During the month of May, people from all over the United States come to enjoy the Tejano Conjunto Festival in Texas. Participants enjoy a blend of food, music and dance during the event held in San Antonio. The first Tejano Conjunto was organized by Juan Tejeda in the 1980s to foster a sense of cultural pride.
In 1981, the first Tejano Conjunto Festival in Texas helped rekindle interest in a forgotten music genre. Tejano means Texan in Spanish. Conjunto music blends German polka and rancheros, a type of music developed in northern Mexico and favored by blue collar workers and farm laborers. After World War II, a new Mexican middle class started to emerge in the United States, who looked down upon conjunto music. Tejada wanted Mexican-Americans to remember and celebrate a piece of their cultural heritage.
Conjunto and tejano bands perform during the festival. Tejano music blends elements of rock, blues, funk and country. Couples dance the tacuachito, or little possum, a dance meant to accompany conjunto music. Attendees enjoy Tex-Mex cuisine, which blends elements of traditional Mexican cooking with southern-style dining. Beers, gorditas, hamburgers and sodas are available for purchase. The official festival poster is selected during a contest that increases in popularity each year. Categories include junior high, high school, college and open entrees. As of July 2011, winners receive $2,000 cash and their artwork is featured in a limited edition print.
Conjunto Music Hall Of Fame
During each festival, there are inductions into the Conjunto Music Hall Of Fame. The Conjunto Music Hall of Fame opened in 2001, in the city of San Benito, Texas. Many consider San Benito to be the birthplace of conjunto music. As of 2010, 35 individuals have been honored, including Narciso Martinez, Tony De La Rosa and Lydia Mendosa.
Attendees have the option of purchasing daily festival tickets, or a pass good for three-day admission. As of the time of publication, Friday admission costs $14 per person, Saturday or Sunday admission costs $18 per person and three-day passes cost $40 per person. Festival hours are subject to change, but as of the time of publication, festivities start at 6 p.m. on Friday and 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Events for each night end between 11 p.m. and midnight.
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