Events

Tropicália Fest Blends the Best of Latin Culture Without Isolation

This year we’ve seen more tastefully curated line-ups outside of Los Angeles, such as Arroyo Seco taking over Pasadena. Not an outsider to live music – holding one of the best music scenes – we’ve seen Long Beach as the go-to location this year for acts that are worth the trip. With that said, Long Beach welcomes us yet again this year for a diverse collection of sounds that embodies Latin Culture, rockabilly inspiration, R&B, and gentle, surf, melodic whispers all backed by all you can eat Tacos for every diet. It not only holds the intent of sharing Latin music, but celebrates culture through music featuring icons such as Los Tigres De Norte, LA’s surf-rockabilly inspo group Sad Girl, to NY’s Phony PPL, who are innovative music makers to say the least. Tropicália Fest is an empowering festival within the Latin Community, while simultaneously holding welcoming arms for all tastes to bask in the festivities, adding to The Observatory’s vast palate of themed fests.

Packing 4 stages, tacos, comedians, Dj Sets, and the musings of Tropicália’s host, Felipe Esparza, the fest may be overwhelming if you don’t have a plan. While it’s impossible to watch every act (and we are going to try our hardest to get footage for our fellow readers) here’s recommended acts for this Saturday that you don’t want to miss.

In the midst of the Tropicália spirit, here’s a playlist to get you going as well.


Tropicália Stage

Más Tropicalia! Be ready to dance with this stage.

*Los Tigres Del Norte (10:30 p.m. – 12 a.m.)

Norteño based band from San Jose with roots tracing back to Sinaloa, Mexico, Los Tigres Del Notre are definitely an act to witness live for their energetic performances that stem from the heart of Mexico. The fest’s headliners aren’t just an iconic group but truly a staple within the Latin music community and a proud representation.

Chicano Batman (9- 10 p.m.)

L.A.’s Latin-funk ensemble are one of the current, modern acts that manages to keep true to their roots while smoothing out influences in a dreamy, psychedelic flare. The quartet’s quirky demeanor and experimental qualities appeal to a vast amount of music lovers.

Kali Uchis (7:30 -8:30 p.m.) 

Colombian-pop artist, Kali Uchis, has been on our radar since her 2015 album Por Vida and for good reasons. There’s a overwhelming amount of confidence and sensuality that effortlessly floats upon a melting-pop of genres; pieces of funk-pop, nostalgic R&B, regurgitated with a tropical feel.

*Cafe Tacvba (4:45 – 5:45 p.m.)

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Cafe Tacvba. Photo: Cesar Martinez for GUM, La Tocada Fest 2016

I mean, this is a given. Cafe Tacvba are one of the best Latin acts out there, not only for their stellar performances but a true humbling and genuine embodiment that is sprinkled throughout the crowd, it’s impossible to describe. Added as a late act to this year’s line-up, if you’ve never witnessed them live, please do not miss Cafe Tacvba. They have a mix of just about every Latin Rhythmic genre in their catalog to please everyone’s taste.

Ivy Queen (3:40 – 4:15 p.m.)

The fest wouldn’t be complete without reggatton, and Ivy Queen will definitely make you dance and have a good time.

Sonora Dinamita (1:40 – 2:10 p.m.)

Cumbia, cumbia, cumbia. Definitely will be dancing if this is what you came here to do.

*Phony PPL (11 a.m. -11:30 a.m.)

Opening the fest on the main stage, NY’s Phony PPL have one of the greatest, innovative, and clearly distinct sounds I’ve heard. “Why iii Love the Moon” are one of their more well-known tracks that not only display production quality, vocals, heart, but just an instantaneously feeling that translates beautifully.

Dia De Los Puercos Stage

Throwback. R&B. Vibes.

Alina Baraz (10:10 – 10:50 p.m.)

Alina Baraz’s 2015, Urban Flora EP stopped me in my tracks and continues to be one of my favorite electronic, laid back entities. Baraz possess a silky croon that is hypnotic upon any production.

*GoldLink ( 9- 9:40 p.m.)

Smooooth. Describes any Goldlink track. Hip-hop, R&B, rap, vibes. Excited about this act but conflicted since Chicano Batman is on at the same time. Suggestion, open with Goldlink. You don’t want to sleep on this sound.

*Os Mutantes (8 -8:30 p.m.)

Brazilian, ‘Tropicalia’ band, Os Mutantes, have a quality to them that is delightful in so many ways. A bright, vivacious energy that swims upon warm strings and bright vocal play truly are one of the highlights on this bill.

The Delfonics (7-7:30 p.m.)

Ugh. Soul, love. Nostalgia at it’s best, The Delfonics will make everything better. Don’t miss them.

Brenton Wood (6 – 6:30 p.m.)

If you love classic motown sounds, and warm melodies, I suggest to stay on this stage for a while. It has all the vibes and Brenton Wood brings it.

*Madlib (5-5:30 p.m.)

Like I said, just stay on this stage for a while. It’s Madlib for crying out loud. Beats and production quality that embody so much amount of soul, feels, and relaxation, it’s impossible to comprehend.

*Yellow Days ( 4 – 4:30 p.m.)

Emphasis on Yellow Days. Can’t really explain this sound. If we’ve never strayed you wrong before, please check them out.

*Jeanette (3-3:30 p.m.)

Spaniard songstress who has been singing since the late 60s blesses the stage. Most excited for her and her sweet vocals of Spanish-pop. Iconic in the music world and contains such a timeless voice, it’s truly a nice mix for this line-up.

Mota Stage

Smooth- Take a hit.

*Sad Girl (5:30 – 6 p.m.)

LA’s Sad Girl stole my sometime ago and continues to throw me in eternal bliss. More than simply nostalgic, retro sounds, but a cascading gentle beauty to their sound that live performances melt listeners (true story).

Inner Wave ( 3:30 – 4 p.m.)

More LA local love on this stage, Inner Wave possess that psych-lo-fi quality that has been on the rise in SoCal for the past couple of years. It’s dreamy with a slight raw and DIY quality that you can’t help but love.

Thee Commons (12:40 – 1:10 p.m.)

Cumbia, experimental locals mesh the best of the both worlds to take you on a trip. It’s a piece of the Tropicália stage with modern qualities for the rock lover at heart. They always put on a great performance and feed off of the crowd’s energy!

Modelo Stage

Grab another, it pairs nicely.

*La Banda Skalavera ( 1:20 – 1:50 p.m.)

When I was going through my ska/punk phase back in the days, pairing stripped pants and bleached hair (I know), I first fell in love with La Banda Skalavera. Different backgrounds coming together for the love of ska, reggae, that continues to be such a staple in music, it’s great to have them on this bill.

The High Curbs (12:30 – 1 p.m.)

Finally, some Inland Empire love. The High Curbs have this raw and slacker feel to them that is completely early 2000’s and has such a youthful feel to them.

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