When you think of the Wisconsin Dells area Latin music is probably not the first thing that comes to mind, but organizers of “Los Dells Festival” want to change that. It doesn't look like much now but over Labor Day weekend a 1,500-acre piece of farm land in Juneau County will be transformed into a major music festival hosting some of the biggest names in Latin music.
With a $2.5 million talent budget, the festival will feature 28 acts. Daddy Yankee, who is featured heavily on the popular track ‘Despacito,’ and Mana are two of the main headliners.
“We are bringing in literally the top acts in the world for Latin music,” Chris Lechnir, who is helping run the event, said.
Organizers are banking on the belief that those headliners will attract 40,000 spectators to the Town of Lemonweir near Mauston, Wis.
“It’s just going to be a really, really good time for everybody. As long as they can get over the fact that it's really happening it's in the woods and it's in Mauston Wisconsin,” Lechnir said.
The event is the brainchild of Damon Zumwalt who owns Contemporary Services Corporation a security firm that has handled events like the Olympics. Zumwalt owns the land where Los Dells Festival will be held and a number of nearby properties including Woodside Sports Complex.
“Damon (Zumwalt) felt very strongly that there hasn't been a large Latin fest in the country,” Lechnir said.
Juneau County expects the event to bring in half a million in retail sales tax alone, and in the process expose more people to a little known piece of Wisconsin.
“Like a lot of counties in the state, we are desperate for workers and we are hoping that a lot of people who come visit the area want to decide to live here,” Terry Whipple, the executive director of the Juneau County economic development corporation said.
Los Dells Festival begins Sept. 2. In addition to bringing major acts and local benefits, organizers hope it will bring national recognition by of the end of the final set.
“Damon (Zumwalt) isn't thinking this is just regional, and he wants this to grow for years and years like Coachella has done,” Lechnir said.
Organizers plan on holding a country music festival and an oldies music festival on the site as well.
The Juneau County Sheriff's Department and Contemporary Services Corporation will handle the influx of people to the area.
Tickets start at $99.