Living the PLUR life, wearing kandi, and listening to that tiki-tiki music may be all the rage right now. But there's one pachanga that cranks up más volumen que Ultra Music Festival, Winter Music Conference, and Miami Music Week combined. And it's called Calle Ocho.
Every year, two million cubanos, dominicanos, venezolanos, puertorriqueños, and all kinds of other 305ers flock to SW Eighth Street for America's largest block party to rep their homeland, make more noise than your Hialeah neighbors on Nochebuena, drink ice-cold Coronas, and get high off yerba mate.
Maybe it's the alluring smell of lechón asado, the cheesy corn arepas that drip with grease at every bite, or the mamis of Calle Ocho in bikini tops emblazoned with their native land's flag that attract all those party people to Little Havana. But whatever it is, we know one thing's for sure: This fiesta is also about la música.
Calle Ocho 2014
Calle Ocho 2014: With Daddy Yankee and others. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, March 9, at the corner of SW Eighth Street and Tenth Avenue, Miami. Admission is free. Visit carnavalmiami.com.
Since 1978, Latin music legends Desi Arnaz, Oscar D'León, Gloria Estefan, Willy Chirino, and, of course, yo' chico Pitbull have reigned as king (or queen) of Calle Ocho. And this year, superstar Daddy Yankee will wear the crown.
With "El Jefe" as king, we predict muchas mujeres in tribal wear doing the "Limbo" onstage with the Puerto Rican papi. But the Kiwanis Club of Little Havana will also honor "La Reina de la Salsa," Celia Cruz, by unveiling a shiny silver sculpture in her honor.
So chug some cerveza and get ready for that salsa, merengue, reggaeton, bachata, and hip-hop at this year's celebración.
Univision 23/Univision Radio Stage, 27th Avenue North. No doubt, Calle Ocho is "una fiesta pa' los rumberos." Not just because it's the only time of year when all of los callejeros de Miami come out and party, but also because Grammy-winning rumbera Albita says so. Throw in some salsita from "El Hijo de la Salsa," Frankie Ruiz Jr., and you've got the recipe for tremendo baile y gozadera at the Univision 23/Univision Radio anchor stage.
Miami Herald/El Nuevo Herald Stage, 24th Avenue North. We don't really know what to expect from the Miami Herald/El Nuevo Herald stage — kinda like tomorrow's news. All we know is that Miami's favorite Latin fusion band, ¡Suénalo!, will be there, leading la conga with some "Afro-Latin-baby-makin'-descarga-funk."
Telemundo 51, Pep Boys Stage, 23rd Avenue North. Vamos pa' la timba with Timbalive. Get your hips gyrating with Conjuto Impacto, sway with Melina "La Muñeca de la Salsa" Almodóvar, and muévete with los reggaetoneros Angel y Khriz at the Telemundo 51 stage. With all that rumba, you'll likely wind up grinding on a stranger. Guess that's why Tu Canal will be capturing every second of la loquera.
Coca-Cola Stage, 22nd Avenue North. There's nothing more refrescante than an ice-cold Coca-Cola. Except maybe "La Princesa de la Bachata" and Latin Grammy nominee Leslie Grace asking you to "Be [Her] Baby," el salsero Frankie Negrón confessing he's "Enamorado de Ti," and the Celia Cruz All-Stars shouting, "¡Azucar!"
Mega 94.9 Stage, 22nd Avenue. What's the sound of Miami? Is it the pounding uhntz-uhntz that shakes the streets of South Beach? Is it the symphony of car horns and emergency sirens on the Dolphin Expressway during rush hour? Is it your neighbors yelling at 8 a.m. on a Sunday? Nope, it's Mega 94.9, "El Sonido Joven de Miami." At the intersection of Tenth Street Road and 22nd Avenue, you'll find Chino y Nacho, the Latin Grammy-winning Venezuelan duo — plus Elvis Crespo (the man behind the merengue classic "Suavemente," which gets even los gringos moving their feet) and el gran reggaetonero Tony Dize, who'll never forget you even though he promised to with "Prometo Olvidarte."
Venue Magazine, SBS Radio, Dominican Republic Department Tourism Stage, 17th Avenue North. Flying in from the D.R., Johnny Ventura and his band will be reppin' los dominicanos at this year's street fest. Considered by many to be the father of modern merengue, Ventura has released 105 albums throughout his career and practically revolutionized the genre. He was also awarded the Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. So yeah, being in the presence of "El Merenguero" is like living history.
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Simple Mobile Folkloric Stage, 13th Court South. Get cultured at the Simple Mobile Folkloric stage, where more than 14 folk groups from Costa Rica, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, and Bolivia will walk around in puffy yellow dresses and colorful feathers, and do the waka-waka.
Mr. 305 Inc. United Nations Megastage, 12th Avenue North. What's the closest thing to seeing Pitbull at Calle Ocho? Checking out los artistas signed to Armando Christian Pérez's music label at the Mr. 305 Inc. United Nations Megastage. Pit's protégé Sensato will be there, as will Fito Blanko and a bunch of other Mr. 305 Inc. superstars. ¡Dale!
Power 96 Stage, Eighth Avenue. It's only fitting that the king of Calle Ocho would be seated upon a musical throne atop the stage with the best party rep in the 305. That's right — Power 96, "Miami's Party Station," will host el rey Daddy Yankee as he brags about "La Nueva y La Ex," goes "boom, boom, boom, boom" with "La Rompe Carros," and sprays the audience with "Gasolina." Oh, and dancehall star Sean Paul will also tear it up with your fave Power 96 DJs Zog, Def, and Cato K.
Por cierto, la fiesta nunca para en Calle Ocho.