Tuesday, June 18, 2024

What’s coming to the 51st Cervantino Festival in Guanajuato

This year’s International Cervantino Festival (FIC) in Guanajuato promises an unexpected twist for a performing arts festival: the inclusion of sports. Baseball, flag football and boxing can be enjoyed in addition to the festival’s world-renowned program of arts and culture celebrations.

The reason? The United States is this year’s invited country of honor.

United States Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar attended the inaugural conference for the 51st International Cervantino Festival, where the U.S. is this year’s invited country of honor. (Mario Jasso/Cuartoscuro)

The 51st “Cervantino” will take over the city of Guanajuato from Oct. 13 to 29. Though a small part of the festival will include athletic clinics and demonstrations, the festival’s marquee offerings will still be the music, dance and theater performances that have put Latin America’s largest cultural festival on the map.

Mariana Aymerich Ordóñez, Mexico’s new general director of Promotion and Cultural Festivals, explained that as the country of honor – following South Korea last year and Cuba in 2021 – the U.S. wanted to provide a sample of activities that are a fundamental part of the American experience.

According to Aymerich, the initial plan was to have a baseball tournament with teams from the U.S., Sonora and Guanajuato, two Mexican states where baseball is big. Sonora is this year’s  Mexican state of honor. 

Though things didn’t work out in that regard, “a series of [sports] clinics were organized, as well as [two flag football] workshops at the José Aguilar y Maya baseball stadium,” Aymerich said.

One of the sports offerings at this year’s FIC is a two-day clinic for youth basketball players, organized by the Mexico City minor league NBA team Capitanes. (capitanes.mx)

The 69-year-old ballpark happens to provide one of the most picturesque stadium views in all of Mexico, but this story can’t dwell on sports forever.

The real stars of the show at this year’s Cervantino are the international roster of artists that will descend on Guanajuato for 17 days, filling the city’s theaters, concert halls and public squares.

More than 2,800 artists from Colombia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, India and 29 other countries will participate.

The opening night show, “Broadway Goes to Hollywood,” is already sold out, as is the closing show with jazz musician Arturo O’Farrill, the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra and the Son Jarocho Conga Patria Collective, all of whom combined to create the 2023 Grammy-winning Latin jazz album “Fandango at the Wall in New York.”

Guanajuato’s Juárez Theater is the emblematic venue of the Cervantino. (Wikimedia Commons)

Other sold-out shows include a concert by La Santa Cecilia paying tribute to the iconic Mexican singer José Alfredo Jiménez, who died 50 years ago, and concerts by Mexican-American opera singer Arturo Chacón, Sonoran reggae-indie singer Caloncho, the band Orquesta Aragón from Cuba and the Venice Baroque Orchestra from Italy.

Several high-caliber folkloric ballet shows are also sold out.

Tickets remain available for many performances, including a concert by the 18-piece U.S. Army Blues band on Oct. 16 in the gorgeous, 120-year-old Juárez Theater.

In a push to provide more options for young people, an open-air stage in Pasitos park will be set up for aerial shows, street theater from France and a diverse lineup of music genres: hip-hop, pop, rock and the music of Indigenous peoples.

The U.S. Army Blues will play at the Juárez Theater on Monday, Oct. 16 at 9 p.m. (festivalcervantino.gob.mx)

Tickets can now be purchased at convenience stores around the country, as well as online.

For details, visit festivalcervantino.gob.mx (click on “English” as needed) or download the Cervantino app.

With reports from Periódico Correo, Milenio and FIC Press

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