The 54th version of the Festival began in Valledupar, with three simultaneous platforms to choose the semifinalists of minor Accordion, and children and youth accordion players. The future of vallenato includes performers from the interior of the country and women.
The people were gathered in groups. The morning was advancing and the entrance to the ‘La Pedregosa’ Recreation Center was not yet enabled, where the first contests of the Festival of the Legend would take place. Outside the groups of people made up of boys, girls and adults, mostly relatives, followed.
The morning was cool in Valledupar and the heat had not yet appeared. A boy of about ten took out his accordion to rehearse. The first roar of an accordion appeared that morning. The gazes focused on him and other children replied. Another heat appeared. The one from a party. There began the Festival of the Vallenato Legend.
The minor accordion players
Before nine in the morning they opened the doors of ‘La Pedregosa’. The mask and the vaccination card were mandatory for admission. The application of alcohol on the hands as well. Two platforms appeared in front of the entrance and a little further away another appeared. It is heard when the presenter, with the voice of a bazaar announcer, announces the first contestant.
─To the Laura Benítez stage, from Cundinamarca, in the Minor Accordion category.
In this category, women under 14 years old compete, and it was created in 2019. The contestant went up to the stage with a white dress, opened the bellows of her accordion and was seconded by the box and the guacharaca. The other two scenarios replicated the first and simultaneously the boys and girls began to play the three instruments.
From the minor Accordion category, seven contestants in total were uploaded. The seven continue to the semifinals. The best score was taken by Bolivarian Heinis Gulfo and Vanessa Marriaga de Valledupar. Two interior departments took the third and fourth best scores, from Soacha, Laura Benítez and from Ocaña, Isabel Picón.
Valledupar had the fifth best score with Nickoll Peñaranda; Arjona (Bolívar) the sixth with Nikole Mengual and the seventh, Sara Renal, from Santa Marta.
Children’s accordion players
Fifteen of the children’s accordion players qualified for the semifinal. Among them a Venezuelan. This is Rafael José Ojeda, who was tenth in the scoring table. The first four, with the same score: Santiago Diez, from Cartagena, Hansel Hurtado from Cartagena, Juan Rincón from Barranquilla and Luis Torrado from Bumangués.
Córdoba obtained three classifieds: Maikel Rodiño (ninth) from Cotorra Bongo; Martín Elías Vitola (eleventh) from Planeta Rica and Nehemías Camaño from Montelíbano (thirteenth). The capital of Cesar, Valledupar, also had three classifieds: Santiago Oñate (sixth), Marlon Daza (twelfth) and Santiago Herrera (fourteenth).
Samarium Mario Cueto’s score earned him fifth place, seventh went to Barranquilla Andrés Escalante and Arjonero (Bolívar) Ángel Hernández ranked eighth. These infants starred in the party that lasted until noon. It was full of applause from the audience, dancing and appreciation of the contestants.
At first the company was familiar. As the morning progressed, visitors from the city and other parts of the country arrived. Some came from Bogotá. Also in the audience was a seller of guacharacas, who had his son competing. His name is Julio Contreras.
─This year I have sold two thousand guacharacas. I’ve been doing well, ”he said.
The sun peeked out shyly in the early afternoon. The young people with accordions were seen walking through the pastures of ‘La Pedregosa’. The first to go up to the stage was Javier Pérez, aged seventeen, who comes from Tunja and was ninth in the standings. The three platforms sounded simultaneously again. Again, boxes, guacharacas and accordions took up the atmosphere at the vallenato festival
With nineteen contestants, the Youth Accordion category was advanced. There were twenty of them, but, who also came from Boyacá, was disqualified for not answering the calls of the presenter. Young people between the ages of fourteen and sixteen participate in this category.
The best score was taken by Bogotá with Jorge Moreno. The second went to Barranquilla Laowrence Noguera and the third, Kevin Noguera de Cúcuta. The opita Jhon Jairo Rivas achieved the sixth.
Valledupar had five classifieds. Jose Villazón (fourth), Jerónimo Villazón (fifth), Juan Ochoa (eleventh), Eudis Almendrales (fourteenth) and Luis Fuentes (fifteenth).
From the Bolívar department there were four who went to the semifinals. Daniel Castro (seventh) and Juan Martínez (eighth) from Arjona, from Cartagena Juan Ochoa (tenth) and Cristian Campo (thirteenth) from Magangué.
The timid sun began to fall at five in the afternoon and this first round of the Festival as well. Douglas made it to the end, but was not allowed to compete for the rules.
* From the Color Foundation of Colombia.