On Saturday and Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend, the second Sueños Music Festival was held at Grant Park.
Its creators, C3 Presents of Lollapalooza and La Familia of Baja Beach Fest, dreamt up Sueños (dreams, in English) with the intention of producing an “inclusive event” and “uplift[ing] Latin culture” – according to an article released in Live Nation – hence its entirely Latin lineup.
Wisin y Yandel, Feid, Arcángel and Chencho Corleone – regulars within the genre of reggaeton – performed Saturday alongside El Alfa, Gera MX, Ivy Queen, paopao, YOVNGCHIMI, DJ Gordo, DJ Miriam and Sorry Papi.
Grupo Firme, Nicky Jam, Becky G and Eladio Carrion were Sunday’s headliners, with Myke Towers, Junior H, Ryan Castro, Chanell, Young Miko, DJ Chava, DJ Dynamiq, DJ Fredy Fresco and Sorry Papi (a Saturday returner) entertaining as well.
“This is what it’s all about – to take up space, to be in places we deserve to be,” Becky G said during her set. Her comment was in reference to both C3 Presents and La Familia’s intentions and the increased popularity of Latin music within the entertainment industry. Becky G, who first rose to prominence in the English-language market with her single “Shower,” has since transitioned to authoring predominantly Spanish lyrics. “If you've ever been told you're too small or not enough, te quiero mucho,” she concluded.
In between sets, Sueños attendees could indulge in authentic Latin cuisine offered by the 20 or so vendors in attendance. I found Normita’s horchata latte and Tacotlán’s quesabirria to be particularly enjoyable.
Having refueled, festival-goers participated in sponsored activities, many of which supplied photo opportunities for those interested in cultivating their social media feeds. The ferris wheel and trade-name vendors (Don Julio, Red Bull and Corona) seemed to be the most desirable of photo ops, if the throng of attendees at each spot was any indication.
Additionally, attendees were able to purchase exclusive merchandise designed by Chicago-based artist Louis De Guzman. Like the sweltering weekend, De Guzman’s whimsical hoodies, offered in cream, were a hot commodity. In fact, much of Sueños’ 2023 merchandise sold out prior to the festival via their online site.
C3 Presents and La Familia strove to highlight Latin culture within the Chicago community – both by hiring Latin vendors to supply additional goods to their guests and donating $50,000 to four organizations of the festival's choosing. One organization was the Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center (SRBCC), a local center that encourages those of Puerto Rican and Afro-Latin descent to embrace their cultures. The other three organizations Sueños donated to were The National Museum of Mexican Art, Pilsen Neighbors Community Council and Puerto Rican Arts Alliance.
In its two years, Sueños has done much to promote the celebration of Latin music, and if interest in the festival remains, C3 Presents and La Familia intend to continue doing so. Given the festival’s 2024 waitlist that has amassed post-Sunday’s sets, I’d argue Sueños is on an upward slope, its peak not yet in sight.