By RICARDO CASTILLO
For the 19th year straight, San Miguel de Allende (SMA) entrepreneur and benefactor Luis Ferro de la Sota has organized the Universal Brotherhood Convivium, a weeklong arts festival at the end of May with members of the Universal Brotherhood Coexistence group.
Ferro de la Sota selected the month of May based on the simple fact that SMA, being an international tourist attraction, is also subjected to seasonal occupancy trends, with May accounting as one of the traditionally slowest tourist months of the year, along with the second half of September.
Ferro de la Sota says he established the arts festival with two thoughts in mind: to help serve as a potential tourist attraction in bad times and to provide entertainment for the local population during the the slow season.
Traditionally, the festival rakes in good attendance numbers as symphony orchestras, ballets, theater groups, films and conferences are all part of the proceedings.
Ferro de la Sota is not alone in organizing the festival.
On a yearly basis during the past, he has traveled to Mexico City to visit different embassies to invite them to visit SMA.
This was particularly helpful in the past when this now-world famous town needed promotion. Over the years, dozens of embassies have sent representatives to participate.
This year, the festival kicked off on Friday, May 11, with the traditional yearly parade of children from more than 20 public and private schools accompanying embassy representatives and their respective national flags.
Throughout the rest of the week, several nations were represented, starting with the provincial dances of Indonesia and Peru.
The festival is slated to finish on Saturday, May 19, with films provided by the Italian Embassy, which also sent pianist Michelle Francesco Battista to participate with a concert at the cozy opera concert hall Angela Peralta Theater.
Also during the week, various folkloric ballets from different parts of Mexico were presented, mostly at the main square El Jardín Principal under the high towers of the Parrish, an emblematic symbol of San Miguel de Allende.
This year, the Universal Brotherhood Coexistence festival had an unexpected guest in the person of National Regeneration Movement (Morena) presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), who, on Tuesday, May 15, packed them in at the Jardín.
Along with Obrador, the Morena candidates for Guanajuato state governor, Ricardo Sheffield, and for SMA mayor, Ricardo Ferro – Luis’s son – flanked the candidate who is already being touted as the next president of Mexico.
During the week, Luis Ferro de la Sota personally supervised all of the events and played the role of master of ceremonies in many of them.