Some of Latin America’s biggest musical powerhouses descend into the wind city this past weekend to be part of this year’s three- day Latin Alternative music festival Ruidofest. With a diverse line up that included some of the continent’s biggest Ska, Reggae, Rock Pop, and Indie bands. Ruidofest attracted a diverse crowd of concert goers, not all being Latinos. Ruidofest was a unique musical experience for the long time fans of classic Latin American bands with the likes of Los Fabulosos Cadillcas, Maldita Vecindad, Gondwana, Panteón Rococo, Los Pericos, Los Cafres and Colombian Rock Icons Aterciopelados. This unprecedented line-up of Latin American artists was a rarity in U.S. soil given the fact that they seldom tour the U.S. but even more rare get to play together at the same festival. Representatives from the rock-pop scene made their presence known at Ruidofest with large crowds gathering to Natalia Lafourcade who provided a calmer but groovy sound to the festival. Carla Morrison on the other hand serenaded the crowd with her haunting voice and throughout her set spoke messages of peace, serenity, and “being in the moment” both in Spanish and English.
La Santa Cecilia, and Le Butcherettes lit the stage with their unique musical styles and charismatic female singers. La Santa Cecilia got the crowd dancing with their musical blend that encompasses a variety of genres including Cumbia, Norteño, Rock, and more. Le Butcherettes brought the punk rock sound to Ruidofest putting on a lively show also with a distinct sound that incorporated the organ in some of their songs. One of the most underrated acts at Ruidofest this year has to go to Silverio. Those unfamiliar with “su majestad imperial” found themselves dancing and laughing simultaneously to his beats and comedic phrases he made during his DJ set. Silverio got a chance to play twice at Ruidofest. The second time filling in for no-show Mon Laferte, he stripped down to a red man thong. By the way, as a side note, Ruidofest should fix its handicap accessibility which consisted of one single platform in the middle of the field far away from both main stages. Needless to say, it didn’t provide good visibility and got take over by people trying to get higher ground for pictures.
The other big cancellation of the festival was Chilean rockers La Ley who cancelled last minute and Reggae greats Gondwana stepped in serenading the crowd with their “romantic style.” There were many great sets including Aterciopelados who are legends in Latin America. When the first guitar riffs started to play and Andrea Echeverri opened with Baracunatana the energy in the crowd could be felt. Similarly, Miranda! had the crowd dancing and jumping as we sang to Perfecta. Other honorable mentions include La Cuca being who lit up the crowd with their frontman awesome vocals and energy.
Inevitably, Ruidofest came at a complicated time of political and social turmoil in the U.S. and abroad. The sociopolitical climate did not go unnoticed by the bands whose very essence of their music is based on their struggles and oppression in Latin America. Panteón Rococó and Maldita Vecindad sets were filled with empowering messages and chants of support for struggling Latinos and Blacks. Banners in support of the Oaxaca’s teachers and Ayotizanapa 43 missing students were waived during various acts. On Friday night, Panteón Rococó made the crowd go wild with their set and got the crowd involved chanting “culero” as their frontman named various political figures including Enrique Peña Nieto and Donald Trump. Maldita Vecindad’s front man Roco, gave a lengthy speech about police brutality and the need to support our “African American brothers” and speaking against the anti-immigrant sentiment in this country. His words got the crowd roaring with support and so they played their classic hits like Pachuco and Solin which got the crowd jumping, the mosh pits going, and the crowd surfing at Adams Park. Overall it was an awesome experience for Alternative Latino Music lovers who got a chance to see legendary bands in a great location with great sound.
Fernando González is Sociologist & high school counselor interested in the cultural significance of music and music as a tool for social change. He attends music shows from various genres and is always interested in representing the Latino fan-base.
Follow Fernando González @