Now in its third year, the music and food festival Tropicália touches down on Los Angeles November 9th and 10th. Organized in conjunction with Goldenvoice and local news outlet L.A. Taco, Tropicália — not to be confused with the Brazilian pop movement of the same name — owes its continued success to its expertly curated lineup, which celebrates some of Latin America’s biggest weirdos, rebels and visionaries.
There is arguably no other festival in the world that would give top billing to norteño outlaws Los Tigres del Norte and young R&B-pop star Kali Uchis. Nor is there another place where one can travel back to the Seventies with regional Mexican diva Paquita la del Barrio, fast forward to 1985 with rock en español pioneers Maldita Vecindad, then bound back to 2019 through Cuco’s psychedelic trap, all in one weekend.
It’s a formula that works: the festival has consistently sold-out year after year. Though originally slated to take place in Pico Rivera Sports Arena Grounds this year, the demand got so high that Goldenvoice relocated the event to the more sprawling Pomona Fairplex, home of the L.A. County Fair. “What sets Tropicália apart is that multiple age groups can attend and learn something or experience new music that was released last week, or 30-plus years ago,” says Nic Adler, regional festival organizer for Goldenvoice. “We strive to transcend the generational gap and hope to continue to evolve in this way.”
Ahead of this year’s Tropicália Fest, Rolling Stone selects 10 highly watchable Latin acts that transcend generational gaps — including some pretty OK boomers.
If you like electro-cumbia, strong female characters, or just a good time, you don’t want to miss Colombian dance-pop duo Bomba Estéreo. The band will bring fuego to the Toyota stage at 10:20 p.m.
Long before the advent of the cholo goth — shoutout to fellow Tropicália act, Prayers — Mexico City band Caifanes spent the Eighties and Nineties blending rock en español with a sinister, vampiric edge. The lords of darkness will appear Saturday, 8 p.m. at the Tropicália stage — be prepared to baila esta cumbia, but make it goth.
Cuco has no shortage of feelings — nor musical chops. His 2019 album, Para Mí, was a stellar showcase of the SoCal native’s skills, evident by his effortless blend of R&B, indie-pop, bossa nova and trap. Meet him (and his horde of screaming fangirls) on Sunday, 7:50 p.m. at the Tropicália stage.
At 18 years old, Chihuahua singer-songwriter Ed Maverick captures one-hundred years’ worth of heartache in his delicate, acoustic folk ballads. He will take the Mango Loco stage Sunday at 4 p.m.
Argentine rock titans Enanitos Verdes have enjoyed somewhat of a renaissance this year. Twenty-five years after the Green Dwarves released their first platinum album, Big Bang, reggaeton superstars J Balvin and Bad Bunny tapped frontman Marciano Cantero to co-write the song “Un Peso,” off their joint 2019 LP, Oasis. Catch the band live Saturday, 5:50 p.m.at the Tropicália stage — and count on a special appearance from their Spanish friends, Hombres G.
Comprised of five childhood friends from Inglewood, Latino indie-rockers Inner Wave craft their funk-infused love ballads with surrealist flair. The band will appear Sunday, 12:35 p.m. at the Tropicália stage.
Reggaeton may be having its moment in mainstream Latin pop — but the rapper, feminist and Mother of Reggaeton Ivy Queen has been there from the very start. La Diva will make a rare performance Saturday, 10:20 p.m. at the Toyota stage.
If Mazzy Star ever made a pivot to disco, they might sound a touch like L.A. psych-soul band The Marías. Bring someone you really, really like to their set Sunday, 3:20 p.m. at the Tropicália stage.
Get ready to dial it back to the Nineties with ska punks, Panteón Rocóco. Their seminal 1999 album, A La Izquierda de la Tierra celebrated its 20th anniversary this year; still, the Mexico City rebels have continued to release music well into 2019. If it’s a mosh pit you’re looking for, look no further than the Toyota stage on Saturday, 9:25 p.m.
The Cuernavaca alt-rockers have come a long way from their English-language crossover days; their Grammy-winning 2018 album, Aztlán was a probing, synth-laden thesis on Mexican identity. The band will bring the beat to the Tropicália stage at 4:20 p.m.