Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico- The second annual Baja Beach Fest was held from Friday, August 16th to Saturday August 17th, 2019 just meters from the crashing waves of Rosarito Beach. The lineup for Friday included: Ozuna, J Balvin, Brytiago, Cazzu, Dj Luian, Jowell y Randy, Natalia & Esther, AJ Kallejero, DJ C, DJ Africa, DJ Freddy Fresco, and DJ Dynamiq. The Saturday lineup included: Bad Bunny, Nicky Jam, Becky G, Alex Rose, Amenazzy, De La Ghetto, Lyanno, Sergio Elias, Dynamik, AMPZ, Dj Nano, DJ Freddy Fresco, and DJ Susie. The tens of thousands of fans who attended shared the excitement from great performances by the most popular artists in music and other emerging ones. The Baja California sun and the constant ocean breeze combined to create an ideal backdrop for the Latin trap and reggaeton thundering from the stage.
DJ Freddy Fresco was the host and he injected his performance with constant messages of Latino unity and resistance as flags of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Mexico were seen waving in the crowd. The constant messages of unity felt appropriate for a city near the Mexican-American border. Despite current political divisiveness, Rosarito is a city that benefits economically from tourism, especially American.
The Colombian J Balvin came out to his psychedelic-inspired set dressed in a white outfit decorated with multi-colored prints and neon green glasses. He proclaimed pride for his “Latino Gang” and delivered a great performance. The man played hit after hit as his dancers danced to the beats. J Balvin’s long set included songs from Bad Bunny’s Oasis collaboration. He even had Jowell Y Randy back onstage from their earlier performance to sing “Bonita” with him. After continuous hits, he closed out with “Mi Gente.”
Ozuna, who we covered in Long Beach, CA, had the women pumped up. The men were also cheering, but the women were conspicuously more excited. He seemed to reenergize the tiring crowd, many of which had been trekking, drinking, and dancing perreo in the sand for hours. His performance of “Taki Taki” capped a very entertaining Friday night.
On Saturday, De La Ghetto performed with a sense of anticipation because he and the gathered fans knew that two Puerto Rican all-stars and a Chicana from Inglewood would follow his performance. The American of Puerto Rican descent rapped and sang his songs through his set. Additionally, he promoted other artists in the festival lineup. De La Ghetto relished the role of a hypeman as he encouraged the crowd to cheer, chant, and dance to his music and that of other artists.
The beautiful Chicana singer Becky G was a good transition from the trap and reggaeton. She announced she was excited to play in Rosarito because of her Mexican and American heritage. She then shouted-out her hometown of Inglewood, California. Unapologetically speaking Spanglish, she explained the pride she felt for creating music that was able to transcend borders. She also disclosed her feeling of alienation because she recalled being criticized as being too American to some and too Mexican to others. The Chicana artist used her interludes skillfully to share her thoughts; she transitioned from speech to music smoothly. Becky G danced provocatively and radiated with confidence. She sang her big hits like “Banana,” “Sin Pijama,” and “Mayores,” in addition to many others.
Reggaeton superstar Nicky Jam followed and brought contagious excitement to the fans. His set prominently showcased the talent of both his guitarist and his dj. The guitarist performed a very impressive Colombian Vallenato solo after being introduced. Nicky Jam went on to explain how Colombian Vallenato music influenced his songs because of his ten years living in that country. When allowed to take over by Nicky Jam, the set dj played house, reggaeton, and trap to keep the show lively. Nicky Jam was very entertaining with his own performances of “Te Bote” and “Hasta El Amenecer.” The Boricua even played songs from more than ten years back. He finished his performance by kissing the ground and expressed gratitude to Mexico and the fans in attendance.
Headliner Bad Bunny, aka El Conejo Malo, performed dressed in bright pink sweat suit with a blue mask covering his mouth and white rimmed glasses covering the rest of his face. As the show progressed, he revealed more of himself musically and personally, as he dropped his hood and mask. He ran back and forth across the stage several times during his performance. The Puerto Rican also high-stepped and strutted to the beats of his music. His well-choreographed performance was artistic and one felt one was traveling with him to Puerto Rico at times because the production was that good. He deserved the constant thunderous applauses and screams of the fans because he performed memorably. His performances of “Te Bote,” “Caro,” and “Mia” enthused the crowd, but the enthusiasm peaked at his finale “Callaito.” The following lyrics from the song, encapsulate the festival, “si hay sol, hay playa, si hay playa, hay alcohol, si hay alcohol, hay sexo, si es contigo, mejor.” Bad Bunny and the Latino Gang gave those gathered in Rosarito an impressive musical amalgam of Latino Caribbean culture.