Besame Mucho Sparks Nostalgia For Latinos Of All Ages: The Besame Mucho Festival was one of those post-pandemic festivals where you first saw the lineup card and immediately asked, “Is this real?” The festival was very real and brought nostalgia to Latinos in Los Angeles, whether you were 20 years old, or 70.
The sheer amount of Spanish music legends on each of the four stages created dilemmas for those who wished to watch every set, but regardless of who you decided to watch, you were leaving Dodger Stadium happy on that chilly Saturday night.
Despite the big names at the end of the card, such as Juanes and Elvis Crespo, perhaps the most special moment of the day came from the ’80s rock en espanol icons, Los Enanitos Verdes, who played their first show since the death of lead singer Marciano Cantero in September.
Cantero and Los Enanitos Verdes were part of an ’80s boom of Spanish rock that carried over into the ’90s, where bands such as theirs, Hombres G, Cafe Tacvba and Sin Bandera dominated Spanish radio. The lead singers for all of those bands mentioned made surprise appearances during the Enanitos set, paying tribute to Cantero and reminiscing over the friendships they all built over the decades. David Summers Rodriguez of Hombres G sang “Mi primer dia sin ti” which translates to “My first day without you,” and couldn’t have been a more heart-wrenching song for not only the band members, but the crowd who belted out every single note like their lives depended on it.
From there, guitarist and now lead vocalist for the Enanitos, Felipe Staiti, carried the performance — something he may have to do going forward, should the band choose to continue without Cantero.
As seems to be tradition at Dodger Stadium whether it’s a game or a concert, a lot of attendees arrived late, but those who arrived earlier in the day were able to really take in the cultural details the Besame Mucho festival had to offer.
You could not walk more than 10 steps without running into art pieces depicting calavera catrines, sugar skulls, aztec symbols, or murals. There was even a wrestling ring where luchador matches were being held throughout the day. The hot dog and churro vendors sprinkled throughout the event also gave off a very L.A. atmosphere when it came time to grab a bite.
Thankfully the Dodger Stadium parking lot was large enough to accommodate four different stages and tens of thousands of people, with the “Clasicas Stage” being conveniently placed within view of the Los Angeles skyline, and the “Rockero Stage” cozily nestled between the Chavez Ravine hills, almost giving it a Hollywood Bowl-like feel.
Regardless of the stage, you were going to be hit with flashbacks to family parties and high school house parties with friends. The Rockero stage saw bands such as Juanes and Cafe Tacvba play their most popular songs, while several guests went all-in with the theme, arriving in jean jackets, worn Chuck Taylor’s and pompadours.
The Clasicas stage went heavy on the banda sets and stood between the other stages, so even if your intent was to make your way to a stage across the parking lot, you couldn’t help but spend a couple of minutes at the Clasicas stage and dance your way through a few songs from Banda Machos or Grupo Kual.
When Los Angeles Azules hit the stage with their familiar cumbia hits, multiple bailes broke off in the audience, making it feel like the dance floor of your favorite Spanish night club.
By the end of the night, the toughest decision had to be made, as Juanes, Los Tigres del Norte, Paulina Rubio, Alejandra Guzman and Elvis Crespo were all scheduled closely together.
By then it was clear who the majority of festival goers were there to see, and why many elderly folks made the trek to an all-day music festival — Los Tigres del Norte.
The Mexican band that was formed in the 60s, entertained multiple generations of Mexicans, has been a mainstay of Mexican parties and will continue to for generations to come, was the can’t-miss set. Several of the original band members are still in place and for a band with a nearly 50-year legacy, you don’t know how much longer you will get that original spark.
So if you told your abuelito that he could listen to “Jefe de jefes,” or “mi sangre prisionera,” one last time live, at a festival that celebrated Mexican culture and Spanish music for 12 hours, there’s a good chance they’d take it, and many did.
Besame Mucho Sparks Nostalgia For Latinos Of All Ages
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