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‘La Onda Festival 2024’ Featuring Maná, Alejandro Fernández, La Arrolladora, Los Ángeles Azules, Plus More – Napa Valley Expo

‘La Onda Festival 2024’ Featuring Maná, Alejandro Fernández, La Arrolladora, Los Ángeles Azules, Plus More – Napa Valley Expo


The first-ever La Onda Festival took place at the Napa Valley Expo this past weekend marking the start of an entirely new event focused on the Latino audience. Before June 1 and 2 of this year, Northern California has never held an event of this sort although it boasts the numbers to do so. With 40% of California’s population being Latino, this festival was sure to draw in a crowd. The eclectic lineup consisted of Latin music from pop and rock to cumbia and regional Mexican music, enticing the Latino community to show up, show out, and watch their favorite artists, such as Alejandro Fernández, La Arrolladora, Los Ángeles Azules, Café Tacvba, La Maldita Vecindad, Mon Laferte, and Maná take the stages that just the weekend before hosted BottleRock headliners.

Day 1

On its inaugural day La Onda opened with the heir of the Fernández dynasty, Alex Fernández, on the Verizon Stage. The young mariachi commanded the stage like a seasoned performer, pacing about in his fitted, gray mariachi suit with so much swagger all you heard were the screams of women in the crowd. His looks were not the only thing that attracted the crowd to his set but the voice he inherited is akin to that of his late grandfather, Vicente Fernández, who was a venerated mariachi legend in México and across the globe.

Singer-songwriter, Eden Muñoz, also took the Verizon Stage by storm with his set at La Onda Festival. Muñoz interweaved his music and regional Mexican classics into his set making sure all ages in the crowd were on their feet. All Muñoz asked before he performed his last song was, “¿No te meten al bote aquí como en Chihuahua. ¿Verdad?” (“They don’t throw you in jail here like they do in Chihuahua, right?”) then proceeded to go over his set time to play a cover of “Cómo Me Duele” by Valentín Elizalde. The crowd erupted as they sang and danced along to this popular Mexican party song, zapateando the floor so hard dust lifted from the ground.

La Arrolladora drew spectators of all kinds to the Verizon Stage ready to dance and sing along with the two front men of the band, Esaúl García and Jan Carlos Mauleon Hernández. The vocalists promised to the crowd they would play new material and old hits and they delivered with their promise as they took the crowd for a spin. The band played slow romanticas then jolted the audience into fast-paced banda music, making it a rollercoaster ride. At different points in the show, the singers made their way from the stage into the crowd as they had security help them balance on the barricade. Esaúl and Jan Carlos made it clear that they were there for one thing: to put on a good show for their fans.

Later in the day, Grammy-nominated reggaeton artist, Farruko, made his appearance on the La Onda stage where he played all his hits as well as a few of his newer Christian songs. The pivotal moment in Farruko’s set was when the beginning of his song “Pepas” – which has over 1 billion streams on Spotify – began to play through the speakers. The crowd roared in anticipation and flocks of festival goers came running to the stage so they wouldn’t miss the powerful drop of Farruko’s most iconic song.

As the sun began to set, “De Iztapalapa para Napa” (“From Iztapalapa to Napa”) sounded from the speakers at the Verizon Stage. This message is how Mexican band, Los Ángeles Azules, begin all their live performances and it is an indicator to the crowd that their iconic cumbia melodies would soon put them in a two-step trance. Los Angeles played all of their hits as the crowd swayed with couples dancing cheek to cheek, and dance circles chanting “Eh eh eh eh!” throughout the band’s set.

The night sky soon became dark, and the Verizon Stage was packed with thousands of festival goers eager to see international Mexican super star, Alejandro Fernández. Fernández’s mariachi opened the show for him, and he soon joined them, walking slowly to the front of the stage in his shiny, black leather mariachi suit. The crowd was inconsolable as whistles, claps, cheers, and cries overpowered the speakers. Fernández performed songs by his late father, Vicente Fernández, and from his own catalogue. Ultimately returning to pay homage to “Don Chente”, as the Fernández’s fan base affectionately called Vicente. Alejandro performed a medley of his father’s famous hits. There were moments in Alejandro’s covers where you could see the tears in his eyes as he pointed up to the sky as if he was saying, “This is for you”. It was a passionate performance put on by “El Potrillo” (“The Little Colt”) and an impressionable way to end the first day of La Onda.

Alex Fernandez


DJ Umami


Eden Muñoz


La Arrolladora




Alejandro Fernández

Day 2

The second day of La Onda began with artists appealing to the younger generation of Latin music enthusiast such as Kaia Lana, Nivel, Allison, Siddhartha, and Yaritza y Su Esencia. But as the day went on and the Napa sun became hotter, the biggest acts came out to rock the main stage.

La Maldita Vecindad brought out the summer heat as they took the stage mid-day. They helped the crowd work up a sweat as they played their Latin mixture of punk, rap, ska, and funk, keeping audience members jumping to the beat. The “Kumbala” singer and front man of the band, Roco Pachukote, made a statement about the missing Mexican students from Ayotzinapa university along with the current genocide that is occurring in Palestine, showing that the band continues to use their platform for social activism since their conception in México City in 1985.

Chilean singer-songwriter, Mon Laferte, blessed the stage as a vision of pink and white as she strutted about belting her powerful vocals. Laferte had fans in tears as she performed some of her most gut-wrenching songs such as “Tu Falta de Querer” and “Si tú me quisieras”. Her performance was just as exciting as it was emotional as she broke out in choreography with her group of diverse dancers and took time in between to play electric and acoustic guitars. Laferte proved herself to be not just an indie artist, but a true show woman.

Another legendary México City based band brought their star power to the main stage on the second day. Café Tacvba began their set with the first song they’ve released in seven years. “La Bas(e)” which lead singer, Rubén Albarrán, prefaced as an anthem for immigrants was a stronger starter. Albarrán sang “Rodar y rodar/ Buscando algún lugar / Pa trabajar / Noche y día, día y noche / Nadie es ilegal/ El mundo es nuestro hogar” (“Rolling and rolling/ Looking for some place to work/ Night and day, day and night/ No one is illegal/ The world is our home”) and the crowd cheered in solidarity with the rock band’s statement.

As the last day of the festival came to an end yet another legendary Mexican rock band made their way to the stage. Maná closed out the festival drawing a crowd of all ages to the main stage. This multigeneration rock band ended the festival weekend taking the audience on a passage of their greatest hits leaving a sense of fulfilment in the air for performers and festival goers alike.


Maldita Vecindad


Mon Laferte


Café Tacvba


Fuerza Regida



Lucha Libre + More

La Onda was not just a celebration of music, but of Latino culture. From high-flying lucha libre shows, to decorative banderas and sculptures of alebrijes and catrinas scattered across the festival grounds, to the shiny low riders on display representing Mexican American heritage, and the scent of delicious Latino culinary delights filling the spaces in between. This weekend marked a historic event as La Onda became Northern California’s first, high-production Latin music festival and it was of epic proportions. La Onda brought la fiesta to Napa, and I hope to see el desmadre continue next year.

Written by Daisy M. Mendoza
Photography by Miguel Barajas

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