Latin music fest MegaRumba may have changed its location, but it's still the same massive block party. This year, organizers moved the festival from Tropical Park to Mana Wynwood and expanded from a Colombian Independence Day celebration to one for all nationalities — Latinos in particular.
Nevertheless, Miami's Colombian-American community knew well who started the annual block party at Bayfront Park two years back, and Mana Wynwood's ever-expanding event space was awash in a sea of yellow, red, and blue.
The 12-hour festival was packed from the time it began at 3 p.m., but the line to enter the event grew a block long around 9. At midnight, the crowd was still getting hyped, dancing in front of the stage, and making the rounds at the festival's many art vendor and thrift booths.
An hour of drizzle and showers did little to deter crowds, who sought shelter under beer tents or removed layers of clothing and continued dancing in the rain.
Locos Por Juana, New Times' Best of Miami winner for Best Latin Band, returned as performers for the second year in a row, starting the party off in the early evening with a unique blend of diverse Latin styles like cumbia with reggae and hip-hop influences.
"It's my heritage," singer Itawe Correa says of the band's return to the MegaRumba stage. "You've got to come back, always. If they call us, we'll be back."
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Rising Latin pop rock band Los 5 performed a set of original songs and covered, of course, "Despacito," because a party hasn't officially started in 2017 until that song comes on.
Los 5 bassist Hector Rodriguez says his band's multicultural roots and message align with the festival's recent expanded outreach. "We're a band that's trying to represent Latin America as much as the American market. We're bicultural — Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina. One of the most special things about this gig is having so many people unite. People from everywhere just come together and enjoy good music and dance along. All that makes it a wonderful event."
Perfomers also included Grammy-winning artists Marlow Rosado and Play-N-Skillz, who brought out surprise guest Becky G to close out their set. She also celebrated MegaRumba's multicultural focus. "The truth is, Latinos in general should be very united, and we are. And I think that's what I love so much about our culture. There's a lot of colombianos repping today. I see them in their jerseys and I love it and I'm Mexican. I'm all for representing where you come from and being proud of it."