Latin Alternative Music Conference founder Tomas Cookman and Coachella promoter Goldenvoice will jointly produce a “multi-stage, multi-lingual” festival at Los Angeles’ Shrine Auditorium in the second half of 2014, Billboard.biz has learned.
“We wanted to see something like Coachella happen for the Latin market,” says Rebeca León, VP of Latin talent at AEG Live/Goldenvoice. “We want that kind of music to succeed and give it as many platforms as possible.”
The one-day festival, dubbed Supersonico, is planned as an annual “cultural happening” that will feature a diverse line-up of the kind of acts showcased at New York’s LAMC, which will be held for the 15th consecutive year July 8-12. Last summer’s LAMC attracted an audience of about 50,000 people to shows in Central Park and other locations.
“I think the beauty of Latin alternative is that it includes rock, hip hop, reggae, electronic music, even different types of pop,” notes Cookman, who also heads the L.A.-based Latin alternative label Nacional Records. “[Supersonico] is the place where artists like Café Tacvba and Ivy Queen could conceivably fit together at the same festival.”
Cookman adds that the Supersonico lineup will include a strong DJ component, as well as some English — and possibly Portuguese — speaking artists.
“I think it’s about putting together a kick-ass bill,” León comments. “Regardless of the genre or the language people will want to go and see it.”
She says Goldenvoice has tested the market in L.A. and other U.S. cities for Spanish-language alternative with popular artists like Mexican rock band Zoé and Tacvba. “We have done a ton of shows where there is interest from the general market [as well as the Latino audience],” León notes.
In November, Goldenvoice produced Cali Ruta, a cross-border tour of young English and Spanish-language bands that followed the coastal region from Pomona, Calif., to Tijuana.
Goldenvoice, a divison of AEG Live, took over booking and administration of the Shrine Auditorium and adjacent Expo Hall in 2012. Cookman says that the festival will take advantage of the venue’s multiple spaces to create an experience that will include art, food and possibly a wrestling ring and skateboarding area. The festival will start early in the day to accommodate all-ages, and ticket prices will be kept “affordable,” with the goal of attracting about 15,000 people in 2014.
“L.A. needs a festival like this,” Cookman says. “It’s a place where there is a lot of blurring the lines between Latinos and non-Latinos, not to mention the Latinos who don’t speak Spanish. Los Angeles is very specific and interesting like that.”
“A festival takes time to develop and that’s a commitment we’re going to make,” León adds. “I think we’re going to have success with this. There’s a general hunger and a need for something like this.”
Cookman notes that he has already had interest in Supersonico from potential brand sponsors. “We have the sponsors who get it — who get this space and it is an attractive space,” he says. “If there is someone to do this and do it right it’s the people who put on LAMC for 15 years and the people who do Coachella.”