Mariachi Extravaganza 2022 in San Antonio makes big changes in 28th year


The annual San Antonio Mariachi Competition has a new name and headliner this year.

The new name is Mariachi Extravagance, a rebranding that debuted this week with the 28th edition of the event. The celebration of all things mariachi was previously known as the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza. The name was a nod to Tecalitlán’s perpetual Mariachi Vargas headliners.

This year’s headliner, Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlán, will make her festival debut. The group, founded in 1965 in Guadalajara, has recorded nearly 50 albums, played at festivals across the United States and accompanied singers such as Vicente Fernández and Lila Downs.

The name change is something festival founder and producer Cynthia Muñoz had been considering for about a decade.

Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlán, presented in 2016, is the cover of Mariachi Extravaganza.

Courtesy picture

“There are a lot of reasons for that,” Muñoz said. “If we look at the top three mariachi music festivals in the country – that would be ours, Albuquerque Mariachi Spectacular and Mariachi USA at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, which is not necessarily a mariachi festival but a really big mariachi event – everything the world has very broad names that allow them to feature many different performers and performers each year, and that’s something we thought we should do many years ago.

The fact that Mariachi Vargas was in a period of transition following the death of longtime frontman Rubén Fuentes in February was also a factor in Muñoz’s decision that it was the right time to change his name, she said. declared.

What: A concert featuring Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitalan as well as the winners of the singing and band competition

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Where: Lila Cockrell Theater, 200 E. Market St.

Details : $66 to $206,; More information at

READ MORE: Young mariachi musicians from the San Antonio area prepare for the Mariachi Extravaganza competition

About 900 middle school, high school and college students from all over the country participate in the festival.

It began Sunday with a mariachi mass at Mission San José, and continued with workshops and songwriting, vocal and band competitions, and jam sessions. The Friday night concert with Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlán is the grand finale. Contest winners will also be featured in the performance, Muñoz said.

Each year, the festival crowns hard work for the competitors.

“For these kids, it’s their Super Bowl, it’s their World Cup, it’s their NBA Finals and it’s their Olympics,” Muñoz said. “That’s what they’re working towards all year.”

Gabriella Villasana, a senior at Fox Tech High School, is one of the finalists competing in the singing competition at this year's Mariachi Extravaganza.

Gabriella Villasana, a senior at Fox Tech High School, is one of the finalists competing in the singing competition at this year’s Mariachi Extravaganza.

Javi Vela

Gabriella Villasana has reached the final of the vocal competition for five consecutive years.

“It’s an amazing experience,” said Villasana, who is a senior at Fox Tech High School. “You are part of this wonderful mariachi community, there are people from all over. It’s honestly a great experience. And I’m honored to be able to represent my culture.

Villasana grew up singing with the radio.

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“My mom would wake up and turn on the little radio we have in the living room, and we would play with Juan Gabriel, with Beatriz Adriana, a lot of really great Mexican and Hispanic singers, and a lot of that was mariachi music,” a- she declared.

She became more formally interested in mariachi music in college. And she hopes to stay in touch with the scene after graduating in the spring and heading into a career as a paramedic or nurse.

“I love the mariachi community,” she said. “Hopefully I can still play with friends, maybe record something here and there.”

Muñoz grew up playing in church and school mariachi programs, and she attended San Antonio’s first mariachi festival in 1979, so she saw how powerful events like these can be. for participating students. experience” – and for those in the audience.

“This event is really different because it breaks the stereotypes that people have about Latinos, about mariachis, about music,” she said. “It’s on a whole other level. It’s very young. And I tell these kids all the time, when you combine youth, education and talent, it’s very powerful.

[email protected] | Twitter: @DeborahMartinFR


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