The Tucson Mariachi Conference
is a Mariachi Music & Folklorico Baile festival currently held annually at the Casino Del Sol. Today, one of the Countries most authentic, community driven events dedicated to the song & dance traditions of Mexico. This festival is especially relevant to Tucson’s borderland past.
In 1982 the Tucson Festival Society became the official sponsor of the Tucson Mariachi Conference. It was not hard to convince influential entrepreneurs that a mariachi conference would be a good thing for Tucson. Many influential Mexican Americans as well as non-Hispanics got involved. It seems that to the business community, celebrating Tucson’s heritage with this festival was more than just good business.
The Tucson Festival Society involved what it considered to be the best of the Hispanic philanthropies in town, La Frontera in creating the first event. La Frontera probably deserves a great deal of credit for the ongoing success of the festival. They organized a massive mobilization of volunteers and resources to make the first conference happen. The concert was a sold-out event with about 9,000 in attendance. That first Tucson International Mariachi Conference prepared the ground for a grand event in Southern Arizona. As a result of their efforts to create the first conference many more people would became involved.
Another important development
in the history of the Conference was involving Tucson’s beloved, homegrown artist, Linda Ronstadt. She was instrumental in bringing folklórico to the Conference program. Without dancing, Ronstadt insisted, the music, “then becomes this rigid, sterile form.”
As a result of this celebration of culture, Tucson maintains it’s place in the Southwest as a diverse city with great pride in the citizens & history of the people who built her. Today the festival is internationally recognized as a center for Mariachi culture. The Annual festival attracts thousands of people from around the world. The Tucson International Mariachi Conference is the longest running event supporting the continuing education, heritage, culture and art of Mariachi. In addition it raises money for scholarships, workshops & La Frontera.