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Ruido: Spanish for Lollapalooza

By Entertainment, Featured

When it comes to influential summer music festivals, Chicago is known for Lollapalooza. The traveling festival, founded by Jane’s Addiction singer Perry Farrell in 2005, is now joined by another local festival counterpart which is making a lot of ruido (noise). A festival that gives Chicago the ability to position itself as a mecca of summer concerts for the most influential musical acts in the Spanish-speaking and/or Latinx world. This is Ruido Fest.

  • The crowd at Ruido Fest. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • Among the participants at the three-day extravaganza, was the band Titán, from México. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • Titán perform at Ruido Fest. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • Titán perform at Ruido Fest. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • People from all around the US were in the crowds at Ruido Fest. Photo by Emily Rich.
  • Desorden Público, a Venezuelan band, perform at Ruido Fest. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • Desorden Público, a Venezuelan band, perform at Ruido Fest. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • Desorden Público, a Venezuelan band, perform at Ruido Fest. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • People dance to the music of Desorden Público. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • Desorden Público, a Venezuelan band, perform at Ruido Fest. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • The Colombian band Bomba Estéreo perform at Ruido Fest. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • The Colombian band Bomba Estéreo perform at Ruido Fest. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • The Colombian band Bomba Estéreo perform at Ruido Fest. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • A concertgoer enjoys music in the crowd at Ruido Fest. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • Cultura Profética, a band from Puerto Rico, was among the Fest's participants. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • Cultura Profética, a band from Puerto Rico, was among the Fest's participants. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • Cultura Profética, a band from Puerto Rico, was among the Fest's participants. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • Concertgoers enjoyed the music of their favorite bands at Ruido Fest. Photo by Emily Rich.

Ruido Fest started in 2015 and is self-described as “Chicago’s newest alternative Latin music festival.” Each July in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, the three-day festival delights concertgoers with lineups that include Latin post punk, electronic, hip-hop, rock, psychedelic, tropicalia, reggae, and punk acts from around the Spanish-speaking world.

With two main stages and a third small stage for DJs, this year’s festival, which occurred on July 7 – 9, included a total of 50 musical acts featuring both heavyweights and up-and-coming musicians in just one short weekend. With several Grammy and Latin Grammy winners among the artists in the lineup, such as the Venezuelan band Los Amigos Invisibles, Mexican acts such as Molotov and Julieta Venegas, Colombian band Bomba Estéreo, the Chilean  Mon Laferte and the Puerto Rican band Cultura Profética, the festival brought to Pilsen a great representation of contemporary Latin American music.

Which other names were in Chicago for this year’s Ruido Fest? Glad you asked! A few of my favorites:   Titán, Desorden Público, Gepe, Adan Jodorowsky, Silver Rose, Silverio, A Band Of Bitches, Javiera Mena, El Guincho, Sotomayor, Los Nastys, Extraperlo, Wet Baes, Chulita Vinyl Club,  Fobia, Álex Anwandter, Rostros Ocultos, Víctimas Del Doctor Cerebro, Ruido Rosa and Las Piñas.

However, the importance and influence of Ruido Fest comes not just from its lineups, but from the distinct place it holds within Chicago’s Latinx community, and from the current historical moment it inhabits. 

  • Extraperlo, a band from Spain, perfom at Ruido Fest. Photo by Emily Rich.
  • Extraperlo, a band from Spain, perfom at Ruido Fest. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • Extraperlo, a band from Spain, perfom at Ruido Fest. Photo by Emily Rich.
  • México's Silverios perform at Ruido Fest. Photo by Emily Rich.
  • Concertgoers enjoy the music at Ruido Fest. Photo by Emily Rich.
  • México's Silverio performs at Ruido Fest. Photo by Emily Rich.
  • México's Silverio performs at Ruido Fest. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • México's Silverio performs at Ruido Fest. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • Concertgoers at Ruido Fest. Photo by Emily Rich.
  • Band of Bitches, a band from México, were among the participants at the three-day festival. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • Band of Bitches perform at Ruido Fest. Photo by Emily Rich.
  • Band of Bitches perform at Ruido Fest. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • Band of Bitches perform at Ruido Fest. Photo by Emily Rich.
  • Band of Bitches perform at Ruido Fest. Photo by Emily Rich.
  • Band of Bitches perform at Ruido Fest. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • Many people came to Ruido Fest to listen to bands from their country of origin. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • Los Amigos Invisibles, a band from Venezuela, perform at Ruido Fest. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.

According to the latest U.S. census, the population of Chicago is 28% Hispanic, making the Windy City the Midwest’s most populous metropolitan area in regard to Latinos. In addition, the 2000 census reported that over 56 percent of foreign-born Chicagoans were from Latin America, making it a city with a constant influx of cultural – and therefore musical – influence arriving from that part of the world.

Although Latinos represent only about 7% of the total population of the Midwest, and Illinois suffers the highest unemployment rates of the region, they are on average the highest Spanish-speakers earners in The Americas. This makes Latinos in the Midwest big influencers and patrons of Latin music, making the conditions right to support an event like Ruido. 

From day one of the festival, it was clear that Ruido Fest musically reflects the shifting socio-demographics of the Latinx community in Chicago and beyond. Seamless changes between lyrics sung in English and Spanish, as well as the mix of local and international participants, demonstrate these shifts.

  • Los Amigos Invisibles, a band from Venezuela, perform at Ruido Fest. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • Los Amigos Invisibles, a band from Venezuela, perform at Ruido Fest. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • Concertgoers enjoy the music of Julieta Venegas. Photo by Emily Rich.
  • The American-born, México-based singer, Julieta Vengas, performs at Ruido Fest. Photo by Emily Rich.
  • The American-born, México-based singer, Julieta Vengas, performs at Ruido Fest. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • The American-born, México-based singer, Julieta Vengas, performs at Ruido Fest. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • México's Molotov perform at Ruido Fest. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • A concertgoer dressed as El Chapulin Colorado enjoys his favorite bands at Ruido Fest. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • México's Molotov perform at Ruido Fest. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • México's Molotov perform at Ruido Fest. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • México's Molotov perform at Ruido Fest. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • México's Molotov perform at Ruido Fest. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • México's Molotov perform at Ruido Fest. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • México's Molotov perform at Ruido Fest. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • Concertgoers enjoy the music at Ruido Fest. Photo by Emily Rich.

The Pilsen neighborhood is as much a participant in the festival as the concertgoers and the bands. For the past three years, Ruido Fest has been held at the Addams-Medill Park, which is located in the middle of Pilsen. A predominantly Mexican-American neighborhood since the 1950s, Pilsen was at the center of Chicago’s Chicano Movement in the ‘60s. Pilsen’s Historic District became a National Historic Register District in 2006 and is one of Chicago’s largest art districts.

Pilsen is known to be a hotbed for Latinx visual artists, as well as home to numerous diverse forms of street art; it’s common to see murals, stencil paintings, posters, and sculptures around the neighborhood that receive support from the National Museum of Mexican Art, one of the sponsors of the festival.  

  • Silver Rose, a band from México, perform at Ruido Fest. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • Silver Rose, a band from México, perform at Ruido Fest. Photo by Emily Rich.
  • Silver Rose, a band from México, perform at Ruido Fest. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • Silver Rose, a band from México, perform at Ruido Fest. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • Silver Rose, a band from México, perform at Ruido Fest. Photo by Emily Rich.
  • Among the participants at the festival, was Rostros Ocultos, a band from México. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • Concert goers enjoyed the Ruido Fest listening to bands from all around Latin America, sometimes very comfortably seated. Photo by Emily Rich.
  • Rostros Ocultos, a band from México, perform at Ruido Fest. Photo by Emily Rich.
  • Rostros Ocultos, a band from México, perform at Ruido Fest. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • Rostros Ocultos, a band from México, perform at Ruido Fest. Photo by Emily Rich.
  • Rostros Ocultos, a band from México, perform at Ruido Fest. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • At Ruido Fest, concertgoers enjoyed listening to bands from all around Latin America. Photo by Emily Rich.
  • México's Fobia perform at Ruido Fest. Photo by Emily Rich.
  • México's Fobia perform at Ruido Fest. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • México's Fobia perform at Ruido Fest. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • México's Fobia perform at Ruido Fest. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • Concertgoers enjoy the music at Ruido Fest. Photo by Emily Rich.

Pilsen’s unique and longstanding role within the Chicago arts scene is the very reason that many bands coming to Ruido Festival passed up hotel rooms to stay in the homes of fellow artists living in the Pilsen neighborhood. The neighborhood provides certain degree of anonymity, bilingual/bicultural interaction, and artistic connections that are unique.

Without a doubt, Ruido Fest is a unique and formative player in Chicago’s musical and cultural landscape. You can see the energy and popularity for yourself in the five slideshows from this summer’s Ruido Fest.

  • Mon Laferte, a Chilean singer-songwriter, performs at Ruido Fest. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • Mon Laferte, a Chilean singer-songwriter, performs at Ruido Fest. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • Mon Laferte, a Chilean singer-songwriter, performs at Ruido Fest. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • Mon Laferte, a Chilean singer-songwriter, performs at Ruido Fest. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • Mon Laferte, a Chilean singer-songwriter, performs at Ruido Fest. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • Mon Laferte, a Chilean singer-songwriter, performs at Ruido Fest. Photo by Emily Rich.
  • Mon Laferte, a Chilean singer-songwriter, performs at Ruido Fest. Photo by Juan Carlos Herrera.
  • A concertgoer enjoys the music at Ruido Fest. Photo by Emily Rich.
  • Victimas del Doctor Cerebro, a band from México, perform at Ruido Fest. Photo by Emily Rich.
  • Victimas del Doctor Cerebro, a band from México, perform at Ruido Fest. Photo by Emily Rich.
  • Victimas del Doctor Cerebro, a band from México, perform at Ruido Fest. Photo by Emily Rich.
  • Victimas del Doctor Cerebro, a band from México, perform at Ruido Fest. Photo by Emily Rich.

One Response to Ruido: Spanish for Lollapalooza

  1. Cira Apitz says:

    Nice photos and excellent article. Way to go Juan Carlos!!

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