Hartford Riverfront’s Latin Beat



By Brian Woodman Jr.

Riverfront Recapture wanted to expand its Guitars Under the Stars event and transformed it into the Riverfront Latin World Rhythm Festival.

“People from the suburbs are coming,” Charlie Myers, the director of programs and events for Riverfront Recapture said. “It’s unique and authentically Latin. They are getting something that they can’t find on the town green.”

The nonprofit organization, which oversees the revitalization of Hartford’s waterfront along the Connecticut River, will be holding presenting festival; a free event that spokespersons said would highlight a variety of musical traditions from the Latin World. The event will be at Mortensen Riverfront Plaza.

The event has been presented at the waterfront for 20 years. Daniel Salazar, who has performed each year, will headline the event.

“It will not focus on any one Latin demographic,” said Myers. “It is meant to be a broad showcase for a variety of Latin artists.”

The event, which will begin at 1 p.m. and last until 10 p.m., will include performances on two stages and a performance area with room for dancing. Other highlights include dance instruction and children’s activities.

One stage at the upper end of the plaza will feature five performances beginning with the Latin rock group Cosmic Jibaros. Other performers will include Trio Surcari (South American instrumental music), Joe Diaz and Grupo Borinken (traditional Puerto Rican music), Los Chantas (Argentinean Tango) and Cumbiamba (traditional Columbian music).

The main stage will feature dance instruction and Salsa performed by the Latin Heartbeat Orchestra. Salazar will perform there beginning at 7:30 p.m.

The main performance area will include a variety of activities ranging from mask making to Tango lessons. The Mariachi Academy also will perform.

“It’s grown,” said Myers, who said the performers represented a variety of musical styles that would reinforce the purpose of the event. He said the average attendance in previous years grew from 5,000 to 7,500 people.

He added that unlike the Latin Jazz and Salsa Festival, which the organization presents in June, the Rhythm Festival tends to attract people from a broader demographic, rather than a predominately Latino audience. He said the events both helped make people aware of the different facets of Latin culture, which he added was growing in Hartford.

Other details regarding the event may be found at http:///riverfront.org/events/riverfront-latin-world-rhythm-festival.