AUSTIN - Over the Cinco de Mayo weekend, Austin-based non-profit organization Rancho Alegre Radio will present its Rancho Alegre Conjunto Festival at various venues in the Austin area.
The annual showcase of traditional, accordion-driven music will feature over 20 different groups from all over Texas, including festival headliner Flaco Jimenez, in addition to partnering with the Austin Tejano Music Coalition, who will be presenting the Austin round of their popular Tejano Idol talent search competition along with performances from previous contestants.
The festival kicks off Friday, May 4 with an evening show at Stubb’s Graceland Grocery in Oak Hill from 4 to 8 p.m., with the main event taking place from 11 a.m. to midnight at Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater and wrapping the weekend up with an early evening tardeada at One-2-One Bar on Sunday, May 6 from 6-8 p.m. All events are free, open to the public, and all ages.
“Every year, we are excited to bring this free, family-friendly event to the community, to showcase so many different performers of this incredible, authentic, traditional Texas music in the heart of downtown at the iconic Stubb’s Waller Creek Ampitheater, but this year is even more special. We’re back to a three-day celebration, we’ll be taking it to a new venue in southwest Austin, we’re partnering with our colleagues at the Austin Tejano Music Coalition, and presenting one of the most legendary and celebrated performers in American music history. It’s a pretty great way to commemorate the fifth year of our festival,” said Baldomero Cuellar, Rancho Alegre Radio Executive Director and self-described “Head Queso.”
Since beginning in 2012, the festival has grown year over year, and moved to Stubb’s over Cinco de Mayo weekend in 2017 after a two-year hiatus. In the four previous years, the festival has presented nearly 70 different groups and special guests. This year is no exception, with over a quarter of the lineup playing the festival for the first time. In addition to Jimenez, notable performers include legends Gilberto Perez Sr., Pepe Maldonado, Chano Cadena, Chencho and Frank Flores, and Bene Medina, as well as Austin groups Los Texas Wranglers and Conjunto Los Pinkys. Rounding out the lineup are veterans and up-and-coming groups and future stars from Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Laredo and the Rio Grande Valley. Santa Rosa High School, whose Conjunto music program began in 2017, will also perform at the event. Los Arcos Hermanos Peña, the veteran family band from Dimmitt, Texas, are scheduled to play a double bill, with a time slot on Saturday May 5 at Stubb’s and the tardeada at One-2-One Bar on Sunday May 6.
At the conclusion of Day Two Saturday May 5, the festival will attempt to set an official Guinness World Record for number of accordionists playing the classic Conjunto polka “Viva Seguin” at the same time.
“We are very excited about this for a few reasons. One, ‘Viva Seguin’ is a standard song that nearly all Conjunto accordionists learn, so just about everyone who plays the instrument knows the song. This will allow for a wide cross section of players to participate. Two, it’s a chance to get Conjunto in the international record books. And lastly, our headliner for this festival is Flaco Jimenez, whose father, Santiago Jimenez Sr., composed the song,” Cuellar said.
According to the Guinness World Record website, no such record currently exists.
In addition to the music at both Stubb’s locations, a wide variety of local food, arts and crafts and other vendors will be on-hand, in partnership with Austin’s own Las Ofrendas founder TK Tunchez.
The Rancho Alegre Conjunto Festival is supported in part by Compadresmusic, Texas Folklife, Fern Landscapes LLC, El Norteño Foods, Lovemytejano.com, JF Mechanical, Gonzalo Rodriguez Quality Home Building and Maintenance, Austin Manual Therapy, and Full Gallop.