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Indychitlan Fest highlights Black and Brown punk, rock, metal and ska bands

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Posted at 4:30 PM, Aug 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-31 17:22:57-04

INDIANAPOLIS — A one-day music festival showcasing Black and Latino rock bands is returning to the 10 East Arts Hub on Saturday, Sept. 10, after a successful inaugural event in 2021.

The "Indychitlan Fest: Latin Music Festival" features Black and Brown punk, metal, rock, and ska bands from Indianapolis and Chicago.

Angel Ochoa and Eduardo Luna, the founders of Indychitlan, tell WRTV the turnout to last year's music festival was "unexpected."

"You saw, little kids out in the front of the band, without any thought, just enjoying the music," Luna said of the 2021 Indychitlan Festival, smiling. "That's what we're looking for, is like, figure out a way where we can attract the parents, but also the parents can bring the kids."

Indychitlan is an all-ages event, and being family-friendly is vital for Ochoa and Luna as they hope to foster an inspirational space for the local youth. Ochoa says it's about showing kids "other sides of music that they're probably not used to seeing or hearing."

With that said, Ochoa and Luna have three core goals with the Indychitlan Fest, one of which is to be a live music event appropriate for children at all times. Two, be a place for Black and Brown kids to see different genres of music. And three, to bring communities of color together in a positive way.

"We wanted to keep it diverse," Ochoa said. "We didn't want an all-metal lineup and all-punk lineup. So we have, I think, a diverse set of bands here that we're able to cater to this type of idea. And we did — we did it."

Race doesn't just instinctively dictate what genre of music someone vibes with, yet much of society, for a long time, has held invisible lines up, deciding what music styles a person must like based solely on the color of their skin.

We've started to see this narrative change significantly in recent years, primarily thanks to people who've unabashedly pushed against the conventional norms.

"Stereotypically, when you think about Mexican or the Latino community, you will think about salsa, you will think about mariachi music, you will think about norteño music — which are part of the culture — but also, we have a big scene in the rap scene, the punk scene, metal scene, Ska, reggae. (The Mexican and Latino communities) have all those genres," Luna said.

As Indychitlan's mission is to be an inspirational event for the Indianapolis youth, incorporating Chicago bands and event organizers was a big part of facilitating that mission. Both Ochoa and Luna have hopped on I-65 North toward the Windy City, where they drew their inspiration, to participate in the punk rock scene.

"It's something that's already common more in Chicago now," Ochoa said. "There's actually genres there that not only would we enjoy, but also that can open doors for other collaborations, or even genres that don't even mix together; that don't typically collaborate."

Festivals such as the "Black and Brown Punk Show Collective," and the "Or Does It Explode: Black, Brown, and Indigenous Crew" have taken place in Chicago in recent years, highlighting punks of color.

The founders of the Indychitlan Fest are Angel Ochoa (left) and Eduardo Luna (right).

Ochoa and Luna, longtime Hoosiers, were both inspired by such diverse events and wanted to make the second annual Indychitlan Fest even more culturally diverse than in 2021.

"Last year was all Latino bands. And this year, we, I would say, expanded in the sense that ...we've also invited bands and artists from the Black community to perform as well," Ochoa said. "It shows how we can collaborate as communities, you know, to make events, especially all-ages events, and have a positive impact in the community."

Forgotten Tribe, an Indianapolis-based band that Ochoa's part of, is an example of the diverse bands Indychitlan features.

Forgotten Tribe came together in 2020 and is now touring across central Indiana. The band performs a mix of Latin fusions, reggae, cumbia, and hip hop music that is both in English and Spanish.

"We're three Latinos and two Black guys who just have a passion for music, and creating a, I would say, a culturistic collaboration of sounds," Ochoa said.

Ochoa and Luna say bands like Forgotten Tribe and the rest of the Indychitlan Fest lineup (below) are an example that people with different backgrounds can work and create together with a common mission.

"I think just us being together, I think it kind of helps the community see that on a small scale we can work together," Ochoa said.

The 2022 Indychitlan Fest will be at the 10 East Arts Hub, located at 3137 E. 10th St., on Saturday, Sept. 10. The free and all-ages event will run from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The lineup is as follows:

You can learn more about the Indychitlan Fest on its Facebook page and 10eastarts.org.

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WRTV Digital Reporter Shakkira Harris can be reached at shakkira.harris@wrtv.com. You can follow her on Twitter, @shakkirasays.

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