The Fuego Music Festival in Mana Wynwood ran for two days this past weekend, Saturday, Feb. 23-Sunday, Feb. 24. The first East Coast two-day Latin extravaganza of its kind, Fuego attracted live performers, food and drink vendors and hundreds of Latin music fans.
For anyone looking for a hot weekend, Fuego was the place to be.
In case anyone had doubts about the festival’s intensity, there were literal flames at the entrance. In one corner, bartenders poured fireball whisky shots, and in the other, a full bar served a variety of drinks to get the crowd feeling “tropical y tranquilo.” The stage– the host for many of Miami’s major productions– featured Miami music favorites backed by a massive digital screen and commanding sound system.
Among the food vendors were Dapper Doughnuts and Cielito Artisan Pops. Food trucks serving classic Cuban cuisine boasted the Cuban and American flags. Crowds surrounded tables between the stage and vendors, enjoying the food, drinks and music all at once.
Narrating almost entirely in Spanish, the emcee introduced what would become the theme of the night– pride in unity through diversity. The audience, receptive to the emcee’s energy, roared to represent their countries as the emcee ran through a list.
“If you’re proud to be Latino, raise your hands,” he said.
And so the audience did.
With powerhouses such as Alex Sensation and Gustavo Elis on Saturday and Manuel Turizo and Mau y Ricky on Sunday, the party didn’t stop until well past midnight. Festival goers danced and drank the night away in their finest Miami attire as performers sang new songs and old favorites.
Colombian pop singers Valentina Storino and Luisa Nicholls electrified the crowd, performing their hits “Enamorado de tu Ex” and “Mi Lista de Exes.”
In between sets, a Hits 97.3 DJ spun popular J Balvin and Bad Bunny songs, including “Mia,” which got everyone moving as the tightly-packed standing area stretched away from the stage.
Though music festivals usually have an easily identified age range, this one did not. Miami dwellers of all ages showed up and called out their love for their culture. While the DJ mixed reggaeton with salsa, couples stepped and spun in rhythm. Love was not in short supply at the Fuego Music Fest.
Among those dancing that night were the Fuego Dancers– a group of five vibrant women clad in black leggings and a black tank tops that featured a bright orange-red flame. If Miami newcomers were to take anything away from this festival, it should be the acknowledgment of the power of strong, single women, which was a clear theme during the first half of the Saturday show.
Following Venezuelan-born headliner Gustavo Elis, Miami’s own Celina and Filiberto took the stage. The duo was featured on this past season of “America’s Got Talent” and is nationally recognized for its first-rate “dirty dancing.” When given the microphone, Celina said dancing is a way of life that she will never give up, no matter how old she gets.
The crowd seemed to agree with Celina’s sentiment, as its members kept dancing through the night and into Sunday for part dos of the Fuego fire music fest.