It’s fitting that Goldenvoice’s new reggaeton-heavy festival headed to the Queen Mary Events Park in Long Beach this weekend is called Dale Fuego, which translates to light it up. The musical genre that originated in Puerto Rico back in the 1990s that mixes hip-hop, Latin beats and reggae with lyrics usually in Spanish, seems to be hotter than ever in the mainstream.
J Balvin went on to become the first reggaeton artist to appear on “Saturday Night Live” while artists in the genre have collaborated on some chart-topping and genre-crossing hits, including Cardi B’s “I Like It” with J Balvin and Bad Bunny. “It’s still going. It’s crossing boundaries now with other genres … the reggaeton movement just keeps going and going,” said Leo Hernandez, a DJ for radio station Mega 96.3 FM, which plays reggaeton and Latin trap, an offshoot of the genre. Hernandez already has his tickets to Dale Fuego on Saturday, Aug. 10, which is headlined by rising Puerto Rican star Ozuna, with Brazilian singer Anitta, who blends reggaeton with dance and R&B music, Rauw Alejandro, another rising Puerto Rican artist who mixes reggaeton with R&B, trap, and pop, trap and reggaeton artist Khea, among others.
“This is a really great lineup,” Hernandez said. “It shows the expansion of reggaeton,” Hernandez added.
Born in the clubs of Puerto Rico in the early 1990s, reggaeton became hugely popular in the United States thanks to artists such as Daddy Yankee, Ivy Queen and Don Omar.
“It’s a style of music that really connects with people, with us through the lyrics and what we go through,” Hernandez said.
Club owner and music promoter Bobby Drieslein, who runs Bobby Dee Presents, has worked with reggaeton artists including Daddy Yankee, Don Omar and Pitbull when the music was just blowing up, and he’s not surprised it’s had such staying power. “The music has definitely transcended from when I first started doing shows,” said Drieslein, who is also producing a show on Sept. 14 with Daddy Yankee and Becky G at the Toyota Arena in Ontario. “The music has become much more commercial then when I started doing it when it was more of an underground thing with a strong cult following…it’s just going to keep growing,” he added.
On Episode #9 of “CAN YOU HEAR ME, LONG BEACH?” Bobby Dee is a practical guy; he instructs the ‘80s bands he promotes to play only hits because nobody “wants to hear the new stuff” and always has a lot of TVs in his restaurants because “most couples don’t like each other.” Though claiming to be painfully shy during our interview, he was a treasure trove of backstage stories—“So I said [to Morrissey], do you think I’m the waiter?!?”—and hard truths about the music business—“The only way you make money is touring.” Dee is one of the most successful concert promoters in the country, having partnered with Snoop Doggto create Uncle Snoops Army. The pair created the just-completed, Once Upon A Time in the LBC festival that recently played two sold-out shows at Queen Mary Park. Bobby Dee Presents, started by his father, has and continues to promote a wide array of artists, from New Kids on the Block to Easy E to Morrissey to Snoop to Los Lobos and the B-52s. Shy or not, he had a lot to say about it all.
Bourbon Jones was formed in the early 90s and went on to become not only one of Long Beach’s most popular bands—their residency at the since-passed Blue Café was the place to be on Sundays—but a lynchpin in the city’s rock and blues scene. Members of the band played in multiple other bands such as the Dibs, Mickey’s Big Mouth, Johnny Jones, and many, many more. But, as with all bands, life happens. People get married, have kids and move away. The band still gets together to play from time to time, as they did last week at Alex’s Bar. We caught up with singer Chris Hanlin and bass player Mario Barmosca, and talked about the Long Beach scene then and now as well as what the years change about music and what always stays the same.
1:10 Bobby Dee of talks about putting on a music festival and dealing with A-list artists
7:18 Becoming your dad as a music promoter
9:27 What it’s like working with high maintenance artists
14:52 Beginning to work with Snoop Dogg
19:40 Bobby imitates 80s bands with a bad Brittish accent
23:02 How Steven became “The Ad Guy”
23:30 Chris Hanlin and Mario Barmosca talk Bourbon Jones