Wisconsin Dells, WI– Labor Day Weekend marco la Presentación de Tres Años para Los Dells to the music Gods. As music festivals come and go, hosting a festival for the 3rd time is definitely a milestone worth celebrating. And similarly like a typical presentación, as music fanacticos, we have something to look forward to as Los Dells continues to grow and become a staple Latin festival in the US. With that said, here is what went down for 2019:
Pros: From reggaeton to electronic to regional mexicano to pop Latino to cumbia to alternativo to urban rhythms, Los Dells continues to be a unique music festival that attempts to provide a cross genre experience among the rich diversity of Latin music held in the Midwest. The continued success of this festival is their achievement to unite Latinos in the Midwest para convivir y gozar de la musica. Year three was no exception.
Located in Woodside Sports Complex, this year management stepped up their game in production. With 5 stage different stages, art displays, and new Instagram worthy props, there were plenty of selfies to take all weekend long. But the overall breath taking feature continues to be the woods surrounding the festival and providing a private experience. Also, it seems that also this year, organizers listened to the public’s comments and food prices were reasonable for all concert attendees. Good job Los Dells!
Cons: I felt this year the vision to create a music festival for Latinos was lost by bringing in Logic as a closing act. I recall from the 1st Los Dells, that Damon Zumwalt said that a Latin Music Festival like Los Dells does not need an English headliner to keep the festival alive. I felt somewhat betrayed after this year. Yes, while I am well aware that Logic is very supportive of the Latinx community in the US, I feel like it wasn’t necessary to make him the closing act for Day 1. Last year Flo Rida was a closing act for the festival in lieu of Cardie B, but I let that one slide since it was last minute; but not this time. With a vast and diverse scene that Latin music IS, you honestly can not tell me that they couldn’t get a worthy heading lining Latino artist. Just to name a few names, here are Latinos that could have done the job: Shakira, Juanes, JLo, Pitbull & Enrique Iglesias, J Balvin. If anything, at least, they could have brought in Dillon Francis, he actually produced a Spanish album last year.
As diverse as the lineup was, there were still some bumps in bringing in their target demographic. I personally felt this was due to Los Dells missing out on nostalgia factor to bring in artists like Paquita la del Barrio or Ivy Queen or Belanova or Mago de Oz. Definitely a missed opportunity, but we shall see if Los Dells gets it right next year.
Recap de lo que sucedio:
Best Set List – Ozuna
Three words: Ozuna. Was. Fuego. His performance was a set list of hits; form “Si No Te Quiere” to “El Farsante” to “Siguelo Bailando” to “Baila Baila Baila” to “Criminal” to “Me Niego” to “China” to “Taki Taki”. It seemed like many delleros had not realized what a mainstay Ozuna is to reggaeton, I saw may people trying to leave early but where held back when he moved on to perform his next hit. As the most anticipated act of the entire festival, the turnout for Ozuna was easily doubled of Logic’s turnout on Saturday.
(Frankly, as a fan, I was a bit disappointed that he didn’t perform “Yo x Ti, Tu x Mi”, that certainly would have been the cherry on top. )
Nostalgic Performance – Jesse & Joy
There was a lot of new talento at Los Dells, but that didn’t outshine the power duo that Jesse & Joy are as pop artists. With the changing music scene, this sibling duo have managed to stay relevant and their performance demonstrated that. While tapping into a large repertoire of pop hits, the nostalgia in their old hit really touched home. And that’s exactly what Jesse & Joy sought to do by bringing family, couples, and friends to singing along to songs like “Sabes a chocolate” and “Espacio Sideral”.
Eyeopening Homegrown Talento – Kiana Ledé
This year’s lineup boasted fresh talent from across the US; to name a few, from Miami, Florida you have Cuban-American rapper Kat Dahlia and from New Jersey you have Mexican-Dominican indie pop artist Ambar Lucid. The biggest fan base for our homegrown talent was for Arizona based R&B artist, Kiana Ledé of Mexican- Native American- African American descent. Adorned in a Selena inspired bustier, Kiana had the crowd bouncin’ to her vibes from “Ex” to “Bouncin”.
Artist Discovery – Salt Cathedral
Music festivals are great for discovering new music. This year, the artist that caught my eye was Salt Cathedral. This NY based duo are Columbian de corazón and it wasn’t until recently that they started to submerge their music in Spanish. And everyone, including Rolling Stone is loving it! Low key a little disappointed with myself that this duo was not on my radar before but I am glad Los Dells gave me the opportunity to not only discover them but also the chance to see them en vivo. Their repertoire boasts a diverse sound, which artistically lies somewhere between Bomba Estsero y Sotomayor. A fusion of electropop y tropical vibes al estilo de Salt Cathedral- Juliana Ronderos’ delicate voice gracefully dances with the mellow electo beats produced by Nicolas Losada.
Most Fun Set List – Carlos Vives
Its hard to really pin point a specific set that was fun. Because if you lived year 3 of Los Dells then you’ll know that each set was LIT. This was a close tie with another music legend, Elvis Crespo, but Carlos Vives took it this year. Carlos’ music is just so wholesome to listen and fun to dance, sing, and dedicate to. Seeing him perform was a treat in itself. Seeing an artist so happy to perform really synergized the crowd. It was the small touches like a gaita solo, an indigenous wind instrument, that contributed to the magical atmosphere already present in the woods and a fantastic show.
Personal Favorite – Clubz
Best Alternativo Performer – Mon Laferte
Crowd Favorite – Elvis Crespo
Festival Heartthrob(s) – CNCO
Queen of the Festival – Natalia Lafourcade
The Black Sheep Performer – Logic
Photography and Story by: Ruben Casas