Chicago’s Ruido Fest: Nostalgic Rock en Español Setlists, Pro-Immigrant Messages & More Highlights


If you asked many Ruido Fest attendees, most were there for the headliners: El Tri, Hombres G and Los Enanitos Verdes and Los Tigres del Norte.

But a few festival goers, like Gabriela and Gilberto from Chicago, were present all three days and happily discovered new artists. “I was introduced to this band called Monsieur Periné and they were so good. I had never heard their music before,” Gabriela told Billboard

New artist discovery is just one of the many perks of a music festival where Los Tigres del Norte fans can also find themselves enjoying swing-pop songs by Colombian band Monsieur.

The Latin alternative festival’s fifth edition, which took place for the first time in Union Park, included a lineup that mixed older artists with newer acts.

This year’s headliners included Los Enanitos Verdes and Hombres G on Friday, El Tri on Saturday and, to change it up a bit, Los Tigres del Norte on Sunday.

Throughout the weekend, other performances that drew significant crowds included rock band El Gran Silencio, ska group Inspector, Los Pericos, a reggae band that was announced last minute to replace Fobia after their appearance was canceled and Mexican singer/songwriter Vanessa Zamora.

Below, check out a few standout moments from this year’s Ruido Fest:

Huevos Revueltos with a side of nostalgia

Wrapping up their epic Huevos Revueltos tour at Ruido Fest, Hombres G and Los Enanitos Verdes performed an emotive setlist that included pop and rock en español classics like “Devuélveme a mi chica,” “Lamento bolino,” “Te quiero” and “La muralla verde.” During their two-hour performance, the lead singers of each band took turns to sing their greatest hits but because of vocal cord issues, it was Hombres G’s frontman who did most of the singing and belted out Enanitos Verdes classics aside from his own. Toward the end of the show, all band members came onstage to toast the end of a historic tour with a shot of tequila and left a pleased crowd with a good life motto: “Be good, be happy and behave.” 

Celebrating 50 years in music

One of the most anticipated performances on Saturday was that of headlining Mexican rock band El Tri whose frontman, Alex Lora, celebrates 50 years in music this year. The rock veteran began his set by singing the Mexican national anthem which he sung in unison with the crowd. The show consisted of back-to-back hits like “Triste canción,” “Las piedras rodantes” and “Metro balderas.” In the middle of his set, he brought out a mask of President Donald Trump that prompted boos from the crowd. “This man has said that we are rapists, that we bring drugs and that we are criminals,” Lora said to the crowd, “he’s wrong. That is not who we are.”

Singin' in the rain

The pouring rain on Sunday didn’t stop Chilean pop star Francisca Valenzuela from singing crowd favorites and feminist anthems like “Tómame,” “Buen soldado” and “Catedral.” Making her Ruido Fest debut, Francisca and her backup dancers put on a show worth getting drenched for. The night before her performance at Ruido, she headlined the “Mujeres Que Hacen Ruido (Women That Make Noise)” show at a local bar. The show was in effort to spotlight more female artists as part of Francisca’s initiative and platform Ruidosa. “This whole movement we have created has made me feel less lonely,” Francisca told Billboard at the fest. “I was missing a sorority. There’s nothing better than sharing experiences and time with women you admire and learning from them.”

Congressman Jesús ‘Chuy’ García with a message

Making a cameo at Ruido Fest on Sunday was Illinois Congressman Jesús ‘Chuy’ Garcia, who recently got elected as the U.S. Representative from Illinois’s 4th district. An immigrant himself, Chuy went onstage before Los Tigres del Norte wrapped up the festival. “Chicago is a city that was founded and made rich by immigrants,” the Democrat said to a cheering crowd. “Chicago was the first city in the nation to declare itself a sanctuary [for immigrants].” The pro-immigrant message comes after Trump postponed the Illegal Immigration Removal Process that was expected this weekend where U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents were to remove “millions of illegal aliens.” Chuy then introduced Los Tigres del Norte: “The songs and corridos they sing reflect the history and reality of our community. They are our allies when it comes to fighting for justice and dignity for immigrants in this country.”

Los Jefes de jefes

Closing Ruido Fest’s fifth edition, iconic Mexican band Los Tigres del Norte went onstage to sing their classic corridos like “La banda del carro rojo” and “Contrabando y traición” and their pro-immigrant anthems such as “Somos más americanos” and “La Jaula de oro.” During a press conference before their show, Los Tigres spoke about the relevance of their songs in a polarizing political environment. “Our music serves as a consolation,” band member Hernan Hernández said. “When we came to the United States we came illegally, too. We can be an example of fighters who want to make a better life for themselves.”