DFW Music News

Centro Popular Festival Is Back With Latin and Rap Acts Including Chamillionaire and Juicy J

Rapper Chamillionaire from Houston is part of the lineup for Centro Popular.
Rapper Chamillionaire from Houston is part of the lineup for Centro Popular. Bryan Bedder
Fort Worth’s Latin and hip-hop music festival, Centro Popular, will return on Aug. 6. And Lorenzo Zenteno, the festival’s founder, promises that the second iteration will be even better.

The festival, which will take place at Wild Acre in Fort Worth, is for all ages. Tickets start at $60.

Named after Zenteno’s mother’s old record store in Fort Worth, Centro Popular held its inaugural festival last July at Wild Acre, making it the first large Latin music festival in North Texas in 12 years. Having grown up in Fort Worth, Zenteno remains committed to creating a festival highlighting local acts, specifically Black and Latin musicians.

“It's important for me to have some form of a homegrown festival or event,” Zenteno says, “because to be honest with you, there's never really been any festival that’s minority-based. It's important for me to maintain and incorporate a strong Latin presence because that's what it was originally built for. The long-term vision is to continue to include that talent, and mix it with national talent and to have that diversity.”

Last year’s festival boasted a lineup of Latin music icons Baby Bash, Frankie J and Chris Perez, as well as local acts such as xBValentine, Louie The Singer and Renizance. This year, the festival will include performances by Jui$e Leroy, Tum Tum, G.T. Garza, Demund Rogers and more.

In addition to these local favorites, Zenteno has some pretty exciting national acts on the bill. Set to make an appearance is Flawless Real Talk, who competed on the first season of Netflix’s rapping reality competition series Rhythm & Flow. Long Beach rapper Kap G will also join this year’s lineup.

Other rap legends slated to appear include DJ Paul and Juicy J of Three 6 Mafia.

“I have a lot of love for Texas,” says Juicy J in an email. “I have a lot of friends and family in Texas. [Fans can expect] the greatest show ever.”

Another rapper coming out of retirement is Houston's Chamillionaire, best known for his 2006 hit “Ridin,’” produced by Dallas duo Play-N-Skillz, which topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Chamillionaire retired from music in 2015 and began working for Los Angeles-based venture capital firm Upfront Ventures, putting rap aside in favor of entrepreneurship.

Chamillionaire performed a rare set at this year’s Houston Rodeo, and while his first love is his hometown, DFW is a close second favorite to him.

“It's important for me to have some form of a homegrown festival or event ... because to be honest with you, there's never really been any festival that’s minority-based." – Lorenzo Zenteno

tweet this

“The DFW area has always been very supportive to me since the beginning of my career,” Chamillionaire said in a press release, “so I’m excited to perform in front of real day one supporters. The energy is always better in Texas.”

After working behind the scenes in the music industry for several years, Zenteno noticed a lack of diversity not only in festival lineups but among those who organize them.

“You have Austin City Limits, you have Jmblya, you have these big festivals that have existed for the last however many years,” Zenteno says. “And within the context of that, you very rarely see a lot of Latin representation. So I felt like ‘Hey, if you want to see change, be the change.’”

Although last year’s Centro Popular showcased Latin-owned restaurants as well as performers, Zenteno still hasn’t decided if he’ll include restaurants in this year’s festival, mostly because he’s anticipating an even larger crowd for the musical performers.

Last year, Zenteno partnered with Fort Worth’s Fortress Festival to launch Centro Popular, but this time around, he plans to fund it out of his own pocket to maintain creative control.

“[Fortress Festival is] still involved this year, from a venue perspective,” Zenteno says, “But in regards to funding, this is 1,000% my event. There's nobody else involved with this event other than Lorenzo, on that side of it. How I maneuver is a lot different now, because this is a situation where I want to ensure that we're represented correctly, and we put on the best possible event that we can.”
KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Alex Gonzalez has been a contributor to the Dallas Observer since 2018. He is a Dallas native whose work has appeared in Local Profile, MTV News and the Austin American-Statesman. He has eclectic taste in music and enjoys writing about art, food and culture.
Contact: Alex Gonzalez