After a scaled-back season, Ruido Fest will bring the noise at maximum volume Friday through Sunday in Union Park.
Founded in 2015, the annual alternative Latin rock festival will feature almost 50 bands performing on three stages, along other related attractions. Ruido means “noise” in English, and there will be lots of musical exuberance from headliners such as Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, Maldita Vecindad, Babasónicos, Carla Morrison, Cuco and Cypress Hill.
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Due to the pandemic, Ruido slimmed down to 30 acts on two stages in 2021.
“Last year, there remained uncertainly about the market. Many bands couldn’t get travel visas, so scaling back was a better approach,” said Max Wagner, co-founder of Ruido Fest and owner of Metronome Chicago (which stages Ruido, along with Riot Fest Presents). “Now that things are returning somewhat to normal, we were able to expand again.”
Two milestones this year are Ruido’s first hip-hop headliner, Cypress Hill, which helped to kick-start the rap boom in the early ’90s, and the first U.S.-born headliner, singer-songwriter Cuco.
When: Aug. 19-21
Where: Union Park, 1501 W. Randolph
“We’ve always featured all Latin styles, from rock to reggaeton,” Wagner said. “Cypress Hill has not toured Chicago extensively, and ’90s hip-hop is definitely having a moment right now. Ruido has been mainly rock in the past, but this year, there’s a significant hip-hop component,” citing Mexican rapper C-Kan, the Mexican-American duo Browns Crew and Goyo, formerly of the Colombian hip-hop group ChocQuibTown.
Cuco also represents a significant change.
“When Ruido started, there wasn’t an appropriate American-born headliner around,” Wagner said. “However, the country and Latin music have evolved, and we want to change along with it.”
Another goal that Ruido organizers hope to achieve eventually is landing a Chicago headliner.
“Having a third stage allows us to book more local acts,” he said. “We want to feature more local talent, because there are a lot of great bands coming out of Chicago. If we’re not trying to grow the scene here, then we’re not doing our job.”
Though Ruido Fest occurs on the same weekend as the Soldier Field concert of Latin superstar Bad Bunny, and this summer has brought two urban Latin festivals to Chicago, Wagner isn’t worried.
“I welcome more festivals and concerts,” he said. “It means the scene is growing. I don’t look it as competing for customers. The more events, the better.”
As for the conflicting Bad Bunny concert, Wagner said, “Does Live Nation [the concert’s promoter, along with CMN] check with anyone?” He laughed and added, “It’s Chicago, there are a million things going on each weekend. With more of the industry saying we’re going to Chicago, it helps to grow the scene. It also opens more options for the consumer.”
Wagner’s focus remains on making Ruido “the best it can be.” Along with the music, “lucha libre [Mexican-style wrestling] is back, along with some giveaways, cool merch and great food vendors,” he said. “Each year, Ruido has grown a little bit. We want the experience to go beyond the bands, while keeping it as safe, clean and inviting as possible.”
Among the bands at Ruido 2022:
6 p.m., Ed Maverick (Noise Stage): Just 21 and already a Latin Grammy winner, the Mexican singer-songwriter saw his career take off when his music went viral on Spotify.
7:45 p.m., Babasónicos (Noise Stage): With 11 studio discs over three decades, Babasónicos describes its mission as “being in charge of destabilizing Argentine rock from the very heart of the beast.”
8:30 p.m., Nortec Collective (Fiesta Stage): Fusing techno/electronica with Mexican folk-based genres such as norteño and banda, the group is a cooperative of musicians, DJs and producers. The Ruido show will feature original members Bostich and Fussible.
8:45 p.m., Cuco (Ruido Stage): A leader in the DIY “bedroom pop” genre, the Hawthorne, California, native born as Omar Banos composes and sings in Spanish and English. His latest disc is “Fantasy Gateway,” released last month.
4:45 p.m., Porter (Ruido Stage): From Guadalajara, Mexico, the group has been in the vanguard of the Latin indie rock/electronica/experimental music movement since 2004.
6:15 p.m., Siddharta (Ruido Stage): From Mexico (and named after the Hermann Hesse novel), this is the solo project of Jorge González Ibarra, former drummer of alt-Latin rockers Zoé.
7 p.m., Carla Morrison (Noise Stage): The Mexican singer-songwriter, a triple Latin Grammy winner, calls her latest disc, “El Renacimiento” (2022), “a love letter to the self” after a two-year hiatus triggered by personal setbacks.
8 p.m., Los Fabulosos Cadillacs (Ruido Stage): From Argentina, the ska-rock band often described as “the Rolling Stones of Latin America” returns to Ruido for the first time since 2016.
9 p.m., Silverio (Fiesta Stage): Known for his showmanship and flamboyant lucha libre attire, the Mexican rocker is a Ruido favorite, appearing at every event since 2015.
5 p.m., Hello Seahorse! (Ruido Stage): Based in Mexico City, the Latin pop-rock group is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its acclaimed disc “Arunima.”
5:45 p.m., Ely Guerra (Noise Stage): A pioneer of the Mexican indie-rock movement, Guerra released her debut disc in 1992. She describes her latest, “Zion” (2019), as “a personal journey through my many different voices.”
7:30 p.m., Maldita Vecindad (Noise Stage): Founded in 1985, Mexico’s veteran ska-rock band is touring after the death of its co-founder Eulalio “Sax” Cervantes from COVID-19 complications last year.
8:30 p.m., Cypress Hill (Ruido Stage): The SoCal-based hip-hop group, one of the first to rap in Spanish and best known for its 1993 breakthrough hit “Insane in the Brain,” just released its 10th studio disc, “Back in Black” (2022).