BottleRock’s Festival La Onda Expected to Make History in Napa Valley

Created by the producers of BottleRock, the Latino-themed festival is full of big names from the Latin music industry.

It’s on.

Festival La Onda, an event scheduled to bring some of the biggest Latino acts for a two-day event at the Napa Valley Expo is set for June 1 and 2.

Equipped with the latest technical wizardry and large-scale setup like the most famous music festivals, the producers are hoping to amaze audiences.

Then there’s the acts. Maná, Fuerza Regida, Alejandro Fernández and Junior H and over two dozen more artists. La Onda, which is created by the same producers of Bottlerock, will have bands and soloists known for music genres like rock, reggaeton, ranchera, grupero, tropical, banda and many more.

Dave Graham, the CEO of Bottlerock, is the creator of La Onda.

All the acts will be Latino, but organizers are hoping for an eclectic, distinctive event geared toward people of all ages and musical tastes, he said.

Acts like Fuerza Regida, with their edgy mix of grupero and reggaeton are sure to wow younger audiences, while veterans like Alejandro Fernandez are poised to mesmerize ranchera and romantic music lovers, Graham said. On the other hand, classic Mexican rockers like Maná will be ready to floor audiences with their stadium rock vibe.

“It’s really a world-class lineup mostly consisting of incredible touring Latino artists. You mentioned Maná, arguably the biggest rock and Latino rock band in the world. What we really wanted to do was to make the lineup multi-generational and make it such that Latinos of all ages could go — that it would be cool enough for all the 25-year-olds and approachable enough for someone of my age, and everything in between.”

Junior H will perform at Festival La Onda on June 1 at the Napa Valley Expo. (Courtesy of BottleRock)
Junior H will perform at Festival La Onda on June 1 at the Napa Valley Expo. (Courtesy of BottleRock)

The weekend-long event will offer an immersive experience for festivalgoers who will be able to enjoy their favorite music genres and artists in different settings, from spaces such as elevated lounges, nightclubs, a relaxing spa and a dance club, among other different and innovative options, Graham said.

“When you come to La Onda you’re going to see, for example massive international touring stages, the same stages that you see at Bottlerock, at Coachella, at Lollapalooza. You don’t see that level of production at Latino music festivals. You don’t see double-decker sky decks built around the stages and VIP experiences that are second to none. It just hasn’t existed, and we feel like it’s time for Latinos to experience a Latin music festival of this level.”

Let the music play

La Onda’s organizers expect that crowds will show up to see some big names in Latino entertainment up close. Many artists showcasing the most popular Latino music genres will take the stage.

Some major headliners like Maná have been filling up rock stadiums since the late 1980s. Alejandro Fernandez, son of legendary Mexican ranchera singer Vicente Fernandez, has been one of the chief Latino acts since the mid-1990s.

More novel acts like Fuerza Regida and Junior H are wildly popular among younger audiences. Bands like Los Angeles Azules hit their stride in the cumbia genre in the mid-1990s and they have been on top ever since, creating hit after hit and joining forces with some of the most respected pop artists, like Miguel Bose, Julieta Venegas, Juanes and Yuri.

On the Banda music front, Grammy Award winners La Arrolladora have steamrolled over the Mexican regional music charts. In addition, Café Tacvba, Mon Laferte, Yahritza y Su Esencia, Edén Muñoz, Danna Paola, Farruko, Alex Fernández and many more are scheduled.

So, what motivated Graham, who speaks Spanish, to do La Onda? He said that after looking around and seeing that a large part of Northern Calfornia’s population was Latino, he noticed a lack of Hispanic events and music festivals.

“There is no major Latin music festival in all Northern California. It was time for Latinos in this area, in this community, to have a festival to call their own,” Graham said. “Something for everyone. I think what we expect is for people that attend to be blown away and to experience something that just has not happened in Northern California.”

Alejandro Fernandez will perform at Festival La Onda on June 1 at the Napa Valley Expo. (Courtesy of BottleRock)
Alejandro Fernandez will perform at Festival La Onda on June 1 at the Napa Valley Expo. (Courtesy of BottleRock)

Latino culture

Just one week after Bottlerock, La Onda will follow, Graham said. Though both festivals will share many similarities, like having some of the experienced staff and organizers, the look, culture and feel will be quite different.

Besides the music, the food will be local and Latino, with classics like zesty tacos and other Mexican dishes. Wine lovers will be able to savor Napa and Sonoma wines culled from families like Robledo and other Hispanic-owned wineries.

Instead of bars, there will be cantinas. The beer brands will change, and revelers will have access to different brands of tequilas.

So far, ticket sales have been good, and Graham feels confident everything will go well. The bar for La Onda has been set very high and he knows that his team will learn to do things better for 2025, but so far, he is confident that folks will have a good time.

“I think people are going to be pleasantly surprised,” he said. “We are eagerly awaiting to see the smiles on everyone’s faces.”

If you go

What: Festival La Onda by Bottlerock. A two-day music festival featuring big-name Latino acts.

Where: Napa Valley Expo, 575 3rd St, Napa

When: 10 a.m.-10 p.m. June 1-2

Lineup: Maná, Fuerza Regida, Alejandro Fernández, Junior H, Farruko, Eslabón Armado, Café Tacvba, Los Angeles Azules, Mon Laferte, Gabito Ballesteros, Danna Paola, Yahritza y su Esencia, Maldita Vecindad, La Arrolladora, Edén Muñoz, Gera MX, Ximena Sariñana, Siddharta, YNG Lvcas, Silvana Estrada, Nivel, Allison, Mario Bautista, Alex Fernández, Joss Favela, Kaia Luna, Wonderfox, Agudelo888, Rayburger.


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This article was originally published in La Prensa Sonoma