Another success for Pachanga Latino Music Festival! On May 14-16 the music event and Austin cultural staple expanded to include cities Dallas and Houston for the first time. Last year Pachanga proved a huge hit when crowds flocked to see singer Julieta Venegas and this year, its 8th year running, the fest continued to draw crowds with a mix of well-known Hispanic musicians and bands and smaller, indie ones.
The crowds Pachanga attracts are also impressively diverse, demonstrating the fest’s ability to cater to many different types of people. Earlier in the day families with small children abounded, exploring the many kid-focused activities organized for little ones. A little later, once the big-name bands like Compass and Kinky began to play, the groups of teenagers and adults sans kids poured into the fest. What’s more people came all over Texas, out-of-state and even outside the country as many Mexican tourists showed up to cheer on national favorites like Ceci Bastida and Kinky.
A noticeable theme throughout the fest was the impressive display of musical ‘girl power.’ Throughout the day and evening the fest featured girl bands or female musicians whose messages and styles expressed confidence in their femininity and in their dreams. In fact, one of the first bands to take the stage was none other than Austin, Texas’s own “Tiarra Girls”, a local band that has taken the city by storm. A rock band of three teenage sisters, they delighted the crowd by performing their own songs as well as covers of Selena and Juanes. Keep an eye on these girls – they are going places!
Not long after Ceci Bastida, Tijuana native who began her singing career at age 15, took the stage and bared her soul with pieces that explored politics and violence from a woman’s uniquely deep perspective. She has said in interviews that when she composed such pieces she was pregnant, wondering how to bring new life into such a dark world. Her singing and lyrics felt uniquely female as they at once explored her fears and sought empowerment through them.
But perhaps the biggest hit of the night was Mala Rodriguez, who traveled all the way from Spain for a rare North American musical performance! Raised in a poor family she became involved in the music scene as a teenager and since become one of the first women to achieve success in Spanish-language hip-hop. At Pachanga she mesmerized the audience with fierce rap sets whose sheer power and speed most audiences are only used to hearing from male rappers.
Pachanga oganizers certainly chose well by including powerful female figures in their line-up. Who would Latinitas like to see in the lineup next year? Any ideas?