The Tropicalia Festival made its debut this month at Queen Mary Park in Long Beach, California. Tropicalia’s name comes from the Tropicália Movement in 1960s Brazil. Strong Hispanic roots are present in the SoCal area. The history and culture built around its immigrant community makes it an ideal location for the festival.
The Tropicalia Festival was an optimistic change from the previous negative politics surrounding Latinos. Nevertheless, artists were not shy about expressing their political opinions. Female DJ Chulita Vinyl Club lifted a banner that said “Protect Central Americans. Defend TPS. Defend DACA” at the end of Cuco’s set.
Previous music fests like Supersonico, La Tocada, and Rock Fiesta in Arizona all tried to appeal to the Latino community but missed the mark by ignoring related English-language acts.
The sold-out show included a diverse lineup of performers such as Mexican-American singer Cuco, Puerto Rican-born reggaeton singer Ivy Queen, Colombian-born singer Kali Uchis and Norteño group Los Tigres del Norte. The audience received all types of music from indie rock bands to ’90s Spanish-language ska and more.
A Latino festival is never complete without food. Many of the sponsors for the festival were major food companies including Modelo, Clamato, and Sierra Nevada. Tacos were the superstars of the food scene since admission included free All You Can Eat Taco samples. For those who weren’t fans of tacos, the variety of vendors didn’t just have Mexican food, but food from all aspects of Latino culture. Such foods include pupusas, mariscos, tamales, and more.
Tropicalia was not restricted to just Latinos, but was open to anyone from any community as it united groups in a borderless universe. The diversity doesn’t stop at race or ethnicity. Multiple generations of attendees and their music were represented because the festival does not have age restrictions. Whether or not it was the goal, Tropicália marked the largest manifestation of this nuevo Latino movement to date.