SOULFRITO - The Urban Latin Music Festival - Lights Up the Night at Sun Life Stadium
Thousands gathered on Saturday, February 22nd at Sun Life Stadium for the seventh annual SOULFRITO The Urban Latin Music Festival, to witness a distinguished lineup of Urban and Latino acts representing the synthesis of U.S and Hispanic artistic expression that forms today's mainstream urban and pop music culture in America.
The nation's original and largest multicultural event for today's Millennial and U.S Hispanic set itself against the illustrious backdrop of Sun Life Stadium in Miami, with a towering main stage that shimmered in the South Florida sun and provided an impressive light show for attendees as the evening progressed into the late night.
After an introductory DJ set by Miami's own Brass King, the first artist to take to the stage was the Puerto Rican songwriter and recording artist, Calma Carmona, who opened up the festival with her sultry and often upbeat rendition of Latin Soul. Following Calma Carmona came Miami's own eight-piece jam band, Suénalo, who brought a delightful taste of Latin Funk - paying tribute to the Afro sounds of Cuba and Puerto Rico. The Dominican-born 28 year-old Latin hip-hop sensation, and protégé of Pitbull, Sensato, took to the stage with a roar from the young Latina audience, before singing his popular tracks "Latinos in Paris," and "Crazy People," both of which were produced in collaboration with Mr Worldwide. Hector "El Torito" Acosta reversed the tone back to a lighter sound of Merengue, as the Dominican artist delivered an impressive set backed by a percussive ensemble. As the festival flowed in to the late afternoon, the audience noticeably increased in size as the Puerto Rican duo of Chencho and Maldy, a.k.a Plan B, took to the stage for the show's first presentation of Reggaeton, that injected a wildly contagious two-step dance move in to Miami's Latino youth throughout the venue. Víctor Manuelle, the renowned Latin Grammy nominated American-born Puerto Rican salsa singer and songwriter gave seasoned fans of SOULFRITO a late afternoon rendition of his classic favorites before honoring the late great salsa singer, Hector Lavoe.
Taking to the stage to introduce the evening session for SOULFRITO were festival hosts and television personalities Adrienne Bailon and Julissa Bermudez who pumped even more energy into the already energized crowd.
The nighttime musical festivities kicked-off with one of New York's most popular club favorites, DJ Camilo, who span a continuous set of Latin and mainstream hip hop tunes to set the tone for the upcoming headline acts. Wearing a bucket hat and shades, was this year's Grammy performer, Juicy J, who took to the stage with monster energy to perform his opening version of the track by Katy Perry, "Dark Horse." Juicy delighted the audience with an interactive crowd-hoping experience, as he jumped off the stage to greet fans that were lucky enough to be situated against the front barrier.
Next on stage was the veteran hip hop artist, Busta Rhymes, who proved that age will never hinder his nimble performance, as he joined Spliff Star on stage for his popular track "Bounce." His fluid rendition of "Scenario" by Tribe Called Quest, gave the crowd what they wanted before finishing his hour long set with "Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See," and "Get Low" in between roaring conversations with the audience.
New York's celebrated lyricist, political activist, actor and hip-hop poet, NAS, was the evening's third headliner, who gave a highly anticipated performance from his debut album "Illmatic." Simply dressed in a black t-shirt and shorts, with gold necklace and black rimmed glasses, Nas performed melodically, backed by a live percussion drummer, to a more mellow audience than was seen with Juicy and Busta. Tracks "Street Dreams," "If I Ruled The World" and "I Can" followed, during which local artist, Ariel Cruz, was present on-stage creating a portrait of the hip-hop sensation.
Puerto Rican actor and King of Reggaeton, Don Omar, was the festival's final act, complete with robotic "Daft Punk" inspired DJ on-stage, together with an attractive dance troupe of females whose choreographed routine was synchronized to the heavy bass and bongo drum accompaniment. Omar delighted his most loyal fans that stayed to the end to hear his most popular songs, including chart topper "Muñecas De Porcelana."
"The return of SOULFRITO gave Urban and Latin music fans a broad spectrum of sounds that represent today's multicultural genre," says Melissa Giles, festival director of SOULFRITO. "Since the launch of the festival in 2002, the festival has transitioned to appeal to a diverse audience that represents today's general market in America. The cross pollination of Urban Latin music with mainstream hip-hop has formed a distinguished category that SOULFRITO has provided a platform and mouthpiece for. This represents a new era of musical expression."
Since its inception in 2002, SOULFRITO The Urban Latin Music Festival has been the premier launch pad for emerging and established artists, as well as brands looking to connect with the multicultural U.S Hispanic audience that now forms today's mainstream market. International blue-chip corporations, including General Motors (Pontiac, Chevrolet), Toyota (Scion), Jack Daniels, Anheuser Busch, Coca Cola, Heineken and Spirit Airlines, formed strategic partnerships with the festival in an effort to capture the country's fastest growing demographic. SOULFRITO made an early contribution towards the start of the careers of artists such as Pitbull, Wisin Y Yandel, Aventura and Kat Deluna, among others, and continues to provide an attractive platform for producers and brand partners that wish to engage second, third and fourth generation U.S Hispanics and enthusiasts of Urban Latin culture. For further information, visit www.soulfrito.com.