Gainesville residents danced nonstop to Latin music


Gilberto de Paz and Tropix were getting the crowd ready to dance. They opened up their performance with Celia Cruz’s song Quimbara. Photo by Carmen Arce

“Do you want to go to a music event tonight?” asked my friend Christianne Custodio, “it’s free.” She asked at the perfect time because I recently made one month living in Gainesville, so what better way to celebrate my monthiversary, than going to a free music event?

Gainesville’s “Free Fridays” Concert Series and the Latino Film Festival partnered to bring the Gainesville community an unforgettable Latin night. Performances by Gilberto de Paz who is known as “el maestro de la salsa” (the master of salsa) and Tropix kept every Gainesville resident, who was present, on their toes and in a happy mood.

On September 23, the Bo Diddley Community Plaza, located in Downtown Gainesville, was lit, literally, with purple lights focused on the performers on the main stage. The event started at 8 p.m., and it was nearly impossible to find parking. Once we arrived to the locale, people were already dancing and enjoying the vibes. Genres ranged from Salsa to Bachata, and the beats of those genres had everyone swaying left to right and front to back.

Click below to watch a snippet of people dancing to the song Stand By Me.

Video by: Carmen Arce

“C’mon. Get off those chairs and start dancing!” shouted one of the performers. Little did you know, that is what people started doing. It’s as if someone yelled “free food!” and everybody hurried to get some. People were dancing in every corner, and I felt the sense of community in Gainesville.

There was an array of people present: adults, children and even college students! Who would have thought to have seen college students at this event on a Friday evening? Aren’t they usually clubbing or bar-hopping? Anyway, I would have never imagined a place to be filled with such a diverse group where everyone was so friendly with one another. Being a part of this crowd made me feel right at home; it was very heartwarming.

The event lasted two hours, and people made sure to enjoy every second of it. Before a new genre was presented, one of the performers would explain from which country the genre originated from, the way you are supposed to dance to it and then encouraged everyone to try it out.

Partaking in the dancing would’ve made that night much better, but I still have time and so do you. Come out next Friday to see for yourself what these artists have to offer. Click the link below to stay informed about the dates and times for the remaining performances. Until next time!



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