Latino musicians showcased

Pachanga helps showcase Latino musicians
by Sandra Zaragoza, Austin Business Journal, May 21, 2009

Austin has become a mecca for music festivals and it seems only fitting that a Latino music festival would jump into the fray.

Now in its second year, Pachanga Latino Music Festival is expanding its lineup and introducing children-focused entertainment in hopes of broadening its appeal to all Austinites.

The festival is taking place on May 30 at Fiesta Gardens, a park on Bergman Avenue in East Austin. In addition to showcasing more than 19 bands on three stages, there will be food vendors and arts and crafts booths.

Pachanga’s Producer Rich Garza, of Giant Noise PR, said Pachanga is filling a void in Austin and beyond.

“What makes us different from other Latino festivals is that we are trying to showcase the breath and depth of Latino music,” Garza said.

Festival goers can expect to hear Tejano, Regional Mexican, Mariachi, Salsa, Hip Hop and Indie Rock.

By adding established Latino entertainers like Michael Salgado, a Tejano singer and accordionist, the festival hopes to appeal to the wider Latino base. Other headlining acts include: Mexican Institute of Sound, Chris Perez Band and Brownout. The new Ninos Rock Pachanga area will offer entertainment and Mexican folk arts and crafts activities.

Garza hopes to attract around 4,000 to the 2009 festival, which this year has drawn sponsors Austin Energy, Bud Light, 7-Eleven and State Farm Insurance. Last year, about 3,500 people attended the festival.

Ultimately, Garza said he would like to grow Pachanga into one of Austin’s “marquis” music festivals.

The city reaps both economic and marketing benefits from its renowned music festivals. SXSW Music Festival brings in 157,000 music industry professionals and fans and generates about $103 million for the city. By the same token, Austin City Limits, which is happening in October this year, generates an economic impact of $27 million.

But when it comes to making a music festival work financially, many in Austin have tried and failed.

One music festival producer that seems to be getting the formula right is Transmission Entertainment, which produces Fun Fun Fun Fest and Mess with Texas.

The three-year-old Fun Fun Fun Fest attracted 7,000 music lovers last year, said James Moody, co-owner of Transmission Entertainment. Moody is expecting even more people at this year’s festival, which takes place around November.

“We are excited about its growth, but we want it to be a mid-size festival, not a monster,” Moody said.

Moody believes there is plenty of room in the market for more music festivals if they are “done right.”

“There’s a lot of people that don’t understand the market,” Moody said. “You need a good idea, strong marketing and the talent booking has to be amazing for it to really take off.”

The amount of time it takes for a festival to be successful varies, but a general rule-of-thumb is three years.

“If a festival is not profitable in three years then, they might want to look at other opportunities,” he said.

That said, Moody believes that Pachanga’s chances for long-term viability are high.

“The Latin market is looking for more organized events and Pachanga is doing a great job,” Moody said.

szaragoza@bizjournals.com

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