Two weeks ago, I covered the Traditional Mariachi Festival and was impressed by its participants’ adherence to an older – and less popular – tradition of mariachi.
And because I’m a journalist dedicated to giving all perspectives their day in court, I faithfully covered the subsequent festival, the International Festival of Mariachi and Charreria – but only the free events so as to maintain my allegiance with the hoi polloi.
Fortunately, and to the organizers’ credit, there were plenty of free concerts to choose from over the course of the ten-day festival. What follows is a short montage of memorable moments from the week wrested from my mind’s beat-up camcorder and applied to paper.
The sun was shining down on Guadalajara’s Plaza de Liberacion at 4 p.m. on Friday, August 25th, but numerous puddles reflecting its rays back up into the sky and into the eyes of pedestrians dodging them on the way to a large covered staged set up in front of Teatro Degollado attested to the warm summer deluge which had drenched Guadalajara and left her wet and gleaming earlier that morning.
The concert stage, however, was well-protected against the threat of continued showers, and nothing short of hell cracking open in the centro historico was going to stop the mothership of the world’s premier mariachi festival from awakening with the blast of trumpets, the deep plong of the guitarron and the bee-swarm sawing of horsehair bows.
From Friday, August 25 to Friday September 1, the aforementioned stage, whose cover sheltered against the possibility of precipitation not only the performers and crew but also several acres of folding chairs set out for the comfort of spectators, paid host to the festival’s workhorse and crown jewel, the gloriously, democratically and entirely gratis Pabellon Cultural.