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“Sesiones Desde la Loma; El Evento” turned out to be an enjoyable all-day musical experience! I congratulate Norberto Velez and Gabriel Ramos for turning what started as a YouTube experiment (“Sesiones“) into a full-blow event (“El Evento“) with thousands of attendees.
To pull this off, they had to overcome a lot of challenges. But Norberto and Gabriel approached it by pouring their hearts into it so that it would result in a great experience for the attendees. Their care, dedication, and love for what they do are clearly genuine.
Although the event’s execution wasn’t perfect and has a few areas for improvement, we walked out very pleased with this first event of “Sesiones, El Evento“. I also want to share a great story on how the producer, Gabriel Ramos, personally made sure people were having a good time. I’ll share that story at the end.
“El Evento” Challenges
In order for Norberto and Gabriel to succeed in this transition from “Sesiones” to “El Evento“, they had to overcome significant challenges regarding the preparation and logistics of the event. Knowing that organizing events of this magnitude is neither’s area of expertise, it must have taken a lot of planning and long hours of hard work, to pull this off.
La Loma del Temeguindo: The actual “loma” where the YouTube episodes are recorded is small and can’t accommodate more than a handful of people. But the land right next to it can. However, it is bare land that needed to have the tall grass cut down and treated for ant colonies. What they could not control was the rain that fell in the days leading to the event. But it all turned out ok.
Parking: there isn’t space in the “loma” to park cars for the thousands of people expected. So they used a piece of land about 5 minutes away and hired a fleet of buses to move the people back and forth, which worked pretty well.
Services: people weren’t allowed to bring food, drinks, or coolers. So they provided these services at the site in addition to porta-potty restrooms. The services worked ok, but once the crowd filled the site, some services struggled to keep up with the high demand. More on that at the end.
La Casita: the actual “casita” at the top of the “loma” where the episodes are recorded was accessible with limited capacity. They controlled the access to keep the small space from overcrowding. The line to get up there was long, so my wife and I decided to wait to see if it would go down, but it never did. So we missed our photo op at Norberto’s “casita en la loma“.
Music of “El Evento“
The music is always the main dish in “Sesiones“, and “El Evento” was no exception. Now, let’s reset expectations here. This is not “El Día Nacional de la Zalsa“, nor it pretends to be (for now).
This is about taking the “Sesiones” concept to a larger “live” crowd. Normally, we enjoy “Sesiones” in our living rooms or patio terrace, watching Norberto sit down with his guest to sing and talk a little.
Here we brought our lawn chairs and umbrellas (for the afternoon sun or, as it turned out, the occasional rain shower) and sat down to enjoy the music. The music was great and the atmosphere couldn’t have been better in Norberto’s “lugar mágico” (magical place) in Hatillo, Puerto Rico.
Orquesta Sin Nombre opened the show a little past 2 pm. This band is led by the talented pianist, arranger, and singer Carlos Garcia who is a regular of Norberto’s “Sesiones” band. They were followed by percussionist Daniel Diaz “El Tripandero“ who performed only with Colombian singer/guitarist Alexander Lopez. Moncho Rivera (Episodes 24 and 25) and his band then took the stage as the afternoon turned into evening.
As the evening took hold, Norberto appeared on stage to re-create the “Sesiones” format with his band. The giant jumbo screen behind the stage showed an animated “casita” to make the stage resemble the place where Norberto normally records his shows.
Norberto Velez sang several songs with his band, sharing some of the singing with some members of his band, as he’s done in a few episodes.
Luisito Carrión (Episode 15) was Norberto’s first guest in this expanded “Sesiones” format. Even though they had their usual chairs to sing sitting down as they do in the episodes, Norberto and the guests mostly sang standing up as the energy at the “expanded loma” just wouldn’t let them remain seated.
Domingo Quiñones (Episode 11) was the first unannounced guest of the night, joining Luisito Carrión and Norberto for “Yaré“.
That gave way to the second unannounced guest; Maelo Ruiz (Episode 21; celebrating the 2nd anniversary of Sesiones). Maelo sang a few songs of his repertoire before giving way to the last guest; Tito Nieves.
Tito Nieves (Episode 19), who was received with a strong applause, helped Norberto take the delightful event to a close.
During the expanded “Sesiones” with Luisito, Domingo, Maelo, and Tito, Norberto kept the talking to a minimum to delight the audience mostly with music.
We Enjoyed “El Evento“
My wife Ivonne Bruno, my brother-in-law S. Javier Muñoz, and I left very satisfied with this first version of “Sesiones Desde la Loma; El Evento“.
As we had expected, the audience was mostly mature (although there were people of all ages in attendance) and behaved very well and in camaraderie during the event. I believe this is the ambiance created by these “Sesiones” in this magical place. By the way, there were people that traveled to Puerto Rico from the states and from other countries to come to “El Evento”. We met a couple from Florida, and there were people from Panama, Ecuador, Colombia, and Mexico at the event.
I’m looking forward to the next “Sesiones Desde la Loma, El Evento“. In the meantime, I can’t wait for new episodes of “Sesiones” on YouTube.
I wish Norberto and Gabriel the best with this new entertainment format, and the following he’s created.
Gabriel Ramos and the Lost Cell Phone
As the three of us left the bus that took us from the parking to the “loma” and approached the site entrance, my brother-in-law, Javier, realized he left his cell phone on the seat of the bus. By the time he went back to where the bus had dropped us off, the bus was gone.
We informed the issue to an employee at the entrance, and she immediately called the parking site to report the lost cell phone. In the meantime, we decide that my wife and I would enter the site to get a good spot for the event.
While Javier waited outside for news of his cell phone, Gabriel Ramos noticed his concern and approached him. Gabriel asked Javier if there was a problem, and Javier told him about his lost cell phone. Gabriel immediately called the parking site and was able to talk to the bus people, who located the phone. From there, it was just a matter of waiting for the bus to get back to the site to deliver the phone.
This gesture by Gabriel demonstrates the organizers’ genuine desire to make this an enjoyable event for everyone.
The desire of Norberto and Gabriel to make this an enjoyable one for those of us that made it there permeated the environment of the whole event. They succeeded in making it an enjoyable day!
Thanks, Norberto and Gabriel! We’ll see you at the next one!