The Two Sides of TriTone Latin Music Festival's Downsized Ambitions

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The TriTone Latin Music and Arts Festival is set to kick off a month from today, starting on October 19 in Chino. As interested would-be festival goers have definitely taken notice, the lineup of talent has slimmed down considerably from when it was originally announced. Back then, TriTone boasted an assembled roster of artists uniting three key eras of rock en español and Latin Alternative music crossing generations and borders.

Even better, it was all set to take place at Prado Regional Park in mid-October, avoiding Coachella-style commutes and sizzling temperatures. As great as it all had sounded, the first-time festival flirted with ambitious overreach starting out as a three-day weekend event with no single-day passes available for a niche musical genre still trying to find its place in Southern California. More bands were promised, though, but as TriTone nears, many of big name draws have disappeared. What happened?

"Essentially we had to downsize the whole show to keep it alive," says Rick Ortega of BRC Entertainment. "A lot of the bands have decided to not participate anymore because of the length of time we took to get all of our things in order and when we were finally able to move forward with our bands they either already rescheduled...or they just lost faith in the show."

The first night is now a free showcase of DJs from Mexico and Los Angeles. On Saturday, bilingual songstress Ximena Sariñana will headline backed by Ceci Bastida. TriTone's strongest bill is its Sunday closer with El Tri, Ozomatli, Poncho Sanchez, Conjunto Nueva Ola, and Inspector all in the mix. Gone altogether from the entire weekend, though, are acts like Carla Morrison, Zoé, Los Bunkers and La Santa Cecilia.


"I can assure you now we are stronger than ever," Ortega still contends while openly admitting to mistakes. "We were fortunate enough to have held on to the bands that we have to still create a great experience for any fan of Latin music." Festival organizers blamed poor ticket sales and failure to secure advertising time on Super Estrella radio in an Al Borde article last month for the changes. Now, weekend passes are a thing of a past as Saturday's show is priced at $15 and Sunday's lineup will cost concertgoers $25.

There's two sides to the TriTone story, however, where blame goes beyond Super Estrella and poor ticket sales. "MX LIVE Entertainment was contacted to do talent buying for the festival," says Saul Garcia of the Santa Ana-based booking agency. "However, BRC defaulted on their scheduled deposits and are in breach of contract. Taking into account that many of the terms originally promised were not being kept, artists were forced to cancel participation."

The exodus of MX LIVE associated acts has set up a weekend of rivaling rock en español and Latin Alternative shows. "Fortunately, we were able to place Zoé, Fobia and Los Bunkers for once in lifetime bill for two OC dates," Garcia tells the Weekly in answering the popular question of where the bands had gone.

The three groups will take the stage the very same weekend as the TriTone Festival performing October 19 at the City National Grove of Anaheim and again on October 21 at the Observatory in Santa Ana.

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