If it wasn’t for the Curative truck parked right in front of the festival’s entrance administering free COVID-19 tests, the healthcare workers inoculating festival-goers who hadn’t been fully vaccinated and some attendees wearing face masks, Ruido Fest 2021 seemed like any other year offering a space for Chicago’s Latin community to enjoy music by Latinos for Latinos.
“It’s important to have festivals like Ruido because we could just be ourselves and that’s okay,” explained Colombian artist Lido Pimienta during a press conference after her 45-minute set. “There’s no pressure of now I have to do a dance song or one with a reggaeton beat because otherwise it’s not going to be popular or even become this entertaining monkey for white people. If a festival that is for our people and if they want me to play, then it means I’m doing something right.”
Pimienta performed not too early but not too late in the day taking the stage at 4:45pm CT dressed in a beautiful, head-turning outfit that was made out of Mexican textiles. As ever, she kept it real during her set singing updates on technical difficulties she was having and sharing anecdotes, including one with an ex-boyfriend. “I left him and he threatened to post naked photos of me online,” she said. “So, I called my mom who is Colombian and indigenous and she called to tell him, ‘please post those photos of her. That’s how Kim Kardashian got rich and I don’t want to work anymore.'”
Other artists who performed throughout Sunday included Las Nubes, Little Jesus, Diamante Eléctrico, El Shirota and Ambar Lucid.
Tacvba took the stage a little past 8pm to perform a nostalgic set that included oldies but goodies such as “Las Flores, “Como Te Extraño Mi Amor,” “Chilanga Banda,” “El Fin de la Infancia” “Rarotonga,” “La Chica Banda” “El Puñal y el Corazón” and “Las Batallas.”
A stand-out moment was when a fan made his way through the sea of people carrying a giant painting of Albarrán’s face inspired by the band’s cover art for the single “Un Par de Lugares.” After reaching the very front of the crowd, Albarrán walked over to grab the special gift. “To Rubén from your friend Daniel,” he read. “Qué chingon. Thank you so much!”
Toward the end of their nearly two-hour set, Albarrán once again thanked fans and confessed, “we missed you all so much, and we missed making love to you all via our music.”