Festival Memories

Impressions of El Sueño Existe 2015 Latin American Festival in Machynlleth

By Keith Doyle

We pitched our tent, then meandered past the sports centre, Spanish voices drifting along on the breeze. Food stalls? We’d check ’em out later; we had to go listen to marquee music. On stage, an awesome salsa group; my legs twitched. I asked what the band was called. “Quijada,” Tim said. They were the real deal, but where were they from? “Cornwall,” he said. Next day, a good turnout for the workshop on Nicaragua – twenty-five years later, people still cared; and with the canal, we’d hear more about the place. Los Músicos headlined that night, with Hank Marvinesque psychedelic cumbia, so next morning we went to their syncopating percussion workshop – and were told the dark history of stomping dance shuffles, rooted in slavery. At another workshop, Jane and Fran shared their love of Latin dance, moving us through one style, and then another – it was the feel that mattered. Performances, workshops, theatre, talks, authentic food. Mesmerising Incan dancers closed the festival, flamboyance invoking indigenous spirits. The dream lives on at the festival for, with and by Latin Americans; set in the mountains – and rain – of North Wales; immersing ourselves in culture and in politics.

Long live the spirit of Victor Jara!