'Tropicália Gets It': Why Artists Like Kali Uchis and Chicano Batman Keeping Returning to Goldenvoice's Latin Fest

David Wolff - Patrick/Redferns
Kali Uchis performs during We Love Green Festival on June 1, 2019 in Paris, France. 

“This is the type of festival that I would have wanted to go to when I was growing up,” says Uchis.

Last week, Goldenvoice’s Tropicália Music and Taco Festival announced its relocation to the Pomona Fairgrounds in Southern California due to demand. The promoter’s standout Latin music festival spent two years in Long Beach before expanding to the Pico Rivera Sports Arena grounds in Los Angeles County earlier this year when it also revealed the stellar lineup of Los Tigres Del Norte, Kali Uchis, Chicano Batman and more.

The two-day festival, scheduled to take place from Nov. 9-10, has continued to expand each year as it welcomes new and returning acts to the stage.

“The first time I got booked I was really excited about the diverse lineup. It is a really diverse lineup every year,” headliner Kali Uchis tells Billboard. Uchis has performed at every Tropicália festival so far and will return as a Sunday headliner on Nov. 10. “It has all types of different artists and, for me, that is the type of festival that I would have wanted to go to when I was growing up, a music festival that incorporates a lot of Latino artists but also of R&B and artists from across the United States.”

“Tropicália gets it. And that's why we've come back three years in a row,” says Chicano Batman guitarist Carlos Arevalo. “It is the first festival we've played that fully acknowledges the presence and power of the modern Latino music community in the US. The festival's success can be credited to a hip, yearly line-up curation that appeals to the multi-faceted musical identity of Latinos in this country.”

Arevalo continued to praise the festival for its expansive inclusive of Latin music that includes “ballad groups of our parents' and even grandparents' generation from our neighboring countries to the South, the cumbia, the Nortenos, the souldies, the punk rock, the indie rock, the synth-pop to the genre-defying and beyond.”

“All musical styles are acknowledged, which is a revelation for us considering we've played our share of festivals where Latinos and POC are severely underrepresented,” Arevalo adds.

The extensive lineup features Latin legends such as Caifanes and Enanitos Verdes and continues to embrace Southern California’s thriving independent music scene with local artists like garage rock outfit The Buttertones and five-piece ensemble Inner Wave.

Returning artists consistently echo the sentiment that Goldenvoice has tapped into a thriving, but often overlooked market of Latin music lovers in Southern California.

“Tropicália has become the festival we look forward to all year. It feels so good to walk into the festival grounds and see faces of all colors and age,” Inner Wave said in a statement to Billboard. “We are honored to share this experience with artists from around the world and friends who have inspired us throughout the years. Tropicália is the family party of the year!”

Not only has the festival seen many artists return year after year, but it’s growing presence has also helped move several rising artists to the top of its lineup.

“Going back to Tropicália means a lot as the festival has grown and being a part of the first original lineup as a smaller name on the bill to headlining seems kind of unreal,” says CUCO, who joins Uchis and Chicano Batman as top billing on Nov. 10. “I’m excited to come back stronger than ever as well after cancelling from our accident and recovering, we’ve developed a show I hope people will really enjoy.”

“Learning how to be a performing artist has been a huge learning curve for me because I started out of nowhere. I never had practice or coaching. It has been a growing experience,” says Uchis, who suffered a wardrobe malfunction at last year’s festival. Uchis was forced to stay in one place on stage after a rip in her pants, but it didn’t stop fans from cheering her on in 2018 or prevent Goldenvoice from inviting her back.

Uchis says she plans to unveil new Spanish language material at this year’s festival and is excited to give the supportive Tropicalia audience a first listen.

Fans “keep coming back because they know I am going to be better than the last time,” Uchis jokes a few weeks out from the festival. “I think that is what is exciting about following acts that grow every year.”

Uchis will be joined this year by Hombres G, Natalia Lafourcade, Zoe, Boy Pablo, Omar Apollo, Maldita Vencidad, Paquita La Del Barrio, Yellow Days, Wallows, The Drums, Fidlar and Bomba Estereo. The packed lineup also includes Beach Fossils, Oh Sees, Chulita Vinyl Club, Men I Trust, Peach Pit, SALES, Los Angeles Negros, Los Cadetes De Linares, Los Freddy's, La Santa Cecilia and Los Hurricanes.

More passes have been made available due to the increased capacity at Pomona Fairgrounds. Check out tickets and a full lineup at TropicaliaFest.com.

 

 


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