Siempre Mujer Music Festival and Carifest celebrate diversity of Charleston area
The growing diversity of the Charleston community was on full display with two very different festivals on Daniel Island and in downtown.
At the Family Circle Magazine Stadium, the inaugural Siempre Mujer Music Festival drew thousands of Hispanics from the area and state.
And downtown, the finale of the seventh Charleston Carifest wrapped up three days of Caribbean festivities with a carnival street parade from the Charleston Museum to Brittlebank Park and festival in the park.
“The beauty of any state in the United States is that we are a blend of folks,” said Linda Brown, the parade’s grand marshal and a native of Aruba.
“When the cultures come out, it makes us a richer and more tolerant people. When we are able to exhibit our cultures, it only enriches the community and demonstrates us that we are a people who get along together — no matter who we are.”
This year’s Carifest, which usually honors one country in the Caribbean, singled out Jamaica, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary of independence from Britain.
Out on Daniel Island, Spanish was the language of choice on Saturday as thousands of Hispanics came to Family Circle Stadium for a festival during the day and a concert at night, which featured Grammy Award-winning artists Los Tigres del Norte, Gilberto Santa Rosa and Chino y Nacho.
During the day, a steady stream of people enjoyed Zumba classes, fashion shows, business seminars, soccer drills and free samples.
It was the first such festival for Siempre Mujer, the largest Spanish-language magazine for women in the United States.
And while Siempre Mujer is part of Meredith National Media Group, which publishes Family Circle magazine, Meredith’s Hispanic Ventures Publisher Enedina Vega said it was attracted to the fact that South Carolina had the fastest Hispanic growth rate in the 2010 census — a 148 percent increase over 2000 numbers.
Instead of holding it in states with heavy Hispanic populations — New York, California, Texas and Florida — she was interested in having it in a growing area.
“I thought what a wonderful opportunity to be progressive and recognize that Latinos are everywhere and that it is a growing population and go where the population is growing the fastest,” said Vega.
The idea for it, she added, came when Family Circle Cup Director Bob Moran pitched the idea of a Hispanic music concert to her during a Meredith company cocktail party at Christmastime in 2010.
And while the Charleston area has other Hispanic festivals and gatherings, there is a chance Siempre Mujer might return next year.
“We’ve talked about it being an annual event to see it grow and draw people from a bigger area. As people hear about it, it will grow.”