By Luke Phillips
After all of the recent earthquakes in the area, Calexico Chamber of Commerce Director Hildy Rivera says that the 19th Annual Mariachi Festival Sin Fronteras is just what people need to relax.
“People just want to celebrate something,” she said. “It’s been rough, and people want to get out.”
The festival, marking it’s 10th year in Calexico, will begin this coming Tuesday and continue all week long before wrapping up with the main event at Crummett Park on Saturday May 15.
Rivera says the earthquake has also affected the way things are being done for this year’s mariachi festival. She says that all mariachi festival events were set to take place at the Calexico Cultural Arts Center, but plans had to be changed after the building was red-tagged by building inspectors. That means an added expense for venue rentals
“We still have a mess on our hands, but we have to on,” Rivera said.
Rivera says sponsorships are also way down this year. She says the event only has 6 or 7 major sponsors this year, as opposed to 36 last year. Rivera suspects that the decline in financial support is due to business owners spending money on fixing earthquake damage instead.
“It was already hard to find sponsorships,” she said. “Now we have the earthquake to top it all off.”
As a way of seeking new revenue to pay for the festival, Rivera is asking politicians in the area, who are campaigning for this spring’s election, to make a $200 donation in exchange for an on-stage introduction and the chance to make a short presentation to the crowd.
“If they’re going to be out there campaigning anyway, and they’re going to be there (at the festival) anyway, maybe they can help support the event,” Rivera said. “We can help each other out.”
Kicking off the festivities will be the Mariachi Mixer Tuesday at Family Style Buffett, featuring dinner, music, and guest speakers. The mixer will also offer the opportunity to sign up for the returning ‘Mariachi Idol’ contest, an ‘American Idol’ style mariachi singing competition. Potential contestants are asked to bring a CD with their own music for the audition. Judges will choose the best three singers to compete at Saturday’s mariachi concert at Crummett Park. The contestants will perform with a live mariachi band and audience members will vote to determine this year’s winner.
A Mariachi Idol audition will also be held at 8 p.m. on Wednesday at the Camerena Library.
The Mariachi Idol contest will continue on Wednesday at the Mariachi Festival Artesian Exhibit and Sale, an art show set for 5 p.m. at the Woman’s Improvement Club, 320 Heber Ave. Refreshments will be served.
Event sponsors will be recognized on Friday night during the 19th Annual Mariach Festival Sponsor Reception at the Woman’s Improvement Club at 6 p.m. The event is for sponsors only and is not open to the public.
On Saturday, the main event kicks off at Crummett Park at 7 p.m.
Rivera says the concert will feature mostly the same acts as last year, with one exception. All female mariachi group Las Adelitas has been added to this year’s line-up. Rivera says that she is excited to see new talent on the stage.
“They’re an all female group, which we’ve never had before,” Rivera said. “We’re all looking forward to it.”
World-famous Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan will be headlining the festival again this year.
The group originally formed in Tecalitlan, Jalisco, Mexico in 1897 and has continued through five different generations of musicians, playing all over the world. In 1987 the band played on Linda Ronstadt’s album ‘Canciones de mi Padre”, which went on to win a Grammy award.
Rivera says the act is very well known among mariachi fans.
“In the mariachi world, this
By Luke Phillips