The Tejano Conjunto Festival returns with in-person events in San Antonio, TX

The festival features 30+ bands in Conjunto music. | ūüďł : Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center

Today marks the kickoff of the 40th annual Tejano Conjunto Festival in the Alamo City.

This weeklong celebration (Mon., May 16-Sun., May 22), is expected to draw 10,000+ Conjunto music lovers from across Texas, the US, Mexico, and other international visitors to enjoy the very best of this uniquely-SATX musical genre. 

ūü™ó What is Conjunto Music?

  • Conjunto refers to several types of small musical ensembles. The main instrument is the¬†button accordion, which was brought over to Texas by European immigrants in the late¬†18th and 19th centuries. The¬†bajo sexto, however, is a¬†Mexican string instrument¬†with ties to Mariachi music. They both created a musical fusion of Polka and Ranchera sounds that tell the stories and share the rich history of the people living in South Texas. Today, Conjunto is known as an umbrella term including other genres like Tejano and Norte√Īo music.¬†Think:¬†Ramon Ayala, Tigres del Norte, and Selena.

ūü™ó The history + facts

  • The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center organized the first festival in¬†1982, making it the¬†longest-running¬†celebration of its kind in the US.
  • That same year,¬†The Hall of Fame¬†was introduced, and there have been¬†100+¬†inductees to date.
  • The first¬†17 years¬†of the festival were filmed in their entirety and are featured in¬†UTSA’s¬†Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center¬†archival collection.
  • Last year, the festival was held¬†virtually¬†due to COVID-19. This year, the event returns to¬†Rosedale Park¬†on the¬†Westside ‚ÄĒ one of the birthplaces of Conjunto music.

ūü™ó La Musica¬†

Every year, the festival features musicians from all across the Lone Star State. Performances are broken up into four different genres and begin this Thurs., May 19. 

  • Noche de Conjunto Norte√Īo¬†
  • Lo Mejor de Tejas: Puro Conjunto Pesado‚ÄĮ‚ÄĮ¬†
  • Conjunto Student Showcase¬†
  • Lo Mejor de San Antonio y Tejas

¬†ūü™ó Events we love¬†

  • Symposium on the State and Future of Tejano Conjunto Music | Mon., May 16 | 6-9:30 p.m. | Free | Guadalupe Theater | Listen to a panel of experts who will talk about the future of this traditional genre¬† + a book signing from Tejano legend Little Joe.¬†
  • Conjunto Music in Film and Video ‚ÄĮ| Tue., May 17 | 2-7 p.m. | Free | Watch special screenings of classic films, videos +¬† shorts on Tejano Conjunto Music.
  • Seniors Conjunto Dance | Wed., May 18 | 10 a.m.-12 p.m. | Rosedale Park | Free | Bring your grandma or grandpas to dance with sounds from Los Pinkys with Ysidro Samilpa‚ÄĮand Susan Torres. ‚ÄĮ
  • Conjunto Music Hall of Fame Reunion + Induction Ceremony and Baile | Wed., May 18 | Rosedale Park | $20+ | Watch the special induction ceremony with special musical presentations from past Hall of Fame inductees.

Visit the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center website for more information on the Tejano Conjunto Festival.