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RECAP: Everything You Need to Know About Tropicália 2018

Photo by Natalie Somekh

At Tropicália Music and Taco Festival this past weekend, a comprehensive list of Latinx musicians and artists adorned the stages. From La Sonora Dinamita, Chicano Batman, and Natalia Lafourcade to The Marías, Clairo, and Gus Dapperton, many musical styles filled the park. Families and friends, young and old, were there to support their favorites and discover new ones.

And there were plenty of unexpected surprises. Cardi B, Cuco, BadBadNotGood, and Ronnie Spector couldn’t make it last minute and were replaced by Brenton Wood and SZA; however, they did not disappoint and neither did an array of artists.

People were blown away by a live beatbox performance during Phum Viphurit’s set, moshed to The Garden, crowd surfed during Boy Pablo, and jumped on stage to hug Morrissey. Yes, people lost it during Morrissey’s 1988 track “Everyday Is Like Sunday,” and several people pushed their way through security for a chance to hug Morrissey. Also, Kali Uchis ripped her pants mid-set and naturally, still killed it!

Photos by Joseph Baura and Natalie Somekh.

This was the first year the event was held over two days, and both days brought enormous crowds. The largest stage, the Chalino Stage, was adjacent to the water while the other smaller, identical stages, Juanga Stage and Chavela Stage, were on the opposite side of the park. The small stages were right next to each other and performances were staggered throughout the event.

People easily switched back and forth between the two sides of the park this year because guests had two options: they could use the underground tunnel or a temporarily-constructed bridge for easy transportation. At one end of the tunnel, colorful fabrics were draped overhead and on the other end, picado banners were strung above. They also had an el mercado backdrop for photos.

Compared to other events put on by Goldenvoice, such as Coachella, Stagecoach and FYF, there weren’t as many decorations; but I guess that’s because the Queen Mary, the downtown skyline, and gorgeous sunsets were big enough attractions.

Unlike last year’s event, there were no free tacos. But this didn’t stop attendees from eating delicious food (and lots of it.) Mason’s Den’s colorful unicorn elote and Vchos Tuck’s handmade pupusas were among the delicious traditional Latin dishes with a modern twist.

On Saturday, from 5 p.m. until 11 p.m., only vegetarian food was served and no one seemed to mind. The menu alteration was most likely because Morrissey is vegan and a huge animal rights activist.

Photos by Joseph Baura

Overall, guests swayed to the melodic sounds of Omar Apollo and danced to the piano riffs of Chicano Batman. They cha-chaed to mariachi music from Flor de Toloache and got weird with Mac DeMarco as he took the stage in a blow-up suit. Tropicália was definitely all its own but very Long Beach, exuding a diverse Chicano and Latino culture at the core of it all.


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