At first blush it seems a crazy idea. A multi-day, multi-artist Latin festival in the middle of Wisconsin? Now, organizers have announced the lineup and it’s clear they’re dead serious.
Maná, Daddy Yankee, Nicky Jam, Los Tucanes de Tijuana and Wisin will headline the first Los Dells Festival, taking place Sept. 2 and 3 at the Woodside Ranch in Wisconsin, 10 miles north of tourist destination Wisconsin Dells.
Others confirmed to perform include Reik, Larry Hernandez, Kinky, Los Dareyes de la Sierra, Sofia Reyes, Quantic and Thomas Augusto.
Regular and VIP two-day passes will go on sale June 30 at noon, with prices ranging from $145 to $385. It’s a steep price for a Latin marketplace that, in this country at least, is not accustomed to multi-day festivals, much less in a secondary market like Wisconsin.
“My initial hesitation was, are there enough Latinos in the Midwest?” says Damon Rey, who is promoting Los Dells along with brothers Adam and Grant Mills, who in turn have staged other fests like Life Is Beautiful in Las Vegas.
As it turns out, there aren’t that many in Wisconsin proper — 6% of the population, according to 2014 Census figures. But there are plenty in neighboring Illinois –17% of the population — with Chicago, which is a three-hour drive from the Wisconsin Dells, a major Hispanic hub. Promotion will be targeted at those “drive-in” markets, which also include Minneapolis.
And while there have been very few previous Latin festivals that require lengthy driving and stays, Rey and his partners are banking on the lineup to draw them in.
“Maná was one of the first artists we approached and they were very interested,” he says. “And that interest and that excitement is what led us to be more excited. When you have the biggest band in the world willing to play your festival the odds are a little better.”