Dream Fest


(from Billboard Magazine, October 6, 2012) Rick Ortega, former New Kids on the Block/Backstreet Boys roadie, is working to create a Latin Coachella that has been named the Tritone Latin Music & Arts Festival. Ortega is facing many financial challenges in trying to create this event, some including threats of legal action that could wipe out his aspirations. After big-name Latin acts such as Chilean rock band Los Bunkers and Mexico’s Zoé dropped out because Ortega fell behind financially, the ticket sales began to slow down. Ortega stated, “We got behind financially. We were behind in paying some of the bands their second deposit and by the time we had the money ready, some of the bands lost faith in us.”

The Tritone Latin Music & Arts Festival is still scheduled for October 19-October 21 at the Prado Regional Park in Southern California. The festival will feature Mexican pop singer Ximena Sariñana, singer/songwriter Ceci Bastida, rock band El Tri, and Los Angeles-based group Ozomatli, along with many others.

Operating under BRC Entertainment, Ortega first set the budget for the Latin Music & Arts Festival at $2 million. By the end, the investment came to be about $500,000. The challenge for Ortega was coming up with the cash sooner, rather than later. Eventually, he reached out to investors. One investor was Derrick Williams of the Minnesota Timberwolves, a longtime friend of Ortega. He even got local sponsors, including Freeway Insurance and Wells Fargo.

Ortega continues to stay optimistic that this event will grow. He stated that he’d be happy with 15,000- 25,000 people. At press time, 1,000 tickets had been sold for the event that can easily hold 40,000 people. Tickets cost $15, $25, and $150 for a VIP experience. Ozomatli bassist Wil-Dog Abers was not aware of the financial issues for the event, but knows that it takes years to build an audience for a musical festival, such as the Tritone Latin Music & Arts Festival. “Whenever there’s a new festival, things don’t always go as planned. Coachella wasn’t huge when it started,” Abers says.