Listen to Austin 360 Radio

Accentuating Latino-inspired music Pachanga Festival organizer prepares for a 'sábado gigante' (giant Saturday, for those who don't speak Spanish) at Fiesta Gardens

Joe Gross
jgross@statesman.com

In the live music (festival) capital of the world, Austin promoter Rich Garza has forged his own path with the Pachanga Latino Music Festival, which takes place Saturday at Fiesta Gardens.

"It's a testament to how vibrant the city is, as saturated as Austin is, that we can have our own identity as well," Garza says. It's Pachanga's fourth year and its singular mix of tejano, indie rock, mariachi, funk, hip-hop cumbia, and electronic music has few equals. Which is why bands have started to come to Garza.

"For an event and festival standpoint, this is an underserved community and group of genres, so I think the artistic community sees the value in it and wants to really support it and be a part of it," he says.

More than 20 bands will perform on four stages, including Niño's Rock Pachanga, a daylong children's area.

Like all festivals, this year's Pachanga had its share of cancellations. Mexican artist Celso Piña was unable to get a visa in time for the performance. Garza is sanguine about it.

"What are you gonna do?" he asks. "I was very excited about that artist, but we have more than 20 other acts and a $15 (presale) ticket."

Those acts include headliner Ozomatli (their kids' music project, Ozokidz, will headline Niño's Rock Pachanga), Texas rapper Chingo Bling, New York electronic artist Chico Mann (see story, next page) and Houston ska vets Los Skarnales.

"Typically, we've had two headliners going on at the same time," Garza said. "This year, we're going to pull everyone over for Ozomatli, which will let us end on a big note."

Garza is also excited about the Echocentrics, an outfit lead by Adrian Quesada, the guitarist of the Grammy-winning Grupo Fantasma. The band includes Brazilian singer Tita Lima and Argentinian singer Natalia Clavier. "They don't have much brand recognition yet, but they are terrific." (See story, this page)

With the strongest presale in Pachanga's history, Garza describes himself as "bullish" on this little festival that could.

"I don't know if we have a formula, exactly," Garza says, "but we have a bit of a reputation at this point, which is great."

When: Noon to 11 p.m. Saturday