I used to be a die-hard rockera; there was no rock en español concert I ever missed. But then the music scene in Chicago got a little quieter (at least for me); I got a little older and felt out of touch with what was left over. But thanks to Ruido Fest last weekend, I’ve come out of my self imposed rockera retirement (it’s a real thing, I just made it up).

Much like in field of dreams or my beloved Wayne’s World II, if you build it, they will come, and the rockeros and rockeras definitely did at the Chicago’s first alternative music festival last weekend. With an attendance of almost 25,000 people — 60% of those being women — I can attest that was a resounding success.

I can’t classify the acts as a specific genre because doing so would be a disservice to the complexity of their sound but I appreciated how so many of them have incorporated new and old beats to make it their own. After all isn’t that why Latinos are in the U.S., to share our mixture of our culture and traditions as we acquire new ones?

The success of this festival wasn’t based on its attendance numbers alone but the prominent presence of Latinas from attendees to performers one of few festivals in the entire country to have the highest number of female performers. The appreciation for women throughout this festival was everywhere, from the Frida Kahlo T-shirts to the girls body surfing while Café Tacuba played. Perhaps it’s that behind the scenes there were amazing women involved in the creation of this festival; or that our community is growing and expanding beyond the machista perspective.

The highlight of this festival isn’t that they were able to bring Café Tacuba, Molotov, and Zoe to Chicago, they are great and I love them, but I’ve seen them plenty of times. It was that Ruido Fest opened doors to other bands that have never performed in Chicago and exposed festivalgoers to their new music. Since watching them perform live I have added a minimum ten new bands to my Spotify playlist.

Deep down I’m not just a rockera, I also like a good norteña and cumbia. But to be able to see these amazing performers, like Mexican Dubweiser, Jessy Bulbo, Mariel Mariel, Maria Daniela y su Sonido Lasser, incorporating sounds from all of them as well as a little EDM and discotheque, well, they hit all the right notes.

ruido-fest-chicago
photo: Ymijan Baftijari, Vivala
ruido-fest-chicago
photo: Ileana Ortega, Vivala Insider
photo: Ileana Ortega, Vivala Insider