Sueños Music Festival 2022: Backstage With The Festival DJs
Written by Vocalo Radio on June 3, 2022
Pictured above: “Thousands of music fans packed Grant Park for the Suenos Music Festival on Saturday, May 28, 2022.” Kate Scott for the Chicago Sun-Times.
Sueños Music Festival made Chicago history this year as the city’s first — and the largest — Latin reggaeton music festival, held in Grant Park. Afternoons host Nudia Hernandez made her way backstage Sunday to chat with DJs Fredy Fresco, Miriam and Dynamiq about the festival…
Listen to our full coverage of Sueños Festival and read more below…
An estimated 95,000 people made their way to Grant Park over the weekend to hear corridos, dembow, Latin trap, ranchero and reggaeton from some of their favorite artists in Latin music at the first Sueños Music Festival. Sueños, the Spanish word for dreams, had fans feeling euphoric with huge artists hitting the stage — from Farruko, Ozuna, Jhay Cortez, to Wisin y Yandel, reggaeton legends on their last tour, and J. Balvin, who returned to Grant Park after making history at Lollapalooza 2019 as the festival’s first Latino headliner.
While most fans came to see artists perform, the stars of the show quickly became the official festival DJs who kept the party alive between sets. The Sueños bill had three festival DJs: DJ Fredy Fresco from Mexico, DJ Dynamiq from San Diego and Chicago’s own DJ Miriam Paz. Backstage on Sunday, the three broke down the ins and outs of festival DJ life.
DJ Fredy Fresco is part of some of the biggest reggaeton festivals in the world, like Baja Beach Fest — whose organizers created Sueños.
“They love what I do at Baja. They’re like, ‘Fredy, are you down?’” he recalled of his initial involvement with the festival. “We live in a time right now where Latin music is dominating everything right now. It’s a big movement, it’s a big culture. I’m just blessed and honored to be a part of it… it’s something that’s gonna forever be remembered.”
Later that afternoon, Fredy announced to the crowd a special guest was about to take the stage. Moments later, Mayor Lori Lightfoot stepped out to say a few words of encouragement to festival-goers to have fun and be safe.
“We’ve got local Chicago talent that’ll be performing for you… I want to give a special shout out to Miriam Paz, also known as DJ Miriam,” Lightfoot said. “As you know, talent in the Latinx community in Chicago is everywhere and we are going to be celebrating that talent over the course of this festival.”
As Mayor Lightfoot mentioned, DJ Miriam made the stacked lineup alongside some of the biggest names in Latin music — though she was one of just three female artists on the roster. The festival’s other two female performers were La Gabi, the first artist signed by J Balvin’s label MA’ G Nation, and Dominican dembow rapper Tokischa.
“It’s incredible,” Miriam expressed. “To be able to just represent women… in a male-dominant industry is something that is really, really special, and also a lot of responsibility… We have always been undermined and always just been pushed back or, like, been pushed to the side…
“I’m just glad to be able to live in this generation where I could be that person who is opening up and who is a female who is representing all Latinas not only in Chicago but all over the world,” she continued. “And not Latinas, but women, all over the world. ”
DJ Dynamiq is no stranger to sharing the stage with huge entertainers in the Latin music industry, from Bad Bunny to J. Balvin. He spoke about the struggle of being a Latin DJ before the genre was as mainstream and popular as it is now.
“It’s been a journey… growing up listening to reggaeton all my life, and as a DJ transitioning, like, my love for reggaeton and Spanish music into like my DJ sets,” he explained. “I’ve been told many times, ‘Dynamiq, you can’t play reggaeton at this club. Dynamiq, you can’t play cumbias at this club.’ But I always stuck to my guns and I always stuck to what I believe in and my culture.
“I always said, ‘Look, this is what I do. You like Dymaniq? This is who I am. Imma play Latin, Imma play cumbias, Imma play reggaeton, Imma play dembow. You don’t like it? Then I’m not your DJ.’”
By the end of Sueños day two, around 50,000 people gathered to see closing headliner J. Balvin perform. He addressed everyone in the crowd with gratitude, Latinx and non-Latinx fans alike.
“¡Mi nombre es Jose, pero algunos me dicen J. Balvin, man!” [My name is Jose, but they call me J.Balvin, man!] he said as the audience cheered. “I wanna know, who is not Latino that are in the crowd right now? … We really thankful and grateful for your support, because you guys are amazing. Thank you guys, but also, para mi Latinos, gracias para apoyo y representando.” [… but for my Latinos, thank you for the support and representing.]
Written and produced by Nudia Hernandez
Photography by Kate Scott for the Chicago Sun Times. More from Kate at https://katescottphotography.net/.
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