If you love Latin music, listen to this: This weekend in downtown Phoenix, there’s an event billed as the state’s first-ever Latin indie music festival.
It was organized by Elyssa Bustamante, aka “The Funky Latina”, a Phoenix-based music blogger and event producer. And as with many things these days, the idea for the festival was born on social media.
“I started a segment on instagram live called, ‘Let’s hear it.’ And so every two weeks I interview a Latinx artist on Instagram Live, and we talk about community and culture and music and how it all collides,” Bustamante said. “And a recurring theme that I kept hearing in those interviews was that they love their music, they love being Latino artists, but Latino artists don’t get invited to festivals, and if they are, they’re at the bottom of the poster. And so after hearing that, like many times in many interviews, I decided that I was not going to wait for someone to invite us to the table. Let’s build our own festival.
Bustamante is the CEO of Funky Latina Productions, a company dedicated to increasing Latinx representation in the music industry. She launched her music blog, the funky latina, in 2018, curating playlists and possibly writing concert reviews. Then, when the pandemic hit and the stages died down, she took the opportunity to reach out to performers, also stuck at home, to interview them.
Bustamante found his festival’s five artists through Spotify and his own interviews – half of the lineup is from here in Arizona, the rest from California, including Chrisol, a new wave disco-soul artist from Los Angeles.
“I remember when I listened to his song, it was called ‘Hypnotized.’ It’s like her voice was magnetic and magical, and after hearing it, I followed her on Instagram, messaged her, and set up an interview, and since then we’ve built a relationship. — not just as people in the music industry, but as Latinas in the music industry,” Bustamante said. “And so I really love her music, I believe in her as a as an artist and I was like, ‘More people to hear him and hear his voice.'”
Bustamante knew she wanted Chrisol on the lineup, but it took some time to work out the rest of the festival details.
“I had the idea a year and a half ago and then started putting pieces together – like reaching out to artists, I would say June 2021. Securing the venue and securing the artists – and so it takes really a long time to get to this point. And there are days when I’m like, ‘Oh my God, this is crazy! I can’t believe this is happening. So I’m super excited about it.
The Funky Latina Presents: A Night of Peace, Love, Funk is April 30 at the Crescent Ballroom.