Next week, from August 10-16 Cali will be hosting the 19th edition of the annual Pacific music festival, Petronio Álvarez. The festival is named after famous musician Patricio Romano Petronio Alvarez Quintero who was born on the island of Cascajal outside Buenaventura in 1914, and who dedicated most of his life to music, before dying in Cali at the young age of 52 in 1966.
Cali is the city in Colombia with the biggest African-American population and only surpassed by Salvador, Brazil in all of Latin America. This festival is a celebration of the Afro-Colombian cultural and social heritage of Cali and the Pacific coast, and the mission is the preservation of the traditional music of the Colombian Pacific region while making the festival one of the most important Afro-events in Latin America.
Expect a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural event with great artistic performances and plenty of gastronomic indulgences. With the possibility of offending some, I would argue that the food from the Pacific region is the best in the country.
The big news this year has been the announcement of a performance by Brazilian singer Carlinhos Brown from Salvador, who among other things helped Shakira with this song for the FIFA World Cup in Brazil last year.
The official schedule has just been published here and also I suggest following the festival’s Twitter or Facebook profiles for updates and photos. Upon arrival at the different venues, I’m sure flyers with program will be available for distribution.
Where and when
The festival includes several cultural events spread out over the city, but the concerts, which for many is the main attraction take place inside the Canchas Panamericanas complex in central Cali every day from August 10-16. This years shows start at 6:00 P.M and keep going until late night.
With the Mayor’s office as the main benefactor, the event has always been free to attend and for that reason I assume that this years concerts will be free as well.
Regretfully, during my first two years as a resident of Cali, I have not been able to go, but my impression is that this is an event not to missed by neither tourists or residents of the city. It should be a great place to socialize and have fun.
A warm-up to the festival, known as El Petronito, takes place in Teatro al aire libre Los Cristales, on August 9th from 4:00 P.M. This concert is for kids and features 8 different bands from local schools performing on stage and might be worth checking out as well.