“They are the most beautiful, kind, talented, wonderful humans that we could party with, and it doesn’t even feel like work to us”, said Amber Harris, Marketing and Events Director for Ghost Train Brewing. This was the sentiment I heard a million times over as I spoke with the community about the work that Latinos Con Onda is doing in Birmingham.
Who really is Latinos Con Onda? We’re taking a deep dive into their history, purpose and how they use Latin culture to bind Birmingham together. Plus, mark your calendar for Saturday, March 26—you don’t want to miss their biggest event to date.
How a word-of-mouth party turned into a movement
The story starts with Kristhian Treviño. After he and business partner, “Nano”, travelled to larger hubs of the country like Atlanta and Chicago for Latin-inspired parties and vinyl music, he thought to himself, ‘why can’t I do this for Birmingham?’. There was an existing vinyl culture here, but the Latin community wanted to play a bigger part in it.
From there, he began scouting out venues for his first party. He networked with the former owners of The Atomic, and they encouraged him to use their space for their first get-together.
Kristhian couldn’t stress enough how grateful he was for someone to believe in him and his passion.
“We didn’t have any social media. It was an experiment. We start texting our friends that we’re going to do this get-together—try to come. It was on a Sunday. The first one we had 40-60 people, it was kind of low but we had a ton of fun. It started growing, and growing and then we started our social media. It was more word-of-mouth back then.”-Kristhian Treviño, Latinos Con Onda, Founder
The party was a success. From there, he expanded to bigger venues like Trimtab, Mayawell and then most recently, the OG Ghost Train. The movement had begun.
When the parties stop
Luiz “Nano” Fuerte remembers the moment that Covid-19 hit the organization. They were only a year in when a worldwide pandemic caused them to face the music.
“Honestly, I thought that we weren’t gonna keep throwing parties. I got a little sad at the beginning. When we starting seeing people beg for another party, we realized we had to give the people what they want. It has its own wave now, and it’s totally different than what we wanted to do. Then we threw a party at TrimTab. There was a lot of good energy, a lot of love, so I didn’t think we needed to stop.”-Luiz “Nano” Fuerte, Latinos Con Onda, DJ + Producer
After the TrimTab party, Luiz said that there were more connections being made than ever before. People started to come from Huntsville, Atlanta and surrounding cities to take advantage of what Latinos Con Onda has to offer. This fueled their fire to keep going and reaching for the heights.
“Birmingham is happening. It’s not just some little old city. There is an audience for things like this, so somebody had to make it happen.”-Isabel Medina, Latinos Con Onda, Head of Marketing
You can’t do it alone
In order to make the magic happen, Kristhian assembled a world-class team. Luiz “Nano” Fuerte has been there since the beginning, serving Latinos Con Onda as a DJ and producer. Isabel Medina, Head of Marketing, serves the organization through social media and form partnerships like with Ghost Train.
All of the fun you see at Latinos Con Onda events boils down to these three faces behind the organization. It’s been quite a process to scale events to this size, but they’ve done it with ease.
“That’s what we’re trying to make—a community for all of us so we can talk to each other, hang onto each other and just have a good community with good energy. Only 60-70% of our attendees are Latino. It’s a multicultural party and hope that everyone feels welcome. I love it when I see people of all colors and all sexual orientations dancing like it was the last day of the world.”-Luiz “Nano” Fuerte, Latinos Con Onda DJ + producer
The culture that unites us
For the creators of Latinos Con Onda, culture is key. Kristhian combined his love of Latin music with vinyl records to put together what he likes to call “vinyl culture”. At first, this really wasn’t mainstream but the people who came to these events fell in love with it.
“It was kind of hard at the beginning because most of the Latino community didn’t understand. Why are you not playing the Top 40 songs on the radio? They didn’t understand the concept. Little by little, we stopped being so close-minded and opened our minds to give you this music. Then, we were open to bringing in digital DJ’s. Now, it is a blend of both things.”-Kristhian Treviño, Latinos Con Onda, Founder
He loves not only sharing music with the Latin community but exposing people to places that they’d normally shy away from, which is why these events are held in popular spaces.
“The Birmingham community has been so inclusive to us, and we are really grateful for it.”-Kristhian Treviño, Latinos Con Onda, Founder
In his free time, Kristhian also has his own radio show on Substrate Radio, an Avondale-based station. This show, “The Other Sounds of Latino America”, is live on Wednesdays from 7PM-9PM. It features different sounds of Latino culture, from commercial hits to more niche sounds.
Want to immerse yourself in Latin culture? Make sure you get your tickets now.
It’s party time, Birmingham
If there’s one thing you should take away from this story, it’s to make plans to be at their next celebration on Saturday, March 26. Not only will you be able to try their new Mexican Lager, but you’ll be able to celebrate Latin culture through markets, vendors, authentic food trucks and Loteria—a traditional Mexican bingo.
- Location: Ghost Train M2- 3501 1st Ave S. Birmingham, AL 35222
- Day + time: Saturday, March 26 | 4 PM-12 AM
- Tickets: $10 at the link
Loteria will be free to play for festival attendees and will be hosted from 4PM-6PM, before the dance floor gets too crazy. Bring your competitive side, because there will be fantastic prizes for the winners provided by Local Realty.
The market will bring together some of your favorite Latino-owned businesses such as Tryna B Studios, Crazy Cat Crystals and Bandito Glass. You won’t go hungry with food trucks/vendors like Chilitos Bham, Cenaduria Morelia and Thirstea Cafe.
Most importantly, we’re excited to see all cultures come together. The team at Ghost Train feels the same.
“We made it our personal project to make Ghost Train one of the most inclusive places for all people in the city of Birmingham. I feel that we’ve been really successful. Kristhian’s first event with us last summer was the first event that brought the entire Latin American community of Birmingham to us. It’s really opened our doors to a whole new culture and honestly, we just love it.”– Amber Harris, Ghost Train Brewing, Marketing and Events Director
Let’s hear it for the beer
Let’s be honest, the beer itself deserves a whole story. When the Latinos Con Onda team envisioned a special beer, they were stumped between creating a traditional, light Mexican lager and one with more of a kick to it.
“We wanted to go down the route, some sort of Mexican lager or pilsner, something with not a high ABV, something middle of the road so that people are able to enjoy it. We used to do a poblano pilsner back in the day where we took fresh poblanos and juiced them and put that into the beer. Our first thought was to do a big batch of that, but wound up doing a clean Mexican lager. At the event, we’ll have treated kegs of that lager with poblanos, so if people want to try the poblano beer, they can.”-James Vance, Ghost Train Brewing, Director of Operations
If you can’t make it to the event to try the beer, no worries. Ghost Train is canning the Latinos Con Onda beer and will have it available for purchase after Saturday as well as on tap.
Everything is authentic, right down to the art. The team commissioned an artist out of Durango, Mexico, Jorge Chavez, to design the can art for the beer and the event itself. You can find Chavez’s other piece on his Instagram.
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