The festival is the most important annual event in Cali‘s entertainment calendar, and attracts huge crowds of Colombians and tourists from around the world.
As a celebration of the region’s cultural identity, it is characterized by parades, horseback riding, bullfights, orchestras and, of course, salsa.
In its fourth year as the festival’s opening event, this year’s Salsodromo promises to be a spectacular event, taking the form of a magnificent street parade of dance troops performing steps including mambo, cha cha, guaracha, pachanga and boogaloo to the music of several live salsa orchestras.
Floats carrying hundreds of musicians, drummers and conga players — including the ‘Lion of Salsa,’ Venezualan musician Oscar de Leon — will accompany the dancers. A particular highlight will be Havana’s most famous carnival conga musicians, Guaracheros de Regla.
Though the event is traditionally free, of the 18,000 grandstand seats that will line the Salsodromo’s street parade, 10,000 will be put on sale “to meet the demand of tourists, and those with the ability to pay” — providing a vital source of funding, according to event organizer Leobardo Amu.