FESTIBA Mariachi Festival

Festiba Arts and Literacy Banner

Greetings Friends!

We hope that you all are having a great fall semester and are healthy and safe!!

The theme of FESTIBA 2024 is Inspiring Hope and Prosperity Through Arts and Literacy and we are planning a great week of exciting and memorable activities!

The FESTIBA 2024 Mariachi Festival will take place on March 1st & 2nd. We are posting the registration forms soon on the UTRGV FESTIBA website. Please submit by February 1st, 2024 at festiba@utrgv.edu. Workshop and Competition schedule to follow.

We are proud and excited to introduce our special guests for FESTIBA 2024!!

los camperos

Mariachi Los Camperos represent the dignity, heart, and soul of traditional Mexican music. Founded in 1961 by the visionary Natividad "Nati" Cano, the Grammy award-winning group has played a significant role in developing the mariachi tradition across the United States and worldwide. They made history as the first mariachi ensemble ever to play Carnegie Hall in New York City, recorded and toured with Linda Ronstadt, and have released a dozen artful albums that breathe new life into traditional pieces, contributing to the recognition that mariachi music has attained. After years of working under Nati's tutelage, musical director Jesús "Chuy" Guzmán leads the Mariachi Los Camperos legacy today, providing the vision for their sound and repertoire through rich and elegant arrangements.

Explore the group's recordings on Folkways.

The Making of a Maestro: Mariachi Los Camperos Leader Chuy Guzmán

August 21, 2019 | Daniel Sheehy, Smithsonian Folklife Magazine

It’s as if he were born to lead a world-renowned mariachi ensemble. In fact, the die may have been cast before he was born. His father was a professional mariachi musician in the coastal town of Ensenada, Baja California, just south of the border with the United States. He undoubtedly heard the music from inside his mother’s womb.

Jesús Guzmán was born in 1964 and known by the nickname “Chuy.” By the early 1970s, he was inspired to follow in his father’s footsteps as a violinist. After school each day, “I would get my violin, my records, and practice into the night,” he recalls. He started his own group with his brothers and friends, rehearsed them, and took up the guitarrón and vihuela (bass and rhythm guitars, respectively) as well as the violin.

As a young man, Chuy moved to Tijuana, playing in the restaurant Carnitas Uruapan, known for decades as the home of the best mariachi music of the region. There in 1984 and 1985, he experienced one of the most intense learning opportunities that mariachi culture offers: playing ten to seventeen hours a day in the demanding musical setting known as al talón (from talón, “heel,” referring to walking from customer to customer). Successful talón musicians must know by memory a repertoire of literally thousands of pieces, since they get paid for playing requests. Put simply, if musicians don’t know a song requested by a customer, they don’t get paid. It’s a powerful incentive to build repertoire.

At Carnitas Uruapan, Chuy played violin with his regular group from noon to about 10 p.m., and often would sit in with the other house mariachi which took over at 10 and played until the customers left, usually at 4 or 5 a.m. He estimates that on a long work day, he would play about 150 pieces.
“It was like a train runs over you, but it was beautiful experience, an experience spending time with two very beloved groups there in Tijuana.”

Along the way, he took up the fourth of the four main mariachi instruments—the trumpet—to fill in when a trumpet player couldn’t show up or needed a break. Chuy forged his impressive musical skills in the two major “conservatories” of mariachi culture: the family and al talón. Click Here to Read More!

Plan to join us at FESTIBA 2024!! It will be a great workshop, competition and concert!

Warmest regards,
Dahlia & Francisco




Friday, March 1
8:30 - 9:30am: Registration

9:30 - 10:00am: Presentation of Music with Mariachi Los Camperos and Mariachi Aztlán

10:00am - 12:00pm: Instrumental Workshops with Mariachi Los Camperos,
Mariachi Aztlán, and Iván Velasco

10:30 - 11:30am: Directors’ Masterclass with Jonathan Palomar and Dr. Adolfo Estrada, moderator

12:00 - 1:00pm: Lunch on your own 

1:00 - 3:00pm: Instrumental Workshops with Mariachi Los Camperos, Mariachi Aztlán; Jonathan Palomar and
Iván Velasco

1:30 - 2:30pm: Directors’ Masterclass with Jesus “Chuy” Guzmán and Eddy López, moderator   

3:30 - 5:30pm: FESTIBA 2024 Mariachi Festival Vocal Competition for Middle School and High School Semi-Finals (Tickets: $5 General Admission)

7:00 - 8:30pm: FESTIBA 2024 Mariachi Festival Concert 1
featuring Jonathan Palomar and Mariachi Aztlán with Middle School first place winner and five High School Vocal Competition Finalists. Winners announced at the end (Tickets: $10 General Admission; Workshop Registration includes free ticket to Concert 1)

  UTRGV Edinburg Campus, Performing Arts Complex 

Saturday, March 2 

9:30 - 11:30am: Middle School, JV and 4A Group Competition

12 - 4pm: 5A and 6A High School Group Competition.
Division winners and Grand Champion announced at the end.

7 - 9pm: FESTIBA 2024 Mariachi Festival Grand Concert: Middle and High School Vocal and Ensemble Competition winners, Mariachi Aztlán, and Mariachi Los Camperos (Tickets: $5/10/20; Workshop Registration includes free ticket to Grand Concert)

Location:  UTRGV Edinburg Campus, Performing Arts Complex 

FESTIBA Special Guests

chuy-guzman275.jpgMaestro Chuy Guzman, Chuy Guzman is known for his musical arrangements that highlight the skills and voices of the group. He is widely recognized as arranger, director, instructor, and musician in the genre of Mariachi music. Mr. Guzman has served as head instructor for numerous international mariachi festivals in the United States and Mexico. He is the Musical Director for the Mariachi Master Apprentice Program (MMAP) in San Fernando and continues as the instructor for Music of Mexico, at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Under Guzman’s Direction, in 2006 Mariachi Los Camperos received a Grammy nomination for their Album “Llegaron Los Camperos”, In 2008 Mariachi Los Camperos took home a Grammy Award for Best Regional Mexican Music Album with “Amor, Dolor y Lagrimas". They later released a 2015 Grammy-nominated musical tribute to Nati Cano called: Tradición, Arte, y Pasión, this album gave Mariachi Los Camperos a Grammy nomination. Determined for a Grammy Award, In January 2020 at the 62nd Grammy award celebration, Mariachi Los Camperos took home another Grammy Award with their album release “De Ayer Para Siempre” for Best Regional Mexican Music Album.
Photo Credit: Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

los.camperos.stage275.jpgMariachi Los Camperos represent the dignity, heart, and soul of traditional Mexican music. Founded in 1961 by the visionary Natividad "Nati" Cano, the Grammy award-winning group has played a significant role in developing the mariachi tradition across the United States and worldwide. They made history as the first mariachi ensemble ever to play Carnegie Hall in New York City, recorded and toured with Linda Ronstadt, and have released a dozen artful albums that breathe new life into traditional pieces, contributing to the recognition that mariachi music has attained. After years of working under Nati's tutelage, musical director Jesús "Chuy" Guzmán leads the Mariachi Los Camperos legacy today, providing the vision for their sound and repertoire through rich and elegant arrangements.

jonathan.palomar275.jpgThe FESTIBA 2024 Mariachi Festival is proud to welcome Jonathan Palomar as a guest artist and vocal instructor for the workshop on March 1st.  Jonathan toured as a vocalist and guitarist with Mariachi Vargas Tecalitlán from 2017–2023. For the past seven years, he performed to sold-out audiences throughout the world, toured with Luis Miguel on his México por Siempre tour, and rose to the pinnacle of the mariachi genre as one of the lead vocalists and guitarists with Mexico’s premiere ensemble. Jonathan is one of the most beloved and iconic mariachi musicians today and descends from a legendary musical family in Mexico.  His father, Rafael Palomar, was a vocalist and guitarist with Mariachi Vargas for 23 years (1980–2003) and his grandfather, the legendary bandleader Román Palomar is best known as the author of the famous cumbia “El Mariachi Loco.” Jonathan was born in Mexico City and raised in Guadalajara.  Jonathan currently lives in San Antonio, Texas and wowed audiences as a performer and artistic director for the 29th Annual Mariachi Extravaganza.

We are excited to announce our FESTIBA 2024 Mariachi Festival Guest Artist and Harp Clinician!

Maestro Jorge Ivan Velasco is a world-renowned folk harpist who is unmatched in his amazing dexterity, skill and virtuosity. He specializes in the research of the authentic performance practices, historical development, and instruction of the folkloric music of the State of Veracruz. He is currently on the faculty of the Universidad Veracruzana in Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico. He has performed as harp soloist and with numerous ensembles, including the Ballet folklórico de la Universidad Veracruzana, and the musical ensemble Tlen Huicani.

Jorge Ivan Velasco has released fifteen CDs/DVD, and has performed as harp soloist throughout the United States, and in numerous festivals in Australia, Venezuela, Irán, France, Colombia, Switzerland, Japan, Spain, and Paraguay.  He has recently authored a book called “Ivan Velasco Harp Method” to promote the teaching-learning of the Mexican folk harp.

eddy_lopez275.jpgJosue Eduardo "Eddy" Lopez, a native of Monclova, Mexico, is an instructor, arranger, composer, multi-instrumentalist and Mariachi Strand Director at GPFAA. In 2010 he graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.M. in Professional Music from Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA.
As a conference instructor, he has taught violin, trumpet, guitarrón, and armonía and arranged for almost all of the large mariachi conferences in the US, including: FESTIBA Mariachi Festival in Edinburg, TX,  Tucson International Mariachi Conference in Tucson, AZ, Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza in San Antonio, TX, International Mariachi Festival in National City, CA, Mariachi Espectacular in Albuquerque, NM, New York City Mariachi Conference in Brooklyn, NY and more.
As a clinician, he has traveled across the country and Mexico to offer instrumental and arranging clinics to both student and professional groups. As a freelance arranger, he has written hundreds of original arrangements for mariachi groups and symphony orchestras across the USA and México as well, including: Mariachi Internacional Los Perez, Mariachi Aztlán from UTRGV, Mariachi Herencia De México, The San Antonio Symphony Orchestra, The Tucson Symphony, Orquesta Sinfónica de Xalapa among many others.
As a recording artist, he has arranged and recorded for many professional and Grammy Award-winning producers and artists including: Natalia Jimenez, Lupillo Rivera, Carlos Rivera, Maluma, Bacilos, CNCO,  Paulina Rubio, Camilo, Pipe Bueno, Alex Campos, Ricardo Montaner, Turizo, Becky G among others.
He currently resides in Grand Prairie, TX, and continues to be in high demand as a guest clinician, arranger, and recording artist.


Dr. Adolfo Estrada has received numerous invitations to perform as a guitarist and vocalist for concerts and studio recording sessions with professional mariachi ensembles. Notable performances include the 2013 Inaugural Ceremonies for the U.S. President in Washington D.C., the performance of the Houston Grand Opera’s commissioned work “Cruzar La Cara De La Luna,” the 2015 world premiere of the Chicago Lyric mariachi opera “El Pasado Nunca Se Termina,” and appearances on the Tonight Show and the Stephen Colbert Show. Professional mariachi accompaniment of note include Plácido Domingo, Flor Silvestre, Vikki Carr, Little Joe, Nydia Rojas, Virginia Tola, Azucena, and Pablo Montero. In 2010, he had the opportunity to perform with Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán for a significant concert performance. (Mariachi Vargas was founded in 1897 and is currently in its sixth generation; their official title is “El Mejor Mariachi del Mundo.” Within the mariachi community, he is known as an expert in the mariachi armonía section, which functions similarly to the continuo section of the baroque ensemble comprising classical guitar, vihuela, guitarra de golpe, arpa, and guitarrón). Since 2002, Adolfo has been continually invited to give masterclasses at various mariachi workshops in the United States and Mexico.


Since 1989, Mariachi Aztlán has traveled throughout Mexico and the United States as musical ambassadors representing the beauty of the Hispanic music and cultural traditions. Recognitions for performance excellence initiated an invitation from the White House to perform at the signing ceremony of an Executive Order renewing and enhancing the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, performing for President Barack Obama in 2010.

In collaboration with the Houston Grand Opera, Mariachi Aztlán premiered the stage production of Cruzar la Cara de la Luna, the world’s first "Mariachi/Opera" in December, 2010.  A second performance of the same production took place in 2013 with the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Mariachi Aztlán also premiered the mariachi opera El Pasado Nunca Se Termina with the Chicago Lyric Opera in 2015. Other national performances include guest artists at the Tucson International Mariachi Conference in 2015 and 2019, guest artists at the 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 San Diego International Mariachi Festivals, and guest artists at the 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 Chicago Mariachi Festivals. The mariachi was invited as guest clinicians and performing artists for the Mariachi Spectacular Workshop in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018. For several years, Mariachi Aztlán has been invited as guest clinicians and performing artists Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza Competition in San Antonio. National performances include concerts at the Santa Barbara Bowl in August of 2019, with the famous Mexican singer, Aida Cuevas, and guest artists at the Chicago Mariachi Festival which was held at the Millenium Amphitheatre, Jay Pritzker Pavilion, June 29th, 2019.

Other national performances at prestigious venues include Hollywood Bowl, the John F. Kennedy Performing Arts Center, and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Mariachi Aztlán has performed with symphony orchestras in Mexico, including performances in Monterrey, Pachuca, and Tampico, and with the Valley Symphony Orchestra and the Houston Symphony Orchestra.

Mariachi Aztlán has accompanied other famous artists such as Juan Valentin, Vikki Carr, Nydia Rojas, Azucena, Ramon Ayala, Leo Dan, Paquita La Del Barrio, and many others. International performances include the Mexican cities of Monterrey, Pachuca, Tampico, Guadalajara, Mexico City and San Miguel de Allende, and Ottawa, Canada.

In 2022 and 2023, Mariachi Aztlán toured with the “The Queen of Mariachi”, and esteemed figure in Mexico, Aida Cuevas, throughout the U.S., performing at more than 20 distinguished venues across America.

Mariachi Aztlán released a CD, Mi Nombre Es México to commemorate their 25th Anniversary.





SPRING FESTIBA 2024: Distinguished Artist Series - Mariachi Los Camperos Concert


Mariachi Los Camperos is one of the most popular mariachis in the world. It stands out for its innovative show and distinction as a concert mariachi. Grammy Award-winning Mariachi Los Camperos was founded in 1961 by Jose Natividad "Nati" Cano Ruiz. Nati Cano played a pivotal role in the development of mariachi music in the United States, training and mentoring new generations of mariachi musicians!

Mariachi Los Camperos es uno de los mariachis más populares del mundo. Se destaca por su espectáculo innovador y distinción como mariachi de conciertos. El mariachi ganador del premio Grammy, Mariachi Los Camperos fue fundado en 1961 por José Natividad "Nati" Cano Ruiz. Nati Cano jugó un papel fundamental en el desarrollo de la música de mariachi en los Estados Unidos, capacitando y asesorar a las nuevas generaciones de músicos de mariachi.

Saturday, March 2nd, 2024
Time: 7 p.m - 9 p.m.
Location: UTRGV Performing Arts Complex
1201 West University Drive, Edinburg

Buy Tickets Here!

For questions or accommodations, please contact the UTRGV School of Music at (956) 665-3881 or (956) 882-7025.

Para preguntas sobre adaptaciones especiales, llame al (956) 665-3881 o al (956) 882-7025.

Dahlia Guerra
Special Asst Dean Outreach & Partherships
College of Fine Arts
EPACB B2.133
Phone: 956-665-2353
Email: dahlia.guerra@utrgv.edu

Francisco Loera
Senior Lecturer
Email: francisco.loera@utrgv.edu