American Marc Anthony and Panamanian Ruben Blades will headline a Mexican salsa festival scheduled for May in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, organizers said.

The third edition of the International Salsa Festival is a must for all fans of this genre, Anselmo Estandia - mayor of the city of Boca del Rio, where the event will be held - told Efe.

He added that roughly 150,000 people are expected to turn up for the series of free concerts from May 16-19.

"We're bringing artists of the highest level, some of whom have already participated in past editions and remain very interested in participating ... due to the large turnout of thousands of people," Estandia said.

In addition to Anthony and Blades, two of salsa's biggest icons, Oscar de Leon, Alberto Barros, Tito Nieves, Grupo Niche, Porfi Balboa, N'Klave, Sonora Carruseles, India and Gerry Espinosa are among the artists scheduled to perform during the festival.

According to the mayor, 100,000 people from Mexico, the United States, Canada, Spain and several South American countries attended last year's edition.

That huge turnout translated into a 600-million-peso ($48.7-million) injection into the local economy.

Although Boca del Rio is "safe," anti-crime efforts will be bolstered due to the large number of visitors, the mayor said.

Additional state police and Mexican armed forces have been deployed in the Gulf coast state since October 2011 as part of the Safe Veracruz program, with a particular focus on the Veracruz-Boca del Rio metropolitan area.

Federal and state authorities credit that initiative with lowering the level of organized crime-related violence in the region. EFE