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2016 World Beat Festival to Celebrate the Culture of Cuba

SALEM, OR – Attendees at this year’s World Beat Festival, June 25-26 at Salem’s Riverfront Park, will be invited to celebrate the culture of Cuba with special music, cultural dance performances, Salsa dance lessons, food demonstrations and cultural exhibitions.

“When I visited Cuba last year, I fell in love with the people, the culture and the music. I wanted to share that experience and capture the excitement of Cuba now that tourists can travel there for the first time since 1960,” said Marisa Newnam, co-chairperson of this year’s Festival and Cultural Performer chairperson.

Melao de Cuba, a popular Cuban band from the Portland area, will headline the Festival entertainment on Saturday night. Earlier in the day, festival-goers can enjoy the sounds of Dina y Los Rumberos, a Latin band composed mostly of family members who studied at top music schools in Havana, Cuba.  On Sunday, Portland-based quartet Son de Cuba will perform music from a variety of genres such as Salsa, Timba, Son, Merengue, Cumbia, and Latin Jazz.

Other changes to this year’s Festival include extending the Festival hours until 7 p.m. on Sunday for a special closing concert by award-winning blues musician Ty Curtis, and holding the Dragon Boat races on Saturday instead of Sunday. Registration is now open for Dragon Boat teams to compete in the 250-meter and 500-meter races on the Willamette River. Spectators can watch the colorfully decorated boats as they cross the finish line at the Riverfront Park dock.

In addition to its spotlight on Cuba, the World Beat Festival will feature over 125 cultural performances and will represent 70 nations and cultures from around the world.

The breadth and quality of music and cultural performances has helped World Beat earn several honors from the Oregon Festivals and Events Association, including Best Festival, Best Cultural Event, Best Performing Art Festival and Best Music Program within a Festival.

Now in its 19th year, the World Beat Festival always takes place the last weekend in June at Riverfront Park in Salem. There is a $5 donation request at the gate, but no admission fee. The Festival is Oregon’s largest multicultural event, and the main program of the Salem Multicultural Institute, a local non-profit whose mission is to promote an appreciation and understanding of the cultural diversity in our community.

For more details, visit www.worldbeatfestival.org or call (503) 581-2004.

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