Vive Latino 2013: Mexico’s Biggest Rock Festival

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In the dry heat of early afternoon, the stadium floor before the main stage is full but not yet crowded. Fans up front jump to Columbian group Chico Trujillo and their festival-friendly mix of rock and cumbia. Farther back, near the sound booth, kids pull up black cloth tarps from the ground and use them to launch each other high into the air. Other folks wave long neon balloons while clapping and singing along.

Alcohol finally goes on sale at 3:00. A ripple of excitement passes through the crowd. Chico Trujillo is momentarily forgotten as thousand of fans scream at long-suffering beer vendors.

Foro Sol, the site of Mexico City’s yearly Vive Latino music festival, is a baseball stadium surrounded by a racetrack. Huge speakers and Indio beer advertisements dwarf 10-piece bands on the main stage. Three side stages are arranged on the grounds outside, where you can sit on the lawn or push your way inside a sweaty tent.

Out on the track are t-shirt vendors, autograph signings, CD exhibits and hordes of smiling people. Surprisingly, there isn’t much for food – no tacos or other Mexican specialties – but Domino’s pizza, burgers and hotdogs. Beer is plentiful. In exchange for something like ten empty cups, fans are given a raffle ticket for some vague prize, so drunken folks stumble around carrying long stacks.

Blur and Morrissey topped the listings of the 2013 edition of Vive Latino, but the all-Latin lineup of Sunday, the final day, was the real draw. All seven groups are popular but still cool. They represent a diverse side of Latin rock that doesn’t get nearly enough attention in the U.S.


Bomba Estereo:

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Pato Machete w/ guest Celso Pina:

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Panteon Rococo:


Los Fabulosos Cadillacs (the big draw of the night):

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Why burn out your lighter when you have a cell phone?

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The closer, my surprise favorite, Nortec:

Last year I walked around, ate food, saw new bands at side stages, and observed the scene. This year every band in the lineup was great. This year my girlfriend and I watched the first bands on the floor and then found a chill spot in the bleachers. I drank beer and we watched concerts.

If you want to get into Latin music, listen to the bands that played on Sunday of Vive Latino 2013. Unless you don’t like ska, cumbia, rock, punk, or electronic/norteña.


About Ted Campbell

U.S.-Canadian writer, translator and university teacher in Mexico. Travel stories and practical tips on my blog No Hay Bronca: Twitter: @NoHayBroncaBlog // Contact: nohaybroncablog (at)

Posted on March 22, 2013, in Mexico, Music and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

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