Carnaval On The Mile, The Calle Ocho Festival, and Ultra Music Festival all happen in March. All that, paired with a high probability of cool sunny weather, make this a great time of the year to visit the Magic City.
Script and Show Notes:
At the beginning of March Miami celebrates its Carnival, which is a series of events called Carnaval Miami, organized by the Kiwanis Club of Little Havana. The two main events are Carnaval on the Mile, and on the following Sunday, Calle Ocho.
Carnaval on the Mile happens on Miracle Mile in downtown Coral Gables. The event focuses on culture and art. There are also food vendors from many of the local restaurants, featuring diverse cuisine from many different countries. Several street blocks become an art gallery.
Let’s face it. Besides the food and the drinks, the main reason I come here is for the music. Very few times we get to see so many great live bands, ranging from afro-cuban jazz to reggae, at the same place, for free. This year we had a special treat, as the King of the Carnival was saxophone virtuoso Dr. Ed Calle. Here we see him playing with World Music 5 featuring the Negroni Trio, and violinist Federico Britos. Outstanding.
We also get treated to the reggae sounds of Bachaco.
As the evening progresses we get to dance to the afro-cuban funk of Palo!, founded by Stever Roistein, also featuring Ed Calle, and Cuban singer Leslie Cartaya.
Last we enjoy the incredibly talented Pedrito Martinez featuring piano virtuoso Ariacne Trujillo. (Talking head)
There were many other great music acts, including the grand finale with Ed Calle’s big band, but we couldn’t make it… so lets travel one week ahead in time, to the following Sunday and the Calle Ocho festival.
Calle Ocho was founded in 1977 by a group of Cuban-Americans and is one of the largest street festivals in the world, with over one million people attending each year. In 1988 it made it to the Guinnes Book of World Records when they formed the world’s longest conga line with almost 120,000 people. 24 blocks of SW 8th Street become a sea of people dancing, food and drinks, and 30 stages with live entertainment. It is definitely something to see if you are visiting south Florida in early March.
We get to see some local acts such as Melina Almodovar, La Muñeca de la Salsa. There are also street performers. It is incredible how many people are at this place. Keep in mind this extends for almost two and a half miles.
There’s always the spontaneous conga line. The sounds, the smells, the characters.
Local TV host Fernando Hidalgo is promoting his show.
We end the day at the stage featuring local Cuban-American idol Willy Chirino.
I hope you have enjoyed this glimpse of some of Miami’s main Latin festivities. I’d like to remind you that you can watch some of these performances in their entirety at my YouTube music channel youtube.com/roberticomusic. Until next time, thank you for watching and see you on the road. By the way, once it starts getting dark, get outta here. Fast.
I almost forgot. We have another massive event here the following two weekends. It is the Ultra Music Festival, pricey but if electronic music is your thing and you don’t mind crowds… it is truly epic. I know I am going next year since this year we couldn’t make it I was able to steal a few shots from the gaps in the fence, until the police told us to move.
Coming up on our next episode we visit Las Vegas, Nevada and drive to the south rim of the Grand Canyon, on route 66 no less. Also check out our previous six episodes in which we drove on the Pacific Coast Highway from Los Angeles to San Francisco and beyond.
Road Nomad is now also available as a video podcast in iTunes and Apple TV, so search for it or follow the link in our blog roadnomad.com