\ ˈvē-yä-pä-ˈlü-zä \
THIS IS WHO WE ARE =)
Villapalooza is a collective of Latine community members that come together to create safe spaces for arts and culture.
We develop multiple platforms that highlight local talent and young creatives. Villapalooza aims to activate spaces to make them more accessible to the larger community.
All core leaders have a longstanding relationship with Little Village as well as a commitment to the development of a thriving youth arts culture in the neighborhood.
Jesus Contreras Jr
Alejandro Colunga Jr
In the summer of 2011, a few friends were discussing the need for local, accessible and culturally relevant performance arts in Little Village. They organized a visioning session at Café Catedral, a local restaurant with a history of supporting the arts, to see who wanted to participate in an effort to address this need. Twenty-five people showed up. Participants decided that they wanted to follow the lead of initiatives like Villarte’s Little Village Arts Fest but, instead of transforming community spaces into pop-up art galleries, they would transform them into pop-up music and performance venues. Little Village is known as a very traditional Mexican and Mexican American neighborhood, and this group wanted to make sure that the diversity of Little Village and its youth movements were also highlighted. They also wanted to be intentional about creating safe spaces across gang boundaries.
Committees were formed and organizers began to develop a plan for a free, all-day, all-ages music festival. In a little over three months, they were able to acquire permission to use a parking lot, a school play space, an empty storefront and a local bar – four venues that stretched across the neighborhood in Little Village. With over 20 performers, 25 vendors and 500 attendees, the first event was a major success.
Five years later in 2015, the Villapalooza festival drew over 10,000 attendees and filled over four blocks of Little Village’s historic 26th Street with music stages, art and food vendors, and family activities. More than 120 performers and 100 art vendors have participated over the years. However, it continues to be a grassroots music festival managed by a collective of dedicated volunteers.
Victor H. Yepez
Gustavo H. Yepez
Elias "tat" Corral