Dear Friends of the Loiza Festival in El Barrio,
Following the successful 50th anniversary of El Festival de Santiago Apostol was popularly known as The Loiza Festival, the founders have decided to retire the festival. In July 2017, not only did it mark an incredible span of 50 years of exemplary performances featuring the rich Afro Puerto Rican culture rooted in El Barrio, but it celebrated the major accomplishment of renaming 105th Street and Lexington Avenue in honor of the festival and one of its founding members Aida Perez. The festival filled with its rich traditions, music, culture, food, and history will now be remembered in perpetuity.
We are proud to acknowledge contributions made by the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI) when we were asked to partner with the founders to assist in the festival’s revitalization 7 years ago. Ours has been a collaboration in its truest form and we have mutually learned so much from one another. Since becoming co-producers, the festival has once again become a renowned annual event that has remained true to its founding principles to providing a platform for celebrating Puerto Rican culture. Since our partnership, La Fiesta de Loiza has witnessed a significant upswing having attracted over 30,000 people and has provided a platform for pioneer and emerging artists and musicians from within our communities. It has played a major role in fostering transnational/ethnic unity by displaying the musical and cultural similarities we share as of people of Caribbean, Latinx, and African descent.
This year, Los Hermanos has offered CCCADI the opportunity to produce the festival. While they have retired the festival as we know it, they are agreed that it is important to continue the tradition of hosting a festival that is truly rooted in the community of El Barrio. As a result, we will present the first annual DESCARGA EN EL BARRIO: A Caribbean Music Festival on July 27, 28 and 29, as that, will first and foremost, remain committed to presenting a taste of Puerto Rican music and culture while expanding and including the diversity of Caribbean musical traditions that are found throughout our communities.
We invite you to join us in thanking Los Hermanos Fraternos de Loiza for their long-standing commitment to the people of El Barrio and Puerto Ricans everywhere in having presented one of the oldest and most significant events known to the East Harlem community and for their confidence in turning over this event to CCCADI. With the rapid changes occurring in our neighborhoods, it is essential that we continue the legacy they have started of providing a stage for the authentic voice and truest talent from our very own communities.
Melody Capote - Executive Director