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Culture Vultures Flock to Puebla

Julieta Venegas performed at the 10th Annual Int'l Festival of Puebla in 2008.Where can you see 170 live performances over ten consecutive days at some 20 participating venues citywide (plus a few more farther afield)? At the International Festival of Puebla, which has rapidly grown into one of the largest, most celebrated events in central Mexico. Designed to promote cultural awareness and appreciation, the festival — previously held in November — begins its 12th annual run today and continues through May 30. More than 300,000 residents and tourists are expected to attend.

The festival brings together artists from all disciplines and corners of the globe to share their talents and, of course, entertain the masses. It offers something for everyone, from children’s storytellers and folkloric ballet to rock concerts and film screenings.

This year’s lineup includes superstars like Grammy-winning American jazz pianist Chick Corea, renowned Spanish flamenco singer Diego “El Cigala,” esteemed Mexican poet José Emilio Pacheco, popular Columbian rockers Aterciopelados, and the French-Canadian circus troupe Les Parfaits Inconnus. Of course, scores of lesser-known acts will perform, too.

“The festival allows poblanos and visitors renew their spirits, enjoy the talents of participating local artists, and admire the artistic sensibilities of creators from other latitudes—all of which enrich the cultural mosaic of Puebla,” Alejandro Montiel Bonilla, the state’s secretary of culture, says on the official website.

The complete roster (available in Spanish only) features local, regional, national, and international artists; listings may be searched by date, type of event, or location. Many of the happenings are free; it’s unclear whether tickets to select events will be sold this year. The major stages are in the zócalo and at the BUAP’s Complejo Cultural, on Vía Atlixcáyotl in San Andrés Cholula.

What’s On in the Zócalo

May 22: Mono Blanco, son jarocho, 6:45pm
May 22: Los Folkloristas, folklore, 8pm
May 23: 5th Element, jazz, 6pm
May 23: Chick Corea, Eddie Gómez, and Antonio Sánchez, jazz, 8pm
May 24: Chucho Valdés, jazz, 8pm
May 25: Cabezas de Cera, progressive rock, 6:30pm
May 25: Stick Men, experimental music, 8pm
May 26: Héctor Talavera and Company, flamenco, 7pm
May 26: Diego “El Cigala,” flamenco, 8pm
May 28: Zapatitos de Gamuza, son cubano, 7pm
May 28: Azúcar Negra, Afro-Cuban music, 8pm
May 30: Mon Dongó, Latin fusion, 6pm
May 30: Sonora Balkanera, Balkan beat, 7pm
May 30: Radaid, world music, 8pm

(Photograph of Chick Corea on home page by Daniele Marcucci/Wikicommons.)

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