The LatiNxt festival offers avant-garde grooves with a generous roots side

LatiNxt is the kind of festival I enjoy the most. This free two-day festival on Navy Pier is geared towards the pulse of the current scene and allows spectators to make new musical discoveries. Now in its fifth year, LatiNxt offers 17 performances on two stages a day, organized by local Latinx collective Future Rootz. They have created programming that showcases musical identities inspired by a tricultural mestizo heritage – African, European, Indigenous – as well as the vanguard of contemporary culture. Among the highlights, five-piece Colombian electro-rock band Meridian Brothers, fronted by multi-instrumentalist and composer Eblis Alvarez, will perform on Sunday. The band’s brand new album, Metamorphosis, imagine the tough political salsa of a fictional 1970s band called El Grupo Renacimiento, whose music tackles themes such as police brutality, social marginalization and addiction, twisting these elements with quirky retro psychedelic touches. The festival also offers Chicagoans a rare opportunity to experience live music from Guatemala’s wealthy scene: Saturdays include Doctor Nativo, born Juan Martinez, who incorporates Mayan rhythms and traditional folk instruments into his shamanic, percussive music, and Sunday’s lineup includes fierce eco-feminist hip-hop. singer Rebeca Lane. The American side of the Latin Diaspora will also be well represented: West Coast duo Reyna Tropical (Saturday) create textured Caribbean pop rock; Chicago-based Rudy de Anda (Sunday) reimagines old-school Latin ballads from the ’60s to the ’80s into a delicate, trippy tropicalia; Nino Augustine (Saturday) delivers beats that hark back to his melodic Panamanian proto-reggaeton roots, but come out tinged with Atlanta hip-hop. Playing late Sunday, Mexican singer-songwriter Silvana Estrada rounds out this cutting-edge lineup with her jazz bolero ballads, informed by Latin American folklorists and the son jarocho traditions of her hometown of Veracruz. The small but mighty LatiNxt offers one of the most compelling lineups of any summer festival in town.

LatinNxt Day 1: Hosted by MC Logan Mon. Sat 8/6, Beer Garden, 2pm-11:30pm, in order of performance: Future Rootz, Quinto Imperio, Nino Augustine, Reyna Tropical, Doctor Nativo and Mamicana Gyrate.

Wave Wall Staircase, from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m., in order of performance: Xochi G, La Gata Clandestina, La Colocha and Jenniferfauxxpez. Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand, Free, All Ages

LatinNxt Day 2: Hosted by MC Logan Lu and Melissa Dupre. Sun 8/7, Beer Garden, 2pm-8pm, in order of performance: the Ponderers, Adan Diaz, Rudy de Anda, Meridian Brothers and DJ Iggy.

Lake Stage at Polk Bros Park, 5:15-7:45 p.m., in order of performance: Rebeca Lane and Silvana Estrada. Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand, Free, All Ages

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