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Pachanga Fest 2014 Highlights

Nancy Flores

Editor’s note: This article was originally published May 11, 2014

When navigating a festival like Pachanga, keeping an open mind and letting your ears guide you helps create the best music experiences. The idyllic setting at Fiesta Gardens on the shores of Lady Bird Lake provides a laid-back vibe that’s big enough for a growing crowd but small enough to still run into all your friends.

With genre-blending Latin alternative acts dominating this year’s line-up, rising stars emerged and established acts shined. Here are some of Pachanga Latino Music Festival’s most memorable 2014 moments:

Most Original Tribute Band: Brownout Presents Brown Sabbath

From bands paying homage to Selena to a mariachi band covering Beatles’ tunes, we’ve seen several tribute bands perform at Pachanga. But Brownout’s “Brown Sabbath” kicked up the level of ingenuity with their world music-meets-classic metal project that had fans in awe when they performed a brilliant version of “War Pigs.”

Best Guitar Solo: Del Castillo

You can always count on Austin’s Del Castillo brothers, Mark and Rick, to deliver jaw-dropping guitar solos that leave you in awe of their musicianship. They electrified crowds at Pachanga by not missing a beat even when they put the guitar over their heads and continued their signature dynamic, fast-past strumming. Moments like these remind us of just how lucky we are to have musicians of their caliber in our backyard.

Goose bump-Provoking Moment: La Vida Bohéme

As soon as Venezuelan rockers La Vida Bohéme began playing their moving song “Flamingo,” it was evident that magic was happening. With the intro tempo slowed down and lead singer Henry D´Arthenay pouring so much emotion into each lyric, I felt a wave of goose bumps race up my arm. D’Arthenay’s hypnotic intensity grabbed each one of us in the audience and didn’t let go until the last note. Already considered an excellent live band, La Vida Bohéme just keeps getting better.

Most Exciting Surprise: La Santa Cecilia with Krudas Cubensi

Just when Los Angeles-based band La Santa Cecilia had an energetic cumbia party going and the crowd thought nothing could possibly make the show better, Austin’s Cuban hip-hop duo Krudas Cubensi jumped on stage for a surprise mind-blowing collaboration.

Cumbia plus rap resulted in an exciting Pachanga music moment and epic dance party. Cheers to genre-blending music that redefines what Latin music means today.

Best Fan Moment: Julieta Venegas

Longtime Julieta Venegas fans were treated to a closing performance chock-full of hit songs that ranged from early in her career until now. Fans couldn’t resist but sing along to many of her classic songs, giving them a chance to connect to one of Mexico’s brightest superstars.