The 1st Annual Rosarito Beach International Mariachi and Folklorico Festival

by Gil Sperry on August 28, 2010

in Mariachi, Special Report

 The 1st Annual Rosarito Beach International Mariachi and Folklorico Festival

By Gil Sperry

For anyone planning to create a major new mariachi y folclorico event, I respectfully ask you to take a deep breath and carefully consider the scope of the adventure on which you are about to embark. My respect for those who have already accomplished this feat continues to grow as we get deeper into the myriad of details that seem to multiply like mushrooms upon a dewy morning’s lawn the closer we get to the actual date of our inaugural festival.

Last October, after moderating a panel on a subject dear to my heart…”The Positive Effects of Mariachi On The Education of Hispanic Youth“… at California State University Los Angeles’ “Latino Book and Family Festival,” I headed due South. My destination was the primera piedra (ground-breaking) for the Club de Ninos y Ninas de Rosarito where I was going to be introduced to the civic leaders who were spearheading this worthy project, a south-of-the-border offshoot of the very successful Boys and Girls Club program that had been started in The United States back in 1947.

1st Rosarito Beach International Mariachi and Folklorico Festival

When these wonderful people found out that I was an author with books written about musica y deportes, they asked if I could come up with a plan to help them raise a portion of the necessary million dollar construction budget. Early into 2010, I presented what I had formulated to Rosy Torres, The President of the Club and found a willing ally. My concept was shamelessly borrowed from the oldest and most successful of them all, The Tucson International Mariachi Conference, which will be celebrating its 29th Anniversary in 2011. However, I did incorporate a few innovations which were necessary due to the abbreviated nature of our initial conclave. The iconic Rosarito Beach Hotel, celebrating its 85th Anniversary this year, could only give us a Friday-through-Sunday slot that was not in competition with the other US/Mexican festivals. We were fortunate that October 1st-3rd, the available open dates, were smack-dab in the heart of Baja’s finest weather weeks. However, we were also unfortunate in that we needed at least four or five days for the workshop vector that had catapulted Tucson’s event to the forefront. As a teacher this was particularly troubling to me so I came up with (alright, borrowed) a sporting concept to align with the music/dance. Yes, the Copa de Mundial was the inspiration. I planned to have Team USA vs Team Mexico in a two day-adjudicated competencia (in both mariachi y folclorico) built around a centerpiece of an evening Espectacular concert. Sounds pretty simple, right? Not really!!!

Putting together Team USA was relatively simple since I had knowledge of all the top mariachi and folklorico in the country. Being sort of a persistent soul (as I guess all authors have to be to finish anything), I eventually got the best-of-the-best to sign on. Check out this award-winning roster:

Team USA-Mariachi

Tesoro de Tucson, Tucson AZ
Puno de Oro, Anaheim, CA
Diamante de San Diego, Chula Vista, CA
Sonido de Mexico, Tucson, AZ

Team USA-Ballet Folklorico
Grupo Sabor de Mexico, Torrance, CA
Puro Corazon, Buena Park, CA
Aztlan de CSUN, Northridge, CA
Ballet Folklorico Tapatio, Tucson, AZ

Those responsible for choosing Team Mexico’s competitive line-up assure me that they intend to successfully defend their home turf.

We are very fortunate to have a Grammy Award-winner agree to be our headliner for a fraction of what they normally receive for a similar performance in the US. The acts accompanying them were equally as gracious as they knew that all of the net proceeds were going to the charity. Checkout the attached poster for details/photos.

Anyhow, our PR machine is now operating at full efficiency and with the help of the Municipality of Playas de Rosarito, The State of Baja California, and the print/broadcast media on both sides of La Frontera, we are expecting all events to sell out. If you would like more specific information, there is a Facebook event invitation up and running, You can also call me at (619) 887-9288 or (619) 400-3292 or e-mail me

You do not want to miss this event. If you’ve never visited our little corner of the world, I guarantee that this will not be the only time you do so. It’s hard to believe that we’ve called this part of paradise home for the past twelve years. We welcome the opportunity to show you around while meeting the gracious cachanillas who welcomed us.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Danny Carrasco August 31, 2010 at 1:07 am

I have lived in Rosarito for 29 years and have always looked for Mariachis here in Rosarito. I am a great fan of Jose Hernandez and El Sol. One of the best Mariachis in the world. In my opinion second to none. Some would debate that Mariachi Vargas is the best.
It is with great joy to hear that Mariachi Divas will be performing live here in Rosarito. Hopefully, I will be in attendance to hear them for the first time. I anticipate a wonderful noche with great mariachi music that touches the souls of men in celebration of their cultural heritage.


Walt Johnson September 4, 2010 at 1:01 pm

Where and when is the Mariachi Festaval?


Gil Sperry September 14, 2010 at 1:23 am

The event is in Baja California, Mexico, just due south of San Diego, CA, USA. The total distance from the Border Crossing at San Ysidro is 20 miles. The event consist of adjudicated competitions from 10:00 AM-3:00 PM on Saturday, October 2nd and Sunday, October 3rd between TEAM USA and TEAM MEXICO. These are book ended around The Espectacular Concert featuring the Grammy Award-winning Mariachi Divas and Friends scheduled for 6:00-9:00 PM on Saturday evening, October 2nd.


Vanessa Huerta February 4, 2011 at 5:55 pm

I am glad you have accomplished such beautiful event making an awareness of our Mexican heritage. Well I wanted to ask you if this was a competition in which any folklorico group can joing?


Gil Sperry February 4, 2011 at 9:37 pm

It is great to hear from you, Vanessa. This year at The 2nd Annual Rosarito Beach International Mariachi & Folklorico Festival (September 28th- October 2nd) there will be two opportunities to be involved. First, at the Student Workshops/Showcase on the first two days and then at the Competencias on the last two days. Please send me an e-mail at and I will see that you get all the information.

Mil gracias for you interest in our event.

Saludos y Salud,
Gil Sperry


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