About This Festival
The 4-day Vive Latino, which began in 2000, is a massive annual rock, alternative rock, and Latin American music festival, that is held in Mexico City's Foro Sol (Sun Forum), each spring between late March and early May.
Upwards of 70,000 high-energy music lovers each day swarm Vive Latino, endlessly moving, clapping, singing, and rocking to the beats a huge bill of acts playing a variety of genres, some well outside of the mainstream. Latina rappers? The best perform in the Vive Latino lineup. Legendary international bands rock on the main stage and up and coming Latin American artists are also prevalent.
Besides the main stage concerts, there are multiple other stages for music and cultural activities – street theater, slam poetry and dance performances. The Ambulante Documentary Film Festival, founded by Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal, takes place in a large tent. It's become a part of Vive Latino in the last several years, and is a break from music and dancing.
Vive Latino's Diverse Lineup
Vive Latino, as the name suggests, started with a focus on Latin American music, but has grown with groups from other regions and in other languages besides Spanish and English, expanding each year to one of the largest and most significant music festivals in the world. It has drawn headliners from the U.S. like Jane's Addiction, Nine Inch Nails and Los Lobos, groups from Europe and the Spanish-speaking world. Besides rock and Latin music, Vive Latino features ska and reggae acts, including bands with ardent followers like The Wailers, Fishbone, Skatalites, and Desmond Dekker.
The Foro Sol was built in 1993 as a sports and concert venue inside the vast Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez complex in eastern Mexico City, about a 10-minute drive from the city's international airport. Foro Sol is the second largest concert venue in Mexico after Estadio Azteco, which holds 105,000 people.
Among the notable Foro Sol concerts over the years were three in 2009 by Metallica, which recorded their World Magnetic Tour shows at Foro Sol.
Collateral Benefits of the DF
Vive Latino's setting is Mexico's capital city, a vast and vibrant metropolis with a fascinating, long history. Most of the main tourist attractions are in the historic center, including the huge main square, Plaza de la Constitution, second only in size to Moscow's Red Square. In walking distance are the National Palace, the ancient Mayan Templo Mayor (a sacred Aztec temple accidentally discovered in 1978) and the grand Metropolitan Cathedral.
The city's large leafy swatch of recreational land, Chapultepec Park, is a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle. It is home to a must-see attraction, the National Museum of Anthropology, the country's beautiful premier museum devoted to the wonders of the Aztecs, Mayans and ancient civilizations, all brilliantly displayed.
Visitors also enjoy exploring Mexico City's neighborhoods and its famous all-night club and disco scene, particularly posh Polanco, Zona Rosa, Condesa, San Angel and Coyoacan, where Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo lived (their home is open to the public).
However, the primary focus of those who travel to Mexico City for Vive Latino is typically not seeing historic sites. It's to immerse themselves in the loud, enthusiastic crowds that are wildly passionate about the music and bands on the long festival roster. Thousands pack the huge Foro Sol for hours on end specifically to take in the artists they may have followed for years from afar. It's a large, exciting communal music and cultural experience that makes Vive Latino unforgettable.
And, if you can't make it, you can always watch from home. The concerts are all broadcast on the Vive Latino website for live streaming.