Doctor Nativo
Doctor Nativo, one of the performers at LatNxt Credit: courtesy the artist

LatiNxt is the kind of festival I enjoy the most. This free, two-day fest on Navy Pier is geared toward the pulse of the current scene and allows concertgoers to make new musical discoveries. For its fifth year, LatiNxt features 17 performances on two stages per day, curated by local Latinx collective Future Rootz. They’ve created a lineup that showcases musical identities informed by a tricultural mestizo heritage—African, European, Indigenous—as well as the vanguard of contemporary culture. Among the highlights is Colombian five-piece electro-rock band Meridian Brothers, led by multi-instrumentalist and composer Eblis Alvarez, who perform on Sunday. The band’s brand-new album, Metamorfosis, imagines the political salsa dura of a fictional 1970s band called El Grupo Renacimiento, whose music touches on themes such as police brutality, social marginalization, and addiction, distorting these elements with quirky retro psychedelic touches. The festival also offers Chicagoans a rare opportunity to experience live music from Guatemala’s rich scene: Saturday includes Doctor Nativo, born Juan Martinez, who folds Mayan beats and traditional folk instruments into his shamanic, percussive music, and Sunday’s lineup features fierce ecofeminist hip-hop singer Rebeca Lane. The U.S. side of the Latine diaspora will also be well-represented: west-coast duo Reyna Tropical (Saturday) create textured Caribbean pop rock; Chicago-based Rudy de Anda (Sunday) reimagines old-school Latin ballads from the 60s to the 80s as delicate, trippy tropicalia; Nino Augustine (Saturday) slings beats that hark back to his melodic Panamanian proto-reggaeton roots but emerge tinged with Atlanta hip-hop. Mexican songwriter Silvana Estrada, who plays late on Sunday, rounds out this forward-thinking lineup with her jazz bolero ballads, informed by Latin American folkloristas and the son jarocho traditions of her hometown of Veracruz. The small but potent LatiNxt offers one of the most compelling lineups of any of the city’s summer festivals.

LatiNxt Day 1: Hosted by MC Logan Lu. Sat 8/6, Beer Garden, 2-11:30 PM, in order of performance: Future Rootz, Quinto Imperio, Nino Augustine, Reyna Tropical, Doctor Nativo, and Mamicana Gyrate.

Wave Wall Staircase, 2-9 PM, in order of performance: Xochi G, La Gata Clandestina, La Colocha, and Jenniferfauxxpez. Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand, free, all ages

LatiNxt Day 2: Hosted by MC Logan Lu and Melissa Dupre. Sun 8/7, Beer Garden, 2-8 PM, in order of performance: the Ponderers, Adan Diaz, Rudy de Anda, Meridian Brothers, and DJ Iggy.

Lake Stage in Polk Bros Park, 5:15-7:45 PM, in order of performance: Rebeca Lane and Silvana Estrada. Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand, free, all ages