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Colombia Fest Press Release - English

THE 9TH ANNUAL El GRAN FESTIVAL COLOMBIANO/COLOMBIAN FEST CHICAGO TO BE HELD AT NEW LOCATION ON THE MAIN CAMPUS GROUNDS OF NORTHEASTERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY ON THE NORTHWEST SIDE. OPENS IT’S GATES TO THE PUBLIC ON FRIDAY, JULY 14th WITH A GRAN COMMUNITY DAY WITH FREE ADMISSION!

CHICAGO—Northeastern Illinois University will host El Gran Festival Colombiano (The Great Colombian Festival) on the University’s Main Campus (Outdoors) from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. July 14-16. Main entry gate at 3701 West Bryn Mawr Ave. and Central Park Avenue in Chicago.


The festival celebrates Colombia’s culture and traditions — from its cuisine and carnivals, to cumbia and vallenato music and dance. The festival will also include cultural workshops along with invited artists who will share their talent with the community in an exchange of music, art, and dance.


Experience this passionate celebration’s explosive carnival colors as you learn to dance cumbia and salsa and enjoy incredible foods and spirits. Taste and enjoy a crisp and light lager that we crafted in Chicago with a collaboration with Casa Humilde Cerveceria and Ortega Brothers specially for Gran Festival Colombiano; GFC Premium Lager. (4.5% ALC/VOL).

A festival feature; La Gran Parada (Grand Parade) celebrates life and pageantry through a spectacle of "Carnaval," where patrons are invited to join in their traditional costumes led by the CONGO GRANDE de Chicago along with Raices de Mi Tierra, a new newly formed folkloric collective around the grounds on Sunday, July 16th - the last day of the festival. Congo Grande is led by Festival director and founder Jorge L. Ortega, a Chicagoan who was born in Barranquilla, Colombia.

El Gran Festival Colombiano/Colombian Fest Chicago advance tickets are now on sale at event website, EVENTBRITE, TICKETON or at select ticket outlets, for a complete list of ticket outlets please visit the event website. General admission tickets available on the day of the show at the front gate at a higher price.

El Gran Festival Colombiano/Colombian Fest Chicago is produced by Ortega Brothers LLC. with the support of our community partners; ICLC. The festival will place a surcharge on every ticket sold. 2.00 per ticket will go to benefit the NEIU Foundation for the GFC Scholarship Fund and ICLC Cultural Preservation Fund.

Please use Ride Share Apps, Car Pool and Public Transportation Bus # 53 Pulaski, Bus# 84 Peterson, Bus#81 Lawrence, Bus#82 Kimball/Homan, Bus#92 Foster, Brown Line Kimball and Lawrence Ave.

AMPLE PAID PARKING AVAILABLE AT NEIU ENTER OFF BRYN MAWR AVE. AND CENTRAL PARK. PRE-PURCHASE PARKING ONLINE AT TICKETON.COM OR AT THE GATE DAY OF EVENT.

Stay up to date with the latest news, visit colombianfestchicago.com or follow the Fest at @colombianfestworldwide


The festival will present legendary and contemporary artists; THE QUEEN OF MERENGUE MILLY QUEZADA, YEISON JIMENEZ, WILLY GARCIA (Ex Singer of Grupo Niche, Son de Cali) WITH GFC INTERNATIONAL ALL-STAR BIG BAND, ELDER DAYAN DIAZ, THE LATIN BROTHERS, ARMANDO DAVALILLO (ORIGINAL SINGER OF LOS ADOLESCENTES), SON PALENQUE, LA JARA NYPD BAND, many more!

Friday, July 14th Program Highlights;

  • Gran Festival Colombiano will be dedicating its Gran Community Day to Chicago’s first responders on Friday, July 14th, 2023 from 3:00 PM to 10:00 PM. In honor of the fallen heroes from the Chicago Police Department & Fire Department: P.O Andres Vasquez Lasso, P.O. Ella French, P.O. Areanah Preston, Firefighters Lieutenant Jan Tchoryk and Jermaine Pelt. With a Special Concert With New York City Police Latino Tropical Band; LA JARA! And GFC International All-star Big Band made up 32 Chicago’s best musicians along with local emerging talents.

  • GFC along with Chicago Police Department Sports Teams will be hosting a FREE SPORTS SUMMER CAMP for kids starts Friday, July 14, 12pm-3pm, @ NEIU Athletic Field. Players and Coaches from the CPD ENFORCERS, CPD Baseball Club KNIGHTS, CPD FC, CPD WOMEN’S FC, CPD WOMEN’S SOCCER, CHICAGO POLICE SOCCER CLUB, CHICAGO POLICE BASEBALL CLUB FINEST and CPD CAPS 17TH DISTRICT along with former NFL Football Players will run the sports camp which features; drills, leadership skills, and lots of fun!

Saturday, July 15th Program Highlights;

  • Willy Garcia, Salsa Vocalist from Buenaventura, Colombia will be gracing the Fest’s Main Stage with his orquesta along with a 32 musicians of Gran Festival Colombiano International All-Star Big Band! Willy Garcia has formed and been a part of the most important Colombian Salsa groups; Grupo NICHE, SON DE CALI and La Suprema Corte.

  • This year will be honoring The Queen of Merengue: Milly Quezada celebrating 45 years in music. Quezada is a 4 time GRAMMY Latino awardee returns to Chicago with her 18 piece orquesta direct from the Dominican Republic.

Sunday, July 16th

  • Yeison Jimenez, singer and song writer from Manzanares, Colombia will headline and close the fest’s main stage with Colombian Popular Music and Mexican Regional Music.

  • Elder Dayan Diaz, will honor his father Diomedes Díaz Maestre[1] (26 May 1957 – 22 December 2013[2]) who was a Colombian vallenato singer, songwriter, and composer, nicknamed "El Cacique de la Junta" ("The Chieftain of La Junta").

  • Discos Fuentes The Latin Brothers special guest Edwin Gomez will be hit packed set honoring Colombia’s Salsa Legends, Joe Arroyo and Fruko.

Gran Festival Colombiano History;

After 9 years of explosive growth from a Forest Preserve "Pico" sound-system party & picnic to a world class Latin music festival taking place at various venues around Chicago with stellar music acts, the festival broadly appeals to international audiences.

The festival program has featured a host of legendary artists in a short period of time, with over 50 plus Colombian and International Masters which includee Puerto Rico’s Willie Colon and Puerto Rican Power, Tito Nieves, and Adalberto Santiago; Dominican Republic’s Godfather and King of Merengue the late Johnny Ventura “El Caballo” who triumphantly closed the 2019 Colombian Festival after a 25 year absence from Chicago. Wilfredo Vargas closed the fest last year. Headlining in 2021 the great Lion; Oscar D’ Leon. Selection of Colombian Masters include; Toto La Momposina, Alfredo Gutierrez, Anibal Velasquez, Grupo Niche, Los Gaiteros de San Jacinto, Ivan Villazon, Binomio De Oro de America to name a few.

International Conservatory of Latinx Culture (ICLC) is a new cultural organization which serves as host of the GFC. Their main mission is to keep folkloric culture alive and vibrant in the future. They believe the future lies with helping parents teach and expose their children to their culture, roots, music, foods, dance, art, language, and family values in the modern day. It’s also a primary impetus behind the Colombian Fest (GFC). ICLC is hosting various culture workshops in the festivals’ family pavilion for all patrons young and old. Music, Dance and Art workshops conducted by visiting International Artists SON PALENQUE AND PIBO MARQUEZ along local arts organizations and community partners.



2023 El Gran Festival Colombiano/Colombian Fest Chicago Line Up

Gates: Open 3:00 PM to 10:00 PM to Public. (FREE ADMISSION)

  • LA JARA NYPD LATIN BAND

  • Chicago Police Department Pipes and Drums

  • Gran Festival Colombiano’s International All-Star Big Band featuring

    • Claudia La Gitana (Singer, Colombia)

    • Pibo Marquez (Master Percussionist, Venezuela )

    • Michael Yariel (Singer, Puerto Rico)

    • Enrique Calderon (Singer, Mexico)

    • Andy Ramirez (Singer, Colombia)

    • Yendrys Cespedes Carballosa (, Cuba)

    • Angel Melendez (Brass, Puerto Rico)

    • Jose Viera (Strings, Venezuela )

    • 30 of Chicago’s best musicians.

    • Jorge L. Ortega (Executive Producer/Co-Director, Colombia)

    • Elvis Ortega (Executive Producer/Curator, Colombia/USA)

  • Afro-Colombian Cultural Workshop: ECO de Pacifico and Son Palenque direct from Colombia.

  • Urban Sounds/New Talent: Algarli The 1, JK Urbano, Jhan, Moyo Dee, JStreet

Saturday, July 15th , 2023

Gates Open: 12:00 PM (Noon) to 10:00 PM

  • WILLY GARCIA (Direct From Colombia) with His Orchestra and GFC International All-Star Big Band

  • MILLY QUEZADA (Direct From Dominican Republic)

  • ARAMANDO DAVAILLO (Direct From Venezuela )/ La Klave Orquesta

  • JUVENATO (Vallenato/Cumbia Colombiana)

  • SANTA MUSA (Pop/Venezuela)

  • DJ MAURICIO

  • DJ LOA MALBEC (COLOMBIA, DISCOS FUENTES)

Sunday, July 16TH ,2023

Gates Open: 12:00 PM to 10:00 PM

  • YEISON JIMENEZ (Direct from Colombia)

  • ELDER DAYAN DIAZ (Direct From Colombia)

  • THE LATIN BROTHERS (Direct From Colombia)

  • EDWIN GOMEZ “EL FANTASMA (Direct From Colombia)

  • SON PALENQUE (Direct From Colombia)

  • MONICK Y SU ALPHA TROPICAL (Colombia, Cumbia

  • LA GRAN PARADA with Congo Grande de Chicago & Raices de Mi Tierra

  • DJ MAURICIO

  • DJ LOA MALBEC (COLOMBIA, DISCOS FUENTES)

  • Audio Mute (Rock/Venezuela )

Program Subject to Change.

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