Music & Nightlife

For this festival, smaller is better

The Carlotan Rock Festival started five years ago to showcase the region's growing Latin rock scene. It's since brought fantastic headliners like Venezuela's Los Amigos Invisibles and Mexico's Inspektor and introduced Charlotteans to new U.S.-based acts such as Miami's Palo Viejo.

Yet as the festival grew, its focus shifted to big-name artists, moving from a relatively small indoor Latin club to last year's outdoor festival in NoDa.

So this year, organizers scaled back the event to concentrate on a scene that has sprouted numerous Latin rock bands since Marin and company's defunct group La Rua jumpstarted the festival in 2003. Charlotte's tropical rockers Bakalao Stars will headline.

“We felt it was necessary to go back to the initial concept … which was to promote and support local and regional music,” says Juan Miguel Marin, one of the festival's founders.

Winston-Salem's Baco, Raleigh's Razpa, and Charlotte's Sin Recursos, Dorian Gris, and Eva Fina (which features members of La Rua) also will perform. The festival also returns to Skandalo's, the club that hosted the first event.

The bands cover everything from ska to punk to electronica to arena rock, all Latin-influenced. I can't stress enough how welcoming and fun this show is.

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