Chicago's Ruido Fest to Celebrate Fifth Edition in New Union Park Home

DJ Casas
Hombres G and Enanitos Verdes

Celebrating its fifth edition this summer, Ruido Fest stands out among a crowded music festival scene in Chicago with a promising lineup that this year includes rock en español legendary band El Tri, who will sing for the first time in its entirety their gold-certified 1985 record Simplemente, and pop/rock veterans Enanitos Verdes and Hombres G who will perform the final show of their Huevos Revueltos Tour at Ruido.

Adding a twist to the packed Latin alt roster, iconic Mexican group Los Tigres del Norte will close the three-day festival taking place this weekend, June 21-23, at its new home in Union Park.

“We like to have one or two days out of the festival to push it to a different direction and reflect the variety that is popular music,” Max Wagner, cofounder of Ruido and owner of event production company Metronome, tells Billboard.

It’s not the first time the Latin Alternative music fest bets on a norteño act. Two years ago, it was Intocable who closed out the festival in hopes of having a broader appeal and cater to the diverse Latinx community in Chicago, which has now become the second largest racial and ethnic group in the city, according to Census data.

With an average of 30,000 attendees each year, Ruido’s loyal crowd, which skews a bit older with fans in their 30s and 40s, will also be exposed to up-and-coming local and international acts.

Making their Ruido Fest debut are artists like Mexican singer-songwriter Vanessa Zamora, Chile’s indie-pop star Francisca Valenzuela and Colombian swing-pop balladeers Monsieur Periné who will play at Ruido as part of their North American tour.

“I trust our crowd to accept new things,” says Wagner. Adding, “We’re not afraid to expose the audience we have to other artists. There are artists we’re trying to help grow here in Chicago because if we don’t do it, who will?”

The fest – with returning sponsors from last year such as Toyota, Estrella Jalisco, and Chicago’s South Side baseball team Los White Sox – will also make its debut at Union Park where it’s been relocated while it’s former home, Addams/Medill Park, is under construction.

Historically, Union Park is known for social and cultural events that date back to the 1950s where notable gospel and jazz musicians performed.

Making the move toward Union Park, which is known for hosting several music festivals such as Pitchfork throughout summer, wasn’t a difficult decision, according to Wagner.

“It’s always been a public space and it’s almost constructed in that way. The park has functional grounds, lots of pathways and lighting -- it’s going to make it a different experience. Having a new home also provided us with an opportunity to improve the event.”

Aside from serving up a diverse lineup which includes other standout artists like Fobia, El Gran Silencio, Tomasa del Real and Helado Negro, Ruido Fest attendees can be on the lookout for a new and improved main stage that this year, organizers invested in new technology and more lighting.

Whether you’re there to rock out to El Tri or listen to los Jefes de Jefes’ classics, the Ruido Fest lineup offers of oldies but goodies and rising Latinx artists worth checking out.

“In the end, we’re just throwing a party,” says Wagner. “Our crowd understands that if you’re into the new stuff, there’s some value in the old stuff and if you’re into the old stuff, there’s some value in the new stuff.”