One of the most-anticipated free celebrations of Hispanic culture in the country
By: Fredwill Hernandez
The fourth annual People en Español [People in Spanish] Festival, one of the most-anticipated free celebrations of Hispanic culture in the country, sponsored by Verizon, Libre by Nexus, Coca-Cola, Diageo, jetBlue, AARP, Fox Deportes, HBO Latino, St. Jude Children Research Hospital, Music Choice, nielsen, Telemundo, Today, 93.1 Amor, El Especialito, Univision, among others, kicked off Saturday, October 17th at the iconic Jacob Javits Center [North] in New York City.
“We would like to welcome you all and take this opportunity to thank you for joining us, we would also like to specially thank the City of New York, and all our wonderful sponsors for helping us make this festival a reality,” expressed Armando Correa, Editor, People en Español, during his opening remarks before La Voz Kids 2015 winner Jonael Santiago, sang the National Anthem.
“On behalf of Bill de Blasio our Mayor, myself, and the entire City of New York, I would like to present this proclamation to People en Español [Festival] and officially declaring Oct. 17th  #FestivalPeople day in New York,” expressed Cynthia López, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, before singer Jason Cerda got things at the Javits Center moving with his electrifying performance.
This year’s program [as has been the case since People en Español Fiestival’s inception in San Antonio, Texas, in 2012] featured interviews, performances and autograph signings with today’s top Hispanic celebrities, as well as expert panel discussions and family-fun activities.
Among day one panel discussions were Behind the Scenes of Reality TV: Francisca Lachapel [co- host of Univision’s Despierta America], Henry Santos [Bachata singer/composer] and Jorgé Bernal [co-host of Telemundo’s Suelta la Sopa] moderated by People en Español’s Lena Hansen; Celebrity Super Moms: Adamari López [co-host of Telemundo’s Un Nuevo Dia], Alicia Machado [actress, singer, TV host], and Lili Estefan [co-host of Univision’s El Gordo y la Flaca] also moderated by Hansen; Q & A Session with Jomari Goyso and Carlos Calderón [both co-host of Univision’s Sal y Pimienta] by People en Español’s Isis Sauceda.
After the Behinds the Scenes of Reality TV panel, The Hollywood Times caught up with Bernal to get his take on how he has dealt with making the transition from being an entertainment reporter [on Telemundo’s Al Rojo Vivo] to now having his own show, co-hosting Telemundo’s Suelta la Sopa, to serving on a panel and being interviewed.
“I don’t even think of that transition, i never think about that and I hope I never do. This is what I have lived all my life, I’ve been on the other side of this rope [as a reporter interviewing] and now on this side [being interviewed], I enjoy either side the same, you might think it’s crazy but I enjoyed being on that stage talking, I enjoy signing autographs, and before I also enjoyed being a reporter or when needed, going to the back of the truck and charging batteries, for me there has never been a distinction. I just love what I do and it’s not about how many pictures they take, or what I am doing, is exactly whether I am living my passion or not, and my passion is the television world, it’s not about being on the stage or behind the camera,” eloquently expressed Bernal who in 2012 attended the inaugural People en Español Festival in San Antonio as a reporter.
During the Celebrity Super Moms panel all panelists agreed on the importance of keeping a balance and adapting to changes as they arise, since being a mother is a continuous growing and loving process.
“As soon you as you get rid of any negative thoughts, that low negative energy will leave you, you have to keep a balance and learn to think positive and believe in yourself so your goals, inspirations and dreams will become true,” expressed Machado during the Super Mom’s Panel. “Your thought process in my opinion is very important as to what materializes in your life.”
In between the performances, presentations, and panels, sponsors kept the 5,000 plus attendees busy with raffles, gifts, give a ways, information, and free samples, as was the case with Coca-Cola, who was giving away free samples of their sodas and Disani water, and encourage attendees to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and share their Latino [last name], pride, story via #OrgulloDeSer. https://buy.shareacoke.com/celebrate-heritage
Music Choice, who has sponsored the festival since its inception, also made its presence felt. Among highlights at the festival, it hosted a panel of Latin music veterans who included Kevin “Pills” Montano, owner & creator of Latin Mixx, Porfidio Pina of Porfidio Pina Entertainment, and Manuel Alejandro known as “Boy Wonder” of Chosen Few Emerald Entertainment, who answered questions and gave attendees tips on how to make it in the Latin music business.
Another festival sponsor keeping attendees engaged was nielsen, who had a Dj spinning and were giving away gifts, among them t-shirts with the nielsen logo, and had attendees taking surveys of their trends and habits.
As to why they sponsored the festival, “nielsen does this types of events specifically to speak to the community about who we are, what we do, and encourage them to participate in the research, obviously People en Español a great reach with the Hispanic community and it offers us an opportunity to really foster authentic relationships, so people can see us out and when we do reach out to them, in whatever way we reach out to them being a letter, or them seeing nielsen online for a survey, we want them to say yes, we want them to participate, but we want them to understand what that research goes to and how important it is, and what a vital segment the Hispanic community and Hispanic consumers are to us,” eloquently expressed Courtney Jones, VP, Multicultural Growth and Strategy, Nielsen.
As the day progressed it was obvious many festival attendees were there to see beauty expert Jomari Goyso [co-host of Univision’s Sal y Pimienta] along with [his co-host] Carlos Calderón, who had a sit down talk with People en Español’s Sauceda.
“I admire my co-host Calderón and understand he is there at the show to entertain, and Carlos does that very well, he is a spontaneous master at that. We are just like everybody here, except that our role at the show is to entertain the public, and [Carlos] understands that and is not afraid to speak his mind and entertain, and that’s what I love about him, because he does that very well,” explained Goyso, who had taken decorations flowers from the stage table, jumped down from the stage, and started to give the flowers away to his fan and attendees. “Opinions vary from person to person, and thru an opinion or comment, someone might get offended, so yes’ I sometimes hold back, and watch how I express myself.”
Backstage Goyso was touched by a 7 year old fan named Stephanie Barros, [who shed tears upon hugging him] who had attended the festival with her mother Sandra in hopes she would have a chance to personally meet and take a photo with the charismatic and humble host of Sal y Pimienta.
The PeE festival’s first day came to an end with a Q & A [Questions and Answers] and interview by People en Español’s Sauceda of ex- Kumbia Kings singer Pee Wee, who has been pursuing a solo career.
“I had took some time off to think things through and return to my Mexican roots. In order to convey positive messages and vibes through your music, you have be content and at peace with yourself and your work. I felt I wasn’t enjoying the direction and place where I was at, so I needed to take a break and personally find myself and deal with those issues. This new album I’m about to release January 26  will reflect that new happy place of me. I spent six months going over songs [compositions] lyrics from different composers, and also spent two months in the studio with producer Toy Selectah and I am very happy with the album’s outcome, and I feel my fans will feel all of this too,” expressed Irvin Salinas known artistically Pee Wee, before performing a couple songs of his yet to be release El Pee Wee album.
As the day’s festivities concluded at the Javits Center, attendees had the opportunity to go check out a special premiere PeE festival screening of On Your Feet!, the Broadway musical based on the story of Emilio and Gloria Stefan. The Stefan’s were on the schedule to personally appear day two of the festival.
The festival’s first day definitely lived up its expectations and theme: “Tu Voz, Tu Poder, Tu Festival,” Spanish for “Your voice, Your Power, Your Festival.”
For more information, visit peopleenespanol.com/festival. For the latest updates about Festival PEOPLE en Espanol, join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram #festivalpeople.
About People en Espanol
PEOPLE en Espanol was launched in 1996 as a special issue, and today has become the top-selling Hispanic magazine in the United States. Published 11 times a year, PEOPLE en Espanol reaches an audience of 7 million every month with its editorial mix of Hispanic and popular entertainment, fashion and beauty trends, and compelling human-interest stories. PEOPLE en Espanol delivers original editorial content that captures the values, contributions and impact of today’s Hispanics in the U.S. The brand’s social media footprint includes 1,200,000 followers on Twitter, over 3,500,000 “Likes” on Facebook, and 450,000 followers on Instagram. For daily news, photos, exclusive behind-the-scenes video and celebrity scoops, visit www.PEOPLEenEspanol.com, follow PEOPLE en Espanol on Twitter at @PEOPLEenespanol, and on Facebook at facebook.com/PEOPLEenespanol.