San Antonio lost one music festival and gained another this year.
The loss: The International Accordion Festival, a homegrown, family friendly annual event that expertly finds interrelationships between South Texas conjunto, Louisiana zydeco, and Eastern European folk music. The Accordion Festival has drawn up to 25,000 people a year, treated its bands well, and asked for little (between $20,000 and $30,000) in the way of financial help from the City of San Antonio.
The gain: The People en Español (PESP) Festival, a slick, shiny, look-at-me event put on by New York promoters, which got a $500,000 commitment of financial support from the city, charged people up to $300 to see the likes of Luis Miguel and Daddy Yankee, provided no paying gigs for San Antonio artists, and, for all the hype, drew a two-day concert audience of only about 15,000.
At the risk of overstatement, it’s a bit like trading an original of Picasso’s “Three Musicians” for a black velvet Elvis.