Brazilian Day Grooves New York With South American All-Stars

The long Labor Day weekend might be one of the best inventions in the world, and this year I used it well. The weather provided the perfect setting for a monster street party, as tens of thousands of people from all around the globe gathered in the streets of New York to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Brazilian Day Festival.

As far as I could see from 44th Street, the whole of Sixth Avenue was a massive gyrating sea of yellow and green Brazil Day T-shirts as thousands danced to the music on the main stage. The vibe was amazing: A mix of young and old stood side by side and got down to the sounds of some of Brazil's biggest artists including Elba Ramalho, Carlinhos Brown, Alcione and the truly excellent Arlindo Cruz.

Backstage was heaven. The beer was ice cold, the food amazing and the yellow "Brasil" T-shirts never looked better. My friend João De Matos, the Chairman of the Brazilian Day Festival, was hard at work keeping everything running smoothly — a big task considering the lineup included some of Brazil's biggest stars. When Elba Ramalho (who some regard as the Tina Turner of Brazil) made her way from her trailer to the stage just a few meters away, she needed a six man security team to get her through the swarm of people who surrounded her for a picture and cried out for an autograph. I had never heard of her before, but it was clear that I was in the presence of a musical great.

But it was Marcelo D2 who really stole the show. Born in Rio de Janeiro, Marcelo is one of the biggest hip-hop artists in Brazil. As he took to the stage with his live band, the crowd went wild, and Marcelo D2 brought the fire of Brazilian hip-hop to 6th Avenue. I don't understand Portuguese, but I really didn't need to, as the music quite literally did the talking. I stood among thousands of others as Marcelo had the whole crowd singing back to him, waving their hands in time with the music. It was an experience I will never forget and the best street party I have ever been to. Bring on the Brazilian Festival 2010, and thank you João and Claudine for the opportunity!