Sueños Music Festival 2024 Review – The Good, The Bad & The Unfortunate

Lead Photo: Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla.
Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla.
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After two successful years, expectations were at an all-time high for the third edition of Sueños, the Latine music festival held in Chicago’s Grant Park. With headliners like Peso Pluma and Rauw Alejandro and up-and-coming darlings like Xavi and Gabito Ballesteros, tickets for the May 25 and 26 event had been sold out for months, making hopeful fans look for alternatives offered by the festival. But for many, Sueños went from dream to nightmare fast, with the weather disrupting Sunday’s performances, leading up to the eventual cancelation of the event, and with it, Peso Pluma’s set.

Hosting the largest crowd since its inception, Sueños welcomed nearly 70,000 people to its 2024 edition. This year in particular, Sueños was posed as the mid-west destination for Spanish-language music, especially given the lack of representation of our communities in the much larger Lollapalooza festival held in the same location during the summer. Barely its third year, Sueños has shaped up to be the U.S. music festival that just gets us, featuring lineups that better represent Latines’ listening habits in contrast to stalwarts like Coachella, which plays catch-up each year. At Sueños 2024, Dani Flow represented the fast-growing reggaeton mexa movement, and audience favorites like Xavi and Ivan Cornejo were a voice for the Gen Z crowd. Also, Delilah and Bad Gyal brought a feminine voice to genres over-represented by male acts. 

However, misfortune hit Sueños, as thunderstorms delayed its start by several hours on Sunday and was eventually canceled mid-way through the second to last performer’s set, Maluma. With festival passes starting at $310 for GA and running up all the way to $1,880 for its most premium experience, many attendees were left feeling disappointed by the ultimate end. The outcome of the decision wasn’t received well by many festival goers, some of which looted the drinks stands left behind by vendors who were also asked to evacuate. Others even took the patio umbrellas from the food court area. 

A lot happened during the two-day festival that took place over Memorial Day weekend. It would be unfair to chalk it up to a bad experience, but it was also not a stellar one. That’s why we’re listing the good, the bad, and the unfortunate of Sueños Music Festival 2024. 

The Good – Most Artists Showed Up

While day one of Sueños ran smoothly, the weather complicated the second day. On Sunday, festival-goers were shocked to find out the lineup had gone down from 10 performers to just 4: Jowell y Randy, Mora, Maluma, and Peso Pluma. Dani Flow and Manuel Turizo had previously dropped out of the festival last minute. That left out Bad Gyal, Delilah, Alexis y Fido, and Gabito Ballesteros. However, hours later, Sueños issued another statement putting the four acts back into the program, reducing some sets down to 10 or 30 minutes in order to get everyone in. Though Peso Pluma was ultimately unable to perform, all scheduled artists – except for Alexis y Fido – showed up to perform in the less-than-ideal weather conditions. Jowell y Randy single-handedly turned around a gloomy day that started with disappointments with an electrifying performance of “Safaera.” 

The Bad – No Explanation Regarding Alexis y Fido

We kind of get it. The average music festival goer is not exactly going for the opening acts. Originally scheduled to perform at 1:05 p.m., old-school reggaetoneros Alexis y Fido were set to make a rare festival appearance on Sunday. Once the weather impacted the festival, they were first scrapped along with every performer other than Peso Pluma, Maluma, Mora, and Jowell y Randy. But just a few hours after that announcement, a new one was made, bringing back most of the artists, except for Manuel Turizo and Dani Flow. The Remezcla team was elated, eager to watch performances like “5 Letras” and “Eso Ehh..!!!” On stage, the DJs were seemingly figuring stuff out on the spot. Now set to come out at 4:15 p.m., Alexis y Fido’s time block came and went, and production seemed to be still working technical stuff out throughout. They were probably pushing it, right? Well, no. Imagine our surprise when Jowell y Randy came out at exactly 4:40 p.m., their new time slot, and started out strong with “Safaera.” At no moment on stage did anyone say Alexis y Fido weren’t coming out, nor was it announced on any of Sueños’ social platforms. This was particularly surprising given that Turizo and Dani Flow got posts announcing they wouldn’t be participating after all.

The Unfortunate – The Weather

Let’s state the obvious: people can’t control the weather. However, “rain or shine” has always been the policy of outdoor festivals – but not at Sueños. Mid-way through Maluma’s set, he was asked to leave the stage, which he did so after singing acapella for a bit and telling the crowd it was not his decision to cut the performance. Following his exit from the stage, a red notice flashed on screens telling people to head to the exits and evacuate the festival. The audible notices instructed people to take shelter in both English and Spanish. Citing rain and thunderstorms, a now-deleted social media post read: “Unfortunately, the event is over due to weather. Gates will not reopen.” This came as a shock to many festivalgoers since they had been instructed earlier to wear rain gear. Lollapalooza, in particular, which is held in the same space as Sueños, does not cancel, like last year, when festival goers attended the event in ponchos and rain boots. Was the severity of the weather different in both scenarios? We asked representatives for Sueños why the Latine music festival was canceled when Lollapalooza was not last year and we didn’t hear back. On the app formerly known as Twitter, Sueños said they “made the difficult decision to evacuate Grant Park” in coordination with the National Weather Service and the Ciy of Chicago public safety officials. Organizers have announced they’ll issue 25 percent refunds within 30 days to festivalgoers who bought their admissions through Front Gate Tickets.

The Good – Timeliness

In contrast to last year’s event, Sueños 2024 ran on time – at least during the first day. In 2023, we saw sets like Young Miko’s cut short because production was running behind schedule. This year, however, sets ran right on time during day one. For the second day, acts between Jowell y Randy and Maluma also came out right on time.

The Bad – High Police Presence

It was impossible not to notice the high police presence not just around Grant Park, but inside Sueños too. Clusters of five to seven cops were posted outside the restrooms, by the food court, and pretty much every spot in the perimeter of the main stage. This writer and Remezcla’s Social Media Manager even commented that having been to many music festivals, we had never seen so many police officers standing by. Is this a Chicago thing? Is the Sueños crowd notoriously reckless? I guess we’ll never know since media reps for the festival stopped answering emails. 

The Unfortunate – “The Peso Pluma Curse”

To say every Sueños attendee was there on Sunday to see Peso Pluma is no overstatement. As the weather began impacting the festival, the silver lining of the day was that it was forecasted that it would stop raining by the time La Doble P took the stage. Alas, that’s not what happened. Mid-way through Maluma’s set, the Sueños grounds was evacuated and the festival was canceled entirely soon after. The “Ella Baila Sola” singer was scheduled to perform 45 minutes after Maluma concluded his set. This result was especially disappointing to the corridos tumbados star’s fans, given Sueños marked Peso’s third canceled performance in Chicago in the last year. Hopefully, fans will finally get to see him perform during his Éxodo Tour stop at the United Center on Oct. 6.

The Good – Verizon Deck


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There were few spots at Sueños that shielded you from the elements and provided seating for GA ticket holders. The Verizon Deck, located stage right, provided such an accomodation for Verizon customers and their guests. Festivalgoers simply had to queue before each performance, show they were Verizon customers, or join for a free 30-day trial, and they were able to get a premium view of the main stage with seats, tables, and free charging for their devices.  

The Unfortunate – Is Chicago a Reggaeton Town?

Before we ruffle any feathers, this is a genuine question. Does Chicago still like reggaeton? Having a panoramic view of the crowd from the Verizon Deck, it was easy to notice how the crowd reacted en masse to different performing talents and songs. For artists like Young Miko and Saturday headliner Rauw Alejandro, the crowd was objectively toned down, not dancing or singing — except when TikTok hits like “Chulo Pt. 2” and “Todo De Ti” came on. Even when DJ Fresco and Dynamiq played in between sets, the crowd seemed to react more positively when they would play música mexicana hits like Grupo Firme’s “Ya Supérame” and a remix of “El Sonidito.” You could easily spot people pairing up with friends or even strangers to dance along – something that wasn’t as prevalent when the reggaeton jams would come on. In contrast, Gabito Ballestero’s set on Sunday was one of the most popular, with the crowd screaming his hits “Lady Gaga” and “AMG” louder than anything else performed that day. This is not to say that Chicago fans, and the people who traveled to the city, don’t like reggeaton, but maybe a festival featuring only five música mexicana artists — corridos tumbados and sad sierreño, mainly — should reconsider how they stack their lineups moving forward.



Travel and accommodations were provided to the author by Verizon for the purpose of writing this story.