International art, jazz & food – a whirlwind world tour in downtown Gainesville
The Santa Fe College Spring Arts Festival transforms downtown Gainesville’s historic NE 1st Street and the Thomas Center lawn into a crossroads of the world April 6 and 7. “The festival has always been international, and we’ve had artists from as far away as Egypt,” said Kathryn Lehman, festival coordinator.
This year’s concert, an evening of Latin fusion music, is free to festival-goers on the Thomas Center lawn 5:30-8:30 p.m. Saturday, April 6.
Concert headliner is the Latin fusion band Tropix, whose members come from Puerto Rico via Gainesville. Their repertoire includes merengue, salsa, cumbia, bachata, bolero and cha-cha. They feature favorites by artists like El Gran Combo, Marc Anthony, Buena Vista Social Club, Olga Tañon, Prince Royce and more.
Tropix band leader Gilberto de Paz is host of the weekly radio show Viernes Social, heard Friday evenings 8-10 p.m. on WUFT.FM 89.1. It showcases Latin jazz and discussions of the artists. “Janny Rodriguez, my co-host on Viernes Social, and I will be offering information and commentary in between musical acts the day of the festival,” said de Paz.
Another Latin band, Ramos Pinta, will also play at the concert. Their repertoire is a mixture of traditional Latin with some rock influence, according to de Paz.
Jazz performances earlier on Saturday include the SF Jazz Big Band, Jazz Combo, Rhythm & Blues Band, and Faculty Jazz Octet entertaining on the festival’s Garden Stage. The SF Rhythm & Blues Band is planning a trip to play in the world famous Montreux Jazz Festival, Switzerland, as part of Santa Fe College’s ongoing international initiative.
The Gainesville Community Jazz Band also performs, as well as Jacare Brazil playing folk and popular music from Brazil.
Besides American folk and contemporary entertainment of all sorts, there are plenty of international performances at SF Spring Arts including Middle Eastern, flamenco, Turkish and Greek dancing; African and Afro-Caribbean drumming; and traditional Irish tunes as well as Jewish folk and gypsy music.
The festival runs 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturday, April 6 and noon-5:30 p.m. Sunday, April 7 rain or shine. Admission is free. For more information email email@example.com, call 352.395.5355 (office) or 352.214.8178 (cell). See updates at springartsfestival.com.