by Dustin Ross
Each October, for the past 4 years, DJ's, artists and tropical treasure hunters make their way down to Old San Juan Puerto Rico to bask in the warmth that is the Candela Art and Music Festival. Candela, also the name of the main club/gallery on calle San Sebastian in Old San Juan, continues to play host to underground artists and dj's from around the world, and the lucky few that know Old San Juan is the place to be in mid-October.
Past DJ's have included, Bobbito aka "Cucumber Slice," Rich Medina, Karl Injex and Tyler Askew of Rudemovements, Osunlade, Karen P., DJ Cute, Nickodemus of Turntables on the Hudson, Busquelo, Quantic, Rawjak and Matthias Heilbronn among others. Artists have included Mode2, Doze Green, Lee Quinones, Dustin Ross, Swifty, Mitchy Bwoy, Ease1, Skwerm, HVW8, Swoon, SBTG, Shepard Fairey, Dzine, Chris Mendoza and others.
This year's highlights included a live sneaker customization by Singapore's own SBTG, who killed it by creating a Candela/Rude Adidas superstar. SBTG painted, printed and glued while his cohort Haz from Rawjak and club Zouk in Singapore was cleaning house on the decks downstairs, accompanied by equally impressive dj sets from Bobbito and the Rudemovements krew. Another high-point was the a rooftop screening of Pablo Aravena's new documentary on urban art titled "Next: A primer on Urban Painting." The movie features many of the artists from past Candela Festivals as well as other painters, bombers, and smak-talkers from across the globe.
Friday night club-hangers were privy to a live painting by the HVW8 krew, who by now are well known in the streets of Old San Juan. Festival goers were also treated to a vibrant mix of live music from local plena and bomba groups at club Rhumba and an evening of serious salsa riddims in Plaza de San Sebastian, where a live stage was setup.
Of course, the extra bonuses of un viaje to Puerto Rico include fresh snapper by the beach, Medalla beer by the bushel, all the mofongo you can eat, and beaches with crystal clear waters and palm trees into the horizon... I gotta get back.
More pics here