As the scents of mojo and sofrito float through the air and percussions echo over Clearwater Bay, no doubt concertgoers will be dancing to a "threefer."
Concierto Herencia Hispana 2016, Clearwater's annual Hispanic Heritage Concert, will take place Sunday in Coachman Park. The lineup includes three headliners — reggaeton artists J Balvin of Colombia (Best Urban Song at the 2015 Latin Grammy Awards) and Wisin of Puerto Rico (part of the duo Wisin and Yandel), and Gilberto Santa Rosa (nicknamed Puerto Rico's Gentleman of Salsa).
The concert, a partnership between the city and 92.5 Maxima FM, is in its 11th year. It has consistently drawn well-known performers, and this year is no exception, according to Nio Encendio, a disc jockey for the radio station and coordinator for the event. "We are calling the headliners 'the Big Three.' They are equally as important as the other,'' he said.
Almost every year since its inception, the concert has been held in front of a sellout crowd often reaching more than 13,000. Although typically the sellout has come at the gate, last year, it sold out days in advance. Part of the success was due to the Havana-based band Gente De Zona, said Encendio.
"Last year, it was such an emotional button for Cubans, Castro and the U.S. trying to normalize relations, that it seemed to prompt people to say 'hey, we are coming out to support our guys,' " he said. "But I do think (the concert's ticket sales) is seeing a continued gain in momentum.''
Kris Koch, head of special events for the city of Clearwater, agreed. He describes the event as "the most festive concert we do,'' he said. "You see people flying flags from their country of origin, and the food is from all different Latin American countries. It's great to see people dancing all over. It is a wonderful cultural showcase.''
Koch pointed out that the one-day show is expected to bring more people into Coachman Park than even the biggest day of the Clearwater Jazz Holiday (Oct. 13-16). "I want to encourage people to get their tickets ahead because when they are gone, they are gone.''
Contact Piper Castillo at [email protected] Follow @Florida_PBJC.