An inaugural festival, the first annual LA En Vivo Block Party at L.A. Live will take place Memorial Day weekend, and features a diverse collection of Latin music.
For 2012, singing superstars Juanes, Don Omar and Julion Alvarez y Su Banda Norteña will headline the first-ever three-day event, which includes many activities and other free music performances by local acts.
“We have been bringing A-list artists, and we did so again this year,” says Leon.
Of course, Latin music is scheduled to reign supreme during the festival, but TV, sports, food and overall entertainment will also be a part of the celebration. Each day (Saturday through Monday), the Nokia Plaza at L.A. Live will host a variety of exciting free activities from 3-7 p.m. The public can enjoy live musical performances from the likes of mariachi Trio Ellas, Los Canarios de Michocan, Frankie J, Fernanda Ulibarri, Gustavo Galindo and La Santa Cecilia, among others.
In addition, boxing exhibition matches and a variety of meet-and-greets with athletes from Golden Boy Boxing and members of the L.A. Galaxy team are open to fans as well.
“The idea is that [people] don’t just come for the [main] shows,” Leon says of the additional activities. “We want them to experience everything…this is a food, sports, cultural, media and music experience.”
Some of the other on-site attractions include salsa, bachata, ballet folklorico, zumba, crunk and tango lessons with acclaimed local professional instructors and dancers.
In terms of musical shows, the first day features a grand performance by Julion Alvarez y Su Banda Norteña at the Nokia Theatre, which will feature regional Mexican melodies. Currently, Alvarez is the hottest in his genre. That night, Que Buena Radio’s after party with special guest El Coyote at Club Nokia figures to close out an eventful day with much energy.
“We tend to do a show with Que Buena this weekend, and El Coyote is one of the best,” Leon says.
Latin R&B singer Frankie J performs Sunday as part of the festival’s look at urban contemporary music, which also includes internationally famous reggaeton artist Don Omar, who will perform at 8 p.m. at the Nokia Theatre.
On Monday, more of the same fresh, unique – and free – activities will continue. Fernanda Ulibarri opens the day with a musical performance. She has been involved with music since she was a kid, and her pop repertoire includes an alternative twist.
“I am very excited,” Ulibarri says of her invitation to perform at L.A. En Vivo this year. “[The crowd can expect] an energetic and inspirational performance.”
Ulibarri’s performance is followed by a must-see set by La Santa Cecilia and an invite-only Super Estrella Radio presentation of “Juanes Unplugged” at Club Nokia.
La Santa Cecilia, comprised of Los Angeles natives, has a soulful lead vocalist in Marisol Hernandez, who can simply empower any listener. One of the group’s leaders, Gloria Estrada, acknowledges that they represent L.A. because of their strong influences and diversities in music.
“We are excited to be playing in L.A.; we always like performing at home,” Estrada says of their scheduled set on Monday. “The crowd can expect new tunes from our latest release El Valor, which contains four covers and one original.”
Leon hopes the festival will be well attended with support from local Angelenos.
“It is important that we all get behind this as a community,” adds Leon, who calls the festival “spectacular.”
For its first year, the L.A. En Vivo Block Party at L.A. Live offers an impressive calendar of events –just imagine what 2013 might bring.