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Emilio Estefan Jr. on SA, Chris Perez, and the 'People en Espanol' Festival

Photo: Courtesy photos, License: N/A

Courtesy photos

Emilio Estefan Jr. and Miami, the city whose sound he helped define.

Photo: , License: N/A

Of course, there are objective reasons for applauding People's move on Estefan:

a. Emilio knows how to put on a damn good show. He worked on three Olympic Games, three Super Bowls, 42 White House events, and the list continues. He turned Miami Sound Machine from a band of friends playing at weddings to a mainstream money maker, at a time when anything Latin was relegated to the Latin market, all the while almost single-handedly creating a sound that was key in the "Latin boom" of the '90s.

b. This is do-or-die for People en Español. After what happened in 2012 (great things onstage, too many empty seats in front of it), the magazine could've forgotten about the whole thing. Maybe San Anto wasn't such a great idea in the first place. Instead, the publication changed gears and this year they'll be making it bigger and "better." We'll see. But so far, securing Estefan's services is another display of power and commitment to our city by the magazine.

It won't be hip and it won't be cool — but the second People en Español Festival should be good and huge — at least onstage.

What should we expect this year?
It's going to be a spectacular stage. We're bringing the light person who worked at the Olympics and the MTV Awards. And the fact that it's in San Antonio is very significant, because it was in SA that the first Spanish-language radio, TV station, and newspaper in the U.S. were born. It's going to be a very beautiful event and people will have a lot of fun.

I hope so. Last year's success took place more on stage than in the stands…
That was expected. When you organize a festival, you never know what's going to happen. I heard not too many people showed up, but I also know this year [People En Español] wants to add more things and make everything bigger. … I remember the first time we did the Calle 8 festival [in Miami] only 30,000 showed up, and now we have more than a million people. It's the biggest festival in the U.S.

Any confirmed artists yet?
The artists are being chosen by People [En Español], I only do the production. Of course, I'll have my input, but they choose the artists. The idea is to have variety and for people to enjoy. And we want to use local talent too.

Really? On stage? Last year, the local talent was only found at the free events at the Convention Center…
Yes, but they used mariachi… [Luis Miguel was backed by Mariachi Sol de México]

The Mariachi came from LA…
Look, I come to help…

Yes, but you're well aware some people will have reservations, as they did at the launch of the Latin Grammy in 2000.
I fought for 14 years in order to give birth to the Latin Grammy, and now you see the benefits in all of our countries. We need to criticize less, especially when the criticism is targeted to people who work. Those who criticize are always people who don't do anything. I'm not going to apologize for my work. I work to lift my race and my music. Those who like it, like it. Those who don't, don't, and I don't care. All I can tell you is that [the People En Español Festival] will continue growing and it will be seen by a lot of people, not only from San Antonio. You'll see.

Complete Emilio Estefan Q & A

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