If Saturday was all about the big music acts, then Sunday was a day to really focus on the fest and the smaller bands people weren’t as familiar with. With many attendees less acquainted with SZA, being that Cardi B brings in a understandably more casual music crowd, fans spread out and enjoyed all the food, focused on bands they had not seen before, and really enjoyed the general atmosphere of the fest. Fans new and old reacquainted themselves with bands they hadn’t seen before, or hadn’t seen in years. It really propelled Tropicalia to new heights, and gave acts a new focus to new fans. Check below to see some of those acts highlighted.

The Audience

Like we said before, it was refreshing seeing a lot of people who were there just for Cardi to be exposed to many new acts they weren’t familiar with, and SZA is an amazing substitute for the infamous rapper. Fans and the crowd did a great job telling newcomers who the best acts to see were, and the die hards were out in style. Locals convinced casual fans that they came to the right place, even without their queen, Cardi B. There were certainly more than enough crowd pleasers to make sure they had a great time.

Chicano Batman

As we’ve said before, you can’t beat festival appearances of Chicano Batman. The soulful suit wearing suavistas always stun audiences. The crowd was pretty familiar with the band, and those who weren’t only had praise for their set. We don’t think it could be Tropicalia without an appearance from these dudes.

Mac DeMarco

This was definitely Mac DeMarco’s most notable set we’ve ever seen. Mac came out in a giant turkey suit we’ve seen him in before, but he’s never donned it onstage to the extent he has at Tropicalia. He had a lot of fun, and appeared without a backing band as this was the start of his solo tour. Some fans didn’t know what to expect, but were pleasantly surprised. Mac enjoyed it, making jokes and messing around with what was expected as a typical set he’d deliver. You’ve seen that a million times already haven’t you? We dug the departure from the norm. Mac will be Mac, and that’s why we love him.

Tijuana Panthers

Tijuana Panthers have been tearing up the scene for years. These local favorites delivered over and over again with a crowd-pleasing set that got the party started. They deliver over and over again at smaller venues, and seeing them on the big stage again at a fest was perfect. Viva la Panthers! Those unfamiliar with the act just got a new favorite band.
Boy Pablo

If Mac DeMarco had established this generation’s default, slacker indie king aesthetic, Boy Pablo was the new torchbearer in the next generation’s second coming. His bedroom pop draw had a younger audience thrilled, and new fans wrapped their head around why the crowd couldn’t get enough of him.


Clairo had a great presence all over fests this year. She made huge splashes at Lollapalooza, and this was probably her second biggest debut with people unfamiliar with her work. Local fans probably knew her sound, but those who came just for Cardi B most likely had no idea. She blessed us all year long with appearances in 2018, so it’ll be interesting to see her fest exposure in 2019. She’s always fun, and her bedroom pop act is a nice respite from the more intense stylings of fests.


SZA never disappoints. There was a real sadness when she announced bad voice and throat problems for a few months, and the world was worried if her demand was exactly what was keeping her from performing. Luckily, she’s since recovered, and we get to hear more from one of the biggest goddesses in the world of music. It seems crazy that some people were unfamiliar with her, especially since her appearances with notable acts like Kendrick, her epic performances at Coachella, and her inclusion in soundtracks like Black Panther kept her poppin all year, but those who hadn’t heard of her left with a new favorite headliner. Long live yet another queen!

That’s it for Tropicalia 2018, we look forward to what awaits in the upcoming 2019 and 2020 lineups. Hopefully more Kali Uchis, more culture, and more inclusion at an already dynamic and diverse fest. That, and more good tacos will keep us coming back for years.

Photos by Joseph Baura. Words by James Sakert