Latin music festivals tend to stick to a genre and run with it.
Rock Fiesta, held in the Arizona desert last spring, focused on rock and electronica. The Supersonico festival, which is held in Los Angeles annually, tends to focus on indie and experimental acts.
That’s part of what makes the L Festival, to be held at the Pico Rivera Sports Arena on the March 18-19 weekend, such a curious musical phenomenon: The line-up will have a little bit of Latin everything.
There will traditional balladeering by the likes of Mexican crooners Alejandro Fernandez and Marco Antonio Solis. Grammy-winning acts such as Jesse & Joy and Juanes will deliver strong doses of pop. And Banda El Recodo and Los Tigres del Norte will offer samplings of Mexican regional music. And, of course, there’s the reggaeton.
The line-up also includes Colombian superstar J. Balvin, as well as Daddy Yankee and Luis Fonsi — the latter of whom will be performing their smash duet “Despacito” live for the first time.
“A lot of people have a hard time seeing multiple Latino genres together,” says Gustavo Lopez, executive vice president and general manager at Universal Latin Music Entertainment, which organizes the festival. “But I’m the kind of listener, that I don’t care if it’s regional Mexican or reggaeton or pop. I just love music. And I want to attract that type of fan.”
Also on deck will be a very special hologram performance featuring the late banda singer Jenni Rivera, the Long Beach native who died in a plane crash in 2012.
“We’re going to be debuting a brand new song that Jenni recorded but never released,” says Lopez. “It will be about a 14-minute performance. It’s a combination of hits and the new song.”
The song, titled “La Diva,” will pay tribute to the beloved singer.
This is the second iteration of the two-day L festival, which debuted in the fall of 2015 at the Orange County Fair Grounds with a genre-busting line-up that included performers such as pop crooners Enrique Iglesias and Juan Gabriel and Mexican regional singer Julión Alvarez.
Lopez says the show was a success for an inaugural festival — drawing 12,000 people a day. But since then there have been some tweaks to the program.
The most significant: They’ve moved the show from Orange County to L.A. County, where the majority of ticket buyers hailed from. “We sold 84% of our tickets out of Los Angeles the last time,” says Lopez. “So the early feedback from a lot of people was, ‘We’d love for it to be closer to Los Angeles.’”
Likewise, a curfew in Orange County prevented the show from going past 10 p.m. That’s not the case at Pico Rivera, where there will be two stages offering performances into the night.
Though the show is organized by Universal, the line-up features artists from across various Latin music labels, as well as local Los Angeles acts, such as the cumbia band El Conjunto Nueva Ola and balladeer Lupita Infante.
“There’s nothing like the L Festival in terms of the quality of the artists,” says Lopez. “It’s a family event that everyone can enjoy.”
The plan, he adds, is for the festival to become an annual event.
Where: Pico Rivera Sports Arena, 11003 E. Rooks Road, Pico Rivera
When: March 18 and 19
Day 1: Doors open at 2 p.m., performances kick off at 3:00 p.m. and run through 12:45 a.m., and include shows by Intocable, Banda El Recodo, Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee, Juanes and Alejandro Fernandez
Day 2: Doors open at 2 p.m., performances kick off at 2:15 p.m. and run through 10:25 p.m., and include shows by Jesse & Joy, J. Balvin, Los Tigres del Norte, the Jenni Rivera hologram and Marco Antonio Solis.
Admission: Tickets from $89 for one day; $149 for a two-day pass