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Three Cities, Four Festivals, One Alt.Latino Weekend

Los Pericos played at Ruido Fest in Chicago's Addams/Medill Park on July 10.
Maria Madrigal
Courtesy of Ruido Fest
Los Pericos played at Ruido Fest in Chicago's Addams/Medill Park on July 10.

A common complaint of bands playing Latin Alternative music is that it's almost impossible to be included in the lineups of the big multi-day summer music festivals that take place across the country.

With very few exceptions, mega-fests like Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo and Coachella ignore the music and its fans. Latin Alternative enthusiasts often go to those festivals anyway, of course, because we don't just listen to one kind of music and are fans of the bands, big and small, who play those events.

Fortunately, though, there are now summer music festivals that feature bands from Latin America, Spain and the U.S. that play rock, hip-hop, noise, pop, trap and just about any other form of contemporary Latin music.

That's the good news.

The bad news: Most of them happen on the same weekend. Which creates a challenge for us at Alt.Latino to get out and visit with the musicians and fans who attend those festivals. But, as they say in The Godfather Part II, it's "difficult, not impossible."

So, with a little help from our friends, we bring you four festivals in three cities, all taking place within 48 hours of each other: Nuevo Fest in Philadelphia, Ruido Fest in Chicago, and the Afro Latino Fest in New York City — the last of which is coupled with the Latin Alternative Music Conference, an annual gathering of Latin Alternative musicians and fans that's been going for 17 years now.

This week's show is packed with summer fun and music. Maybe next summer we'll see you at one of these fests!

Watch performance videos from Nuevo Fest at WXPN's Latin Roots and interviews from Ruido Fest on Alt.Latino's Facebook page.

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Felix Contreras
Felix Contreras is co-creator and co-host of Alt.Latino, NPR's pioneering radio show and podcast celebrating Latin music and culture since 2010.