Calle Ocho 2014: A Miami Bucket List Must
First things first—déjame presentarme, yo soy la Nena—the newest and youngest contributing Guest Gringa to the Las Gringas Blog. Originally from Kansas, I have recently made Miami my home. While I took Spanish throughout my time in school, I learned most of it from my South American friends in college and while living in Paraguay.
A girl who grew up watching You Tube videos of salsa in the streets of Havana and figuring out what exactly Pitbull meant in his early single “Culo”, it really should come as no surprise that I was counting the days until the 2014 Calle Ocho Festival. Awaiting the event, I quickly found out that almost everyone in Miami has an opinion and a story about Calle Ocho.
I’m never surprised by the overwhelming amount of opinions in the city. However, I was surprised by the overwhelming consensus that for all of its good and bad, Calle Ocho was a Miami rite of passage, and I couldn’t wait to experience it for myself.
So, armed with sunscreen, sunglasses, media passes and comfy shoes, La Roja and I arrived to a scene that I will never forget—and one I quickly decided I would be visiting every year. Salsa flowed into the street from the shops and stands mixing with reggaeton from Calle Ocho’s stages. After greetings of a few subtle “oye mamis”, signs for empanadas, arepas y “baños” for un dolar, I knew we had arrived.
My first few minutes at Calle Ocho literally took my breath away, probably because I was too busy smiling to remember to breathe. There was so much to take in. I wanted to run out into the street and start dancing, but we were gringas on a mission to get to the Mega 94.9 stage where Maluma, Grupo Treo, Tony Dize, Alexis y Fido, Chino y Nacho awaited us.
And, como siempre es mejor mostrar que contar, here are the highlights of my very first Calle Ocho…
- This photo: I call it: “Gringa a la Calle Ocho”
- Hanging out with Grupo Treo: I will never dance to “Te Gusta” the same way again.
- Alexis y Fido: My favorite performance of the day. You could definitely feel the energía that close to the stage. Air guitar break…and the back-up dancer rompiendo la cintura…
- Chino y Nacho sin Nacho: This gringa was a little lost when only half of Chino y Nacho showed up on the stage, but I loved seeing este hermoso venezolano as he performed a quick acoustic medley of their top hits, charming the crowd (below)…A word of advice for all the chicos—Hold on tight when you take your novia to see Chino y Nacho (or just Chino…or Nacho…)
At Calle Ocho, the chaos y mezcla de gente, cultura is the true beauty of the event. To truly enjoy it, you must embrace it (and we definitely did). If you want to see más photos from our adventures at Calle Ocho, visit our Instagram!
So, gente, we want to hear from you! Tell us your favorite shows, moments, and stories from Calle Ocho este año!