Fiesta Broadway

Fiesta Broadway is an annual event held in downtown Los Angeles to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, Mexican culture and Latin American culture in general. Modeled on Miami's Calle Ocho Festival and harking back to the early 20th-century Fiesta de Los Angeles, it features vendors and musical acts.[1][2] At its peak, Fiesta Broadway stretched for 36 blocks centered on a long stretch of Broadway and attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors. More recently it has been confined to a few blocks around 1st Street and Broadway and has seen attendance shrink to as little as 7,000.[3][4] Although the holiday of Cinco de Mayo falls on May 5, which is the meaning of its Spanish name, Fiesta Broadway is always held on the last Sunday in April, since 1995.

Fiesta Broadway
Location(s)Downtown Los Angeles
Coordinates34°03′13″N 118°14′44″W / 34.05361°N 118.24556°W / 34.05361; -118.24556Coordinates: 34°03′13″N 118°14′44″W / 34.05361°N 118.24556°W / 34.05361; -118.24556
CountryUnited States
Years active29
Established1990 (1990)
Previous event04-28-2019
Next event06-14-2020


1990: The first L.A. Fiesta Broadway drew a crowd that was estimated at 500,000. This was the first large-scale attempt to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in Los Angeles. A partnership of city officials, KMEX-TV and downtown merchants paid for the $1 million festival, which was taped and telecast over the Spanish-language Univision Network.[1]

1991: The second L.A. Fiesta Broadway cost $2 million and stretched over 36 blocks from Temple Street to Olympic Boulevard, along Hill Street, Broadway and Spring Street. The first year's festival had occupied only 12 blocks on Broadway.The array of performers included the Latin American sensation Xuxa, Lucha Villa, La Prieta Linda and jazz greats Tito Puente and Poncho Sanchez. Other entertainers representing 15 Latin American countries included Fandango, José José and Johnny Canales.[5][6]

1992: An estimated 600,000 people turned out, attracted in part by a variety of musical acts on nine stages, including Menudo and Selena. Many corporations also sponsored booths at the event.[7][8]

1994: The fifth L.A. Fiesta Broadway was shut down early by police after a rock and bottle throwing melee broke out. The immediate cause of the disturbance was the closure of the KPWR-FM (Power 106) stage due to overcrowding. The crowd was estimated at between 200,000 and 500,000. Only 10 people were arrested.[9]

1995: Tightened security was brought in to prevent a recurrence of the previous year's violence. The headlining performer was Cuban salsa star Celia Cruz, who was joined by artists as varied as Thalia, La Mafia, Pedro Fernandez, Marc Anthony, and Rey Ruiz. There were complaints that Univision's annual taping of the festival for broadcast led to the use of lip syncing.[10]

1996: Corporate sponsorship began to dominate what was now known as AT&T Fiesta Broadway. 105 companies participated, as opposed to 50 the previous year, paying $10,000 for a booth or $200,000 for a stage. Attendance declined, reaching only between 150,000 and 170,000.[11][12]

2003: NBC4 (Los Angeles) aired a one-hour television special "Fiesta Broadway: Music for the Soul" directed at a mainstream audience. This was also McDonald's fourth year as title sponsor of the fiesta.[13]

2010: The 21st Fiesta Broadway adopted a smaller street plan to reduce traffic, closing only 19 blocks.[14]

2013: Fiesta Broadway contracted further to a cluster of streets around City Hall. Organisers expected attendance of around 100,000.[15]

2015: While organisers continued to bill Fiesta Broadway as the largest Cinco de Mayo festival in the world, attendance dwindled to 7,000 according to police estimates. The festival's decline has been attributed to the gentrification of the neighborhood.[3][4]

2020: Fiesta Broadway will mark its 31st straight year. It's rescheduled for 14 June from 26 April due to the COVID-19 outbreak.


  1. ^ a b Wride, Nancy and Legon, Jeordan (April 30, 1990). L.A. Fiesta Broadway Draws 500,000 People: Cinco de Mayo: Kickoff of week of events was the largest cultural block party downtown since 1986. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 22, 2016.
  2. ^ Cecilia Rasmussen (April 27, 2003). "Downtown's Fiesta Began as a Multicultural Celebration". Los Angeles Times.
  3. ^ a b Khan, Amina (April, 26, 2015). Fiesta Broadway draws crowd to downtown Los Angeles. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 22, 2016.
  4. ^ a b Jamison, Peter (April 24, 2016). With thinner crowds in a smaller space, Fiesta Broadway feels deeply diminished. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 22, 2016.
  5. ^ Kleid, Beth (April 18, 1991). 2nd L.A. Fiesta Promises 36 Blocks of Culture, Fun. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 22, 2016.
  6. ^ Snyder, Russell (April 28, 1991). Revelers jam downtown for 'L.A. Fiesta.' UPI Archives. Retrieved August 22, 2016.
  7. ^ Canalis, John (April 26, 1992). L.A. hosts nation's biggest Cinco de Mayo party. UPI Archives. Retrieved August 22, 2016.
  8. ^ Fiesta Broadway 2007. Retrieved August 22, 2016.
  9. ^ Reich, Kenneth and Boyer, Edward J. (May 2, 1994). Melees Bring Early Closure of Fiesta Broadway. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 23, 2016.
  10. ^ Cobo-Hanlon, Leila (April 29, 1995). Getting Ready for Dancing in the Streets: Musical Variety--and Tighter Security--Are on Tap for Sixth Annual Fiesta Broadway. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 23, 2016.
  11. ^ Brooks, Nancy Rivera (April 27, 1996). Corporations Now Party to Fiesta Broadway. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 23, 2016.
  12. ^ Kennedy, J. Michael and Krikorian, Greg (April 29, 1996). Fiesta Proves a Tougher Sell With Crowds. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 23, 2016.
  13. ^ Music and Culture of Fiesta Broadway Focus of NBC4 Special Airing Saturday, May 3 From 7-8 p.m.. Business Wire. April 16, 2003. Retrieved August 23, 2016.
  14. ^ Vives, Ruben (April 24, 2010). Fiesta Broadway returns Sunday. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 23, 2016.
  15. ^ Lin II, Rong-Gong (April 28, 2013). 100,000-plus expected downtown for Fiesta Broadway. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 23, 2016.

External linksEdit