Coachella festival catches Latin fever


Courtesy photograph with no date of the National Records showing Chilean Tomasa del Real, who will perform at the 2019 edition of the Californian festival of Coachella, posing in an unknown place. EPA-EFE / María Jose Govea / National Records

LOS ANGELES.- After spreading across the globe, the fever for Latin music has taken hold of California’s annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, whose 2019 lineup includes a broad array of Hispanic artists.

J Balvin, Rosalia, Bad Bunny, Los Tucanes de Tijuana, Javiera Mena and Mon Laferte are some of the Latin music stars who will perform in Indio, the desert town east of Palm Springs where Coachella will unfold on consecutive weekends: April 12-14 and April 19-21.

Coachella, which has grown into one of the world’s most influential music festivals in the world and a place to be seen for celebrities, is marking its 20th anniversary with a roster of talent headlined by Ariana Grande, Tame Impala and Childish Gambino.

But the remarkable presence of Latin music in this year’s edition marks something of a departure for the event.

Because while Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s «Despacito» was the mega-hit of 2017, reggaeton genre has conquered clubs around the world, Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny convinced Drake to sing in Spanish and J Balvin teamed up with Beyonce for «Mi Gente,» Coachella has been reluctant to showcase Latino music.

During the first Coachella event, in 1999, Los Amigos Invisibles and At The Drive-In were the only Latino acts. In subsequent years, the festival included artists such as Julieta Venegas, Carla Morrison, Caifanes, Kinky, Cafe Tacvba and Ozomatli, but not on a regular basis.

The situation began to change in 2018 with performances by Cardi B, Los Angeles Azules, Kali Uchis, Miguel and Princess Nokia.

But this year, Goldenvoice, the powerful promoter behind Coachella, made a statement by signing up the likes of J Balvin and Bad Bunny.

«This lineup is very 2019,» festival co-founder Paul Tollett told the Los Angeles Times in January.

One festival source told EFE that Tollett «is very proud of the diversity» included in this year’s event.

Las Robertas, the first Costa Rican group to visit Coachella, told EFE that the higher profile of Latinos in the US has been able to boost the interest of Hispanics for the event.

«There’s a big Latino community here. And, in general, reggaeton is something already global,» drummer Fabrizio Duran said.

«I think that Coachella is organized by super-smart people and they want everything to be there. And obviously what they are after is what is happening ‘underground,'» Chile’s Tomasa del Real, known as the godmother of the neoperreo flavor of reggaeton, told EFE.

«It’s an achievement, a great goal and a celebration,» she said.

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