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Arts & Culture

Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza: 'Best-Known Mariachi Festivals In The Nation'

Mariachi Vargas

The Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza is this weekend at the Lila Cockrell Theatre downtown.

Organizers said it's one of the best-known mariachi festivals in the nation.

The extravaganza is a place for competition, education, and performance, according to Erica Gonzaba, spokeswoman for the event.

"Forty different vocalists are competing tonight," she said Friday. “Then tomorrow there are workshops for Mariachi students who might want to pursue a career in mariachi and then Sunday night is the big Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán, who will be here to perform in San Antonio."

IF YOU GO WHAT: Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza WHAT: Lila Cockrell Theatre, 200 East Market Street WHEN:Main concert 7 p.m. Sunday. COST: Tickets range from $46 to $144

Only Sunday's concert is open to the public.

There are 2,500 participants and young mariachis from schools across the country at the festival.

Fernando Gonzalez, co-director of Mariachi Encendido from the Del Sol Academy of the Performing Arts in Las Vegas, Nevada, said he brought his students here to compete.

WATCH | Mariachi Encendido performing at a block party


"Mariachi music is the people's music,” he said. “It's a very old, traditional style of music. It's about the people. It's about the land. It's even about the animals and just stories of our people."

Members of Mariachi Encendido, which means on fire, performed at a South Side block party during the lunch hour in the 300 block of Pleasanton Road to help draw public attention to the festival.

Brian Kirkpatrick can be reached at brian@tpr.org