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Bésame Mucho 2023 Proved It’s Officially the Best Latino Music Festival Right Now

The ticket price of Bésame Mucho may be worth it alone for the amusing, overwhelmingly positive people-watching experience, especially seeing multiple generations of Latinos dancing to the same live music many of us grew up listening to at family parties.

1:03 PM PST on December 4, 2023

Sunset shot for Bésame Mucho.

Photo by Justin James for Bésame Mucho.

The ticket price of Bésame Mucho may be worth it alone for the amusing, overwhelmingly positive people-watching experience, especially seeing multiple generations of Latinos dancing to the same live music many of us grew up listening to at family parties. Some festival-goers were crying as they smiled and hugged their partners, parents, and grandparents tightly. But most were just dancing all damn day through the entire music festival. 

Now in its second year of existence, the event, executed by Live Nation—which also manages the When We Were Young emo music festival in Las Vegas—remained as relevant and exciting as its first breakthrough year. 

On Saturday, the parking lots around Dodger Stadium were activated with 61 bands, artists, and musical acts, spanning from synth-backed 80s banda legends to rock en español icons. The event mostly went off without many problems, at least not those visible to the average euphoric showgoer, which felt like hundreds of thousands of people at least. 

The festival did encounter the typical music festival issues, like long lines for beers and food, but nothing that got too much in the way of seeing your top artists if you timed things correctly.  

Our favorite acts included Mexican rock legend Maná, who played a nearly two-hour-long set, including plenty of double entendres about past sexual encounters and banter by the band’s frontman, Fehr, the rockero-turned-humanitarian for street vendors. 

For the record, Maná’s drummer, Alex González, can still rock their OG classic ska-rocksteady drumbeat from their early ska en español anthems, just as well as he did nearly 30 years ago when those songs first came out. 

The memorable performances were as long as the approximate minute-by-minute set times. Banda El Recodo, Mi Banda El Mexicano, and Grupo Kual, whose set was way too short at 35 minutes long, all played, as did many more. 

Natalia Lafourcade was the goddess that she always is, and while we missed the Gloria Trevi set to eat some Tijuana-style, guacamole-slathered tacos de carne asada from Tacos Don Cuco, we heard she was the best act of the night from many in the midst of their walk from her stage to see Los Bukis. 

The music fest was essentially one long euphoria fest, and the organizers have just announced that they will also be doing a version of it in Austin, Texas, next year. If it’s anything like the original Los Angeles festival, Texans are set to check off a whole lot of bands and artists from their bucket list, too.

Photos courtesy of Bésame Mucho. 

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