Pachanga Fest is a portrait of the Latino Community in Texas. Musicians spanning from their mid-teens, to some that have been around for a while– women, men, a dancing chicken man with biceps, rock-stars, sweet-southern-country voices, cumbia, cumbia, cumbia– the atmosphere flooded with sonority that exuded a richness and value that can only be found together on one day, in one place– and that would be at Pachanga Fest.
Early afternoon, among the grey and muggy haze, the voice of Gina Chavez resonated throughout the park from the Kid’s Stage, as she taught the children how to write song-write. The songstress then went on to perform her undeniably catch tunes– such as “Miles de Millas” and a crowd favorite “Embrujo”. Another distinct voice followed later that day– fifteen-year-old Rian C’s strong southern voice carried powerfully through his set as he touched base with Elvis, Amy Winehouse and Nirvana. Rian C. might be composed of high-school freshmen, but they were born talented.
The sun eventually broke through the heavy, grey overcast, and Chingo Bling, Los Skarnales, and La Guerrilla, carried the afternoon festivities with laughter and entertainment. All three brought an immense amount of energy to their performances, with various elements which highlighted their talents. Though, all three groups are vastly different in the art they produced, their common trait was their notable audience interaction and how well the audience was receptive to the energy they manifested.
The festival seemed to showcase a lot of electronic/synth with free-styling beats this year. Chico Mann and Mexicans with Guns brought a very red-light district, European house-party feel as the sun began to set, and attendees began to loosen up. There were several abstract factor in some of the day’s performers as well. Revolutionary lyricists of Este Vato encompassed the perfect concoction of rhythms and lyrics to convey particular ideas. In addition, The Echocentrics brought a hazy, psychedelic feel, dipped in rich Latin sounds.
Despite the heat, no one was too hot to dance to Master Blaster Sound System’s unique cumbia sound. With a twist of an electronic sound, the band’s latin-dance-party feel inspired an entire tent full of people to let go and dance. The movement smoothly transitioned to the Peligrosa All-Stars DJing with danceable, Latin beats. In the masses of this collective consciousness moving to the same rhythm, the same beat– there is comfort and safety, and from that, confidence, sexiness, and provactiveness stems.
I think the remarkable thing about live music is witnessing the magic fall into place– aligning itself with sound as the artist bangs relentlessly on keys, or the dumb-founding and natural way their fingers strum strings. There is beauty in witnessing a genius perform their art. It feels as though you are watching a vulnerable being complete unravel and reveal themselves. There is almost a bit of shame as you watch someone fall in a complete trance– especially during Maneja Beto’s performance. Without a doubt they are painfully brilliant, to where you find yourself blushing, and then gawking without shame in awe. You almost loose that rhythm, and your swaying becomes an uninterrupted stare.
Ozomatli’s headlining performance was the perfect way to wrap up the festivities. Humor, spectacular lighting, the sweet sound of brass, and the beat, of course. The audience would light up and roar and dance tirelessly as familiar music flooded the pavilion. Those are the moments you never quite forget– dancing with two hundred people on hot summer day, among the smell of grass, the light breaking beneath the horizon, all of us alone and together– to the same pulse, the same beat, that reminds us that we are all the same, and with a sexy Spanish twist in our hips.
Such things as Pachanga Fest need to exist. Music is beautiful, and it is an art– but Pachanga Fest in itself is a collective art– it is more than music. Pachanga Fest is the honey of society, preserving the sweet fruits and bearings of the Latin culture. There is no shame there to speak in Spanish; there is no embarrassment in hip shaking in broad daylight, and absolutely no shame in inhaling your weight in food.
Photos by Mari Hernandez.
Nina Diaz from Girl In A Coma
Mexicans with Guns & Toy Selectah
Mater Blaster Sound System
Mariachi Las Alteñas
Aj Vallejo w/Pachanga Kids