Potaje Festival, one of Cuba’s biggest urban music festivals kicks off tomorrow in Matanzas (home to the famous beach town of Varadero) and will bring six days and nights of non-stop singing and dancing with acts from 160 international performers. Whether you’re staying in a Varadero casa particular or anywhere nearby in Matanzas, this is one mega event you can’t afford to miss if enjoying Cuba holidays this August!

Casa Menocal - an exceptional Varadero casa particular
Casa Menocal – an exceptional Varadero casa particular

It might be too hot in Cuba this month for some but it’s a great time to be staying in a Varadero casa particular if you like urban music. August is the month to enjoy the best of the island’s hip-hop scene with the forthcoming celebration of Potaje Festival, a massive urban music event that, in this year’s edition will bring a total of 160 international hip hop performers to the stage.

This time, the location of this music “concoction” (the literal translation of “potaje”) is the town of Colón in Matanzas, a little over an hour’s ride away from the famed sunkissed beaches of Varadero.

From 13 to 18 August, Matanzas will welcome a wide array of urban artists with the confirmed attendance of Cuban rappers like Ciudadano, Karnal, Malcolm Beybe, El Individuo, Doble Negra and Company Yo as well as performances by DJ Hanzel, DJ Lino, DJ C4.

And for the first time in the festival’s history, there will be rapping battles called “Batallas de Maestros” (BDM) with a total of 17 youngsters battling it out freestyle and putting their improvisation skills to the test.

If you’re one of the lucky souls to be heading to Cuba this week, you can choose to stay in a Varadero casa particular for pure beachside bliss or right at the heart of Matanzas to be closer to the hip-hop action in Colon, a municipality small in size but big on personality.

The entire event will lead up to a climax over the weekend, with Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th being the biggest days with a packed schedule of performances, doubles competitions on Saturday to crown the best active freestyle in Cuba while Sunday will bring the National Master Battle (BDM GOLD CUBA) right on Colon’s Plaza Roja, a battle under the stars for the entire town to enjoy. If you wonder whether your casa particular in Varadero will be too far away from the action, we’re sure that your hosts will help you with tips on the best way to get there.

We don’t know whether you love urban sounds as much as we do but being part of the festival is a great way to be closer to Cuba’s underground culture and discover what lies beyond the repetitive sounds of traditional Cuban music (which we absolutely adore, but which could become tiresome for some after listening to it everywhere in Havana, from wandering street musicians to live bands in restaurants and hotel lobbies).

If you’re still wondering why Matanzas is a good place to visit in Cuba beyond the upcoming hip-hop festival, just take a look at our selection of casas particulares in Varadero, Cuba’s most famous beach!