The D.C. area’s most visible Latino population may be from El Salvador, but Verano Zol, the annual music festival sponsored by D.C.’s Latin pop station El Zol 99.1 FM, skews Caribbean. In a lineup dominated by Puerto Rican artists, there is only one Salvadoran act on the bill: opening dance band Los Hermanos Flores. The headliner is Prince Royce, the 22-year-old New York–born Dominican heartthrob who has clung to the Latin and Tropical charts since late 2009, anchored by his bachata take on Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me.” While the bill omits Billboard-charting regional Mexican acts, it partially serves as a microcosm of popular Latin music nationwide: There’s the Puerto Rican Tito El Bambino, who started as a smooth-voiced reggaeton rapper and gradually veered into slick cumbia and bachata; Puerto Rican singer Olga Tañón, who has long made exuberant merengue dance music, but has also branched out into pop and Mexican style ballads; and finally, Jerry Rivera—from, yes, Puerto Rico—whose pop-salsa and romantic ballads are ear-friendly but not saccharine. What’s the common thread among these artists? Slow dance rhythms and polished melodies fit for swaying to in the summer heat.
The concert begins at 10 a.m. at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds, 16 Chestnut St., Gaithersburg. $20 in advance; $30 at door. 301-963-3247.