriel Abaroa Jr., president and CEO of The Latin Recording Academy. “Three or four years ago in Houston, I believe, we partied in the eye of an oncoming storm and still drew 10,000 attendees.”
The tour will visit Hispanic communities across the country, which, for the first time, include San Jose, California. While attendees can expect to see performances by Latin music’s established artists like Alejandra Gúzman and Fidel Ruedas, they can also look forward to emerging talent representing various genres from Rock en Español, reggaeton and regional Mexican, to name a few.
“These events were invented for families,” added Abaroa. “When you observe grandmothers dancing with their grandchildren or couples dancing fantastically in a sea of people, it’s just amazing.”
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After paying a visit to Chi-Town’s Plaza Garibaldi this Sunday, where talent like El Coyote performed, the Street Parties continue to Houston on Oct. 7. Houston’s LAM Parking Lot will host performances by Gocho, Graciela Beltrán and Fito Blanko, among others.
The tour makes a stop in Dallas before heading to Los Angeles on Oct. 21. For the fifth year, the City of Angels will welcome the party to Plaza Olvera, where last year’s fun- filled-day included performances by Los Cuates de Sinaloa, U.N.O. and El Kinse. This year the Plaza stage welcomes Lupillo Rivera, Jesus Ojeda, El Rojo and Kevin Ortíz.
But it doesn’t end there. The partying will continue until making its final stop on Nov. 4 in Florida. Fans who attend Street Parties will have a chance to win a VIP trip to Las Vegas to experience the awards ceremony live.
"It seems incredible that 10 years have gone by since that first Street Party in Miami back in 2003," said Nelson Albareda, president and CEO of Eventus, who assists in putting the tour together each year. "We are very proud to have helped ignite Latin Grammy fever around the country."
The festivities are made possible by the Latin Recording Academy, an international, membership-based organization that comprises Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking musically creative professionals. In addition to producing the Latin Grammy Awards and Street Parties, the Academy is dedicated to improving the quality of life and cultural condition for Latin music and its makers, along with providing educational and outreach programs for the community.
“Whenever I think of the Latin Grammy Street Parties, the first thing that comes to my mind is people dancing in the streets in celebration!” Abaroa said. “Who could ask for anything more?”
Zayda Rivera is a communications professional and freelance writer working in NYC who specializes in Hispanics living in the United States.
You can reach her on Twitter: @RiveraZayda