You heard it here first, Soulfrito, the original Urban Latin Music Festival is coming to London and Marbella in 2019 among other top European destinations. Having just sold out the prestigious Barclay Centre in New York with over 11,000 guests in attendance and performances from Bad Bunny, Jaden Smith, Hood Celebrity, A Boogie, PNB Rock, Bryant Myers, Miky Woodz and De La Ghetto. We were fortunate enough to catch up with Melissa Giles, Founder at Soulfrito, to get the lowdown on the Urban Latin Festival that’s been entertaining US audiences for over 15 years across the pond, and will no doubt be getting us all fired up here next year.
Can you tell our readers more about Soulfrito?
Soulfrito is the nation’s only annual Urban Latin Music Festival that brings together and showcases popular, new and emerging artists from each genre of Urban and Latin music. The festival attracts second and third generation Latinos that are predominantly bi-lingual, US Hispanics but it’s also a festival for anyone and everyone.
When was Soulfrito established?
Soulfrito was originally established in 2002 in Miami, Florida.
What was your first ever event like compared to today?
When we started the festival in Miami it was very much a grass roots event and heavily promoted via guerrilla marketing and terrestrial radio, you didn’t have social media or music streaming services that you have today that are helping a new wave of emerging independent artists develop fan bases much more quickly than ever before. As the promoter and producer of the show when it originally started it was really keeping an ear to what was pulsing in the street, nightclubs and DJs. Those channels of discovery are still as equally important today, but what is different now is that technology has provided multiple platforms for discovery which widen the talent pool for new emerging talent at the festival. The format of the festival has remained the same, which has always been about catering to the diverse musical interests of young Latinos in the US and abroad who don’t primarily only listen to Latin music, whether that be Hip Hop, Trap/Latin Trap, R&B, EDM, Reggae, Reggaeton, Dancehall or other forms of genres that appeal to the youth culture.
What made you come up with the idea for an Urban Latin Music Festival?
I was 18 at the time and growing up in Miami, we listened to Latin music naturally because of our roots or because what you may have listened to at home during a family gathering, but growing up in America like any other youth, Hip Hop & R&B music were always dominant part of our culture regardless of your background. There wasn’t a platform at the time that combined genres and catered to the US Latino’s youth musical tastes. There were Latin festivals, there were hip hop concerts but there wasn’t a platform at the time that combined the two or meshed multiple music genres in a way that was authentic and relevant to Latino youth culture.
Latin Music has always been associated with ‘bringing the party’ – being up tempo, sexy and fun – is this why you have endured your continued success?
Music is universal and the festival speaks to our audience in a way that is relevant and authentic, touching on their diverse cultural nuances and tastes in music. The festival originated in Miami which is synonymous with Latin culture and has a sexy and fun appeal that draws tourists to the city. Similarly, I believe the festival has a unique universal appeal that draws in cultural enthusiasts who are not just Latino.
Now you’re fully established in the US (selling out the Barclay Centre for two years in a row now – a great accolade), we hear you are bringing the festival to Europe, namely London and Marbella, is this true?
Yes, we are expanding the festival to select markets worldwide where we believe there is an interest for this style of show.
How will the festival differ in Europe?
With live shows in any market you have to know your audience and look at way to curate a show that is going to be culturally relevant to that local market. Not all markets are alike.
We hear Soulfrito has been a driving force in helping to establish new acts, can you name a few?
Soulfrito has been a platform for many artists at the very early stages of their career before they went on to achieve mainstream success. Some of those artists have included Pitbull, Wisin Y Yandel, Romeo Santos (Aventura), Cardi B and Bad Bunny to name a few.
Can you name other past performers?
Past performers have included Nas, Don Omar, 50 Cent, Busta Rhymes, Juicy J, French Montana, Fat Joe, A Boogie wit da Hoodie Jaden Smith, PNB Rock, Uncle Murda, Fetty Wap, Farruko, De la Ghetto, Jon Z, La Insuperable, Miky Woodz, Amara La Negra, Fat Boy SSE, Hood Celebrityy, Lou got Cash, Zion Y Lennox, Cosculluela, Young M.A, Bryant Myers, Mozart La Para, Yunel, Almighty, El Alfa, Anonimus, MoMo, DJ Lobo, DJ Camilo and DJ Enuff, City High, Gangstarr, Victor Manuelle, La India, Hector “El Torito” Acosta, Angie Martinez, Lala Anthony, Fatman Scoop, Adrienne Bailon, Julissa Bermudez, Tony Touch, Nina Sky, Frankie J, Kat Deluna, Oro Solido, Tulile, Fulanito, Huey Dunbar, Joel Ortiz, Don Chezina and several others.
If the European expansion plans go well, do you have plans for more destinations, if so where?
If there’s an audience in a market we believe has in interest in what Soulfrito represents our plan is to expand to such markets.
What’s your ultimate goal for the Soulfrito brand?
Soulfrito is a lifestyle brand, ultimately it’s how we can diversify the brand and business into other areas including digital media, content other ancillary businesses where consumers can connect with the brand.
For more information on Soulfrito and when it is coming to a location near you visit: