Everyone loves food festivals! Across the globe, major cities and small towns alike, plan these community gatherings to showcase regional ingredients and the talents of local chefs. Residents look forward to these annual events and tourists often arrange travel plans around the festivities. But a good festival, one that people will return to year after year requires more than just good food. Location and atmosphere play an important role in creating an environment where guests are excited yet comfortable enough to stick around for awhile and enjoy the experience.
When we first initiated the planning process for Taste of Playa, our vision of this event was much smaller, limited to a handful of restaurants serving up their signature dishes on the grounds of a local boutique hotel to a group of invited guests. Over the past three months, the project has expanded and morphed into a full blown community celebration, open to all the residents and tourists in Playa del Carmen.
Obviously, with this change brought a host of new logistical issues from finding a suitable and sizable space, to getting permits, to accessing water and electricity. We identified and secured our location, the newly renovated Parque Fundadores and then set our minds to creating the proper atmosphere. We considered live music. The existing bandstand was the perfect venue to set up bands and rotate them throughout the day. Three months turned out NOT to be enough time to orchestrate the coordination and equipment needed for this endeavor. As we were intent on insuring a successful day for our restaurants and sponsors, we put live music on the backburner, an element to reconsider next year with more time and more help.
Just when we were giving up hope, a message came through to us from one of our committee members. A local DJ, Leo Nardo (aka DJ SOMOS) had expressed an interest in providing music during Taste of Playa. At first, a few of the us older hens were a bit sceptical. A DJ? What kind of music would he play? Would it be appropriate to the event? Would it be something that that accented the tasting experience or a distraction? Who is this DJ SOMOS? Well, it didn’t take much convincing once we heard the range of his skills and musical influences.
DJ SOMOS is a World Music DJ of Puerto Rican decent, raised in Chicago and now a resident of Playa del Carmen. He is part of a musical coalition called “Taste da Flavour”, a collective of DJ styles specializing in various downtempo, lounge, dance and party musical formats derived from an eclectic mix of musical genres, fusions and themes. “Taste da Flavour” is represented by Cultura Culture whose goal is to create, produce, market and excecute cross-promotional cultural experiences via art, music, dance and lifestyle events and productions.
This year, on September 5th 2009, DJ SOMOS will contribute his World Music experience within the cross-cultural celebration that is Taste of Playa! Just as the food will vary in flavour and ingredients, representing many countries and cultures, so too will the music. From the traditional to modern day fusions of African, Argentinean, Balkan, Brazilian, Caribbean, Indian, Latino and Mediterranean beats, the music will take us on a journey as we taste our way across the globe on the shores of the Mexican Caribbean.
I hope you will all join us on September 5th at Parque Fundadores for a wonderful day of good food and good music. For more information about Leo and DJ SOMOS, including some sample tracks, please visit www.wearesomos.com. For more about Taste of Playa including ticketing information, visit www.tasteofplaya.com.