Fort Worth’s Latin and hip-hop music festival, Centro Popular, will return on August 6. And Lorenzo Zenteno, the festival’s founder, promises that the second iteration will be even better.
The festival, which will take place at Wild Acre in Fort Worth, is for all ages. Tickets start at $60.
Named after Zenteno’s mother’s former record store in Fort Worth, Centro Popular held its inaugural festival last July in Wild Acre, making it the first major Latin music festival in North Texas in 12 years. Growing up in Fort Worth, Zenteno remains committed to creating a festival showcasing local acts, especially black and Latina musicians.
“It’s important to me to have some sort of local festival or event,” Zenteno says, “because to be honest with you, there’s never really been a minority-focused festival. Maintaining and incorporating a strong Latin presence is important to me because that’s what it was originally built for. The long-term vision is to continue to include that talent, and to mix it with national talent and have that diversity.
Last year’s festival featured a lineup of Latin music icons Baby Bash, Frankie J and Chris Perez, as well as local artists such as xBValentine, Louie The Singer and Renizance. This year, the festival will include performances by Jui$e Leroy, Tum Tum, GT Garza, Demund Rogers and more.
In addition to these local favorites, Zenteno has some pretty exciting national acts on the bill. Flawless Real Talk, who took part in the first season of Netflix’s rap reality competition series, is set to make an appearance Rhythm and flow. Long Beach rapper Kap G will also join this year’s lineup.
Other rap legends set to appear include Three 6 Mafia’s DJ Paul and Juicy J.
“I really like Texas,” Juicy J says in an email. “I have lots of friends and family in Texas. [Fans can expect] the greatest show of all time.
Another rapper coming out of retirement is Houston’s Chamillionaire, best known for his 2006 hit “Ridin,” produced by Dallas duo Play-N-Skillz, which topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Chamillionaire retired from music in 2015 and started working for Los Angeles-based venture capital firm Upfront Ventures, putting rap aside in favor of entrepreneurship.
Chamillionaire played a rare set at this year’s Houston Rodeo, and while his first love is his hometown, DFW is his second favorite.
“It’s important to me to have some form of local festival or event…because to be honest with you, there’s never really been a minority-based festival.” -Lorenzo Zenteno
“The DFW region has always been very supportive of me since the start of my career,” Chamillionaire said in a press release, “so I’m excited to play in front of real day one fans. The energy is always better in Texas. .
After working behind the scenes in the music industry for several years, Zenteno noticed a lack of diversity not only in festival lineups but also among those who organize them.
“You have Austin City Limits, you have Jmblya, you have these big festivals that have been around for many years,” Zenteno says. “And in that context, you very rarely see a lot of Latin representation. So I was like, ‘Hey, if you want to see the change, be the change.’
Although last year’s Centro Popular featured Latino-owned restaurants as well as artists, Zenteno still hasn’t decided whether to include restaurants in this year’s festival, mainly because he anticipates a even bigger crowd for musical artists.
Last year, Zenteno partnered with Fort Worth’s Fortress Festival to launch Centro Popular, but this time around he plans to fund it out of his own pocket to retain creative control.
“[Fortress Festival is] still involved this year, venue-wise,” says Zenteno, “but funding-wise, it’s 1,000% my event. There is no one else involved in this event other than Lorenzo, on that side. The way I maneuver is very different now, because it’s a situation where I want to make sure we’re properly represented, and we put on the best event possible.