If last week was all about a million great shows around town (give or take a few), this week is all about the festivals: big festivals, little festivals, fundraising festivals – you get the idea. Let's have a look-see at some of the many festivals hitting our burg this week, shall we? (And since you've already read about Loft Aid: An Evening to Benefit The Loft Cinema at La Cocina in the City Week section of this week's paper, we'll skip that one here. But rest assured, it's a festival and a damn good one.)

Following last week's Exile on Congress, downtown returns to the festival beat. Starting at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 26, Hotel Congress will present the ¡Coacholo! Latin Music Mini-Festival. The 21-and-older gathering will feature live bands and DJs on two stages – one indoors and one outdoors – including headliners Chicano Batman, an L.A.-based retro Latin ensemble. Also performing will be Vox Urbana, Justin Valdez and the Tortilla Makers, Grite-Leon, Golden Ghost, DJ Herm, and DJ Dirtyverbs.

Tickets are apparently free if you get there between 8 and 9 p.m. and only $5 after 9, solid news for the frugal music fan. Hotel Congress is located at 311 E. Congress St. For more info head to or call 622-8848.

The annual Beautiful Noise Festival, which is celebrating its 20th year of presenting showcases by dream-pop and shoegaze bands in Phoenix, takes place at Hollywood Alley on Saturday, April 27. But the night before that, Solar Culture Gallery, 31 E. Toole Ave., will feature two of that festival's headliners – Dead Leaf Echo and The Tennis System – along with a pair of likeminded Tucson acts, Ocean Void and Some of Them Are Old. The all-ages show gets started at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 26. Admission is $6. For more information check out or call 884-0874.

Perhaps the longest-running Tucson music festival of all is the Tucson International Mariachi Conference. Now in its 31st year, the fest moved from its downtown digs at the Tucson Convention Center and Armory Park last year, and now resides at Casino del Sol. While workshops began earlier in the week, the shows the public mostly care about run for three days.

Tonight, Thursday, April 25, is the Student Showcase Concert. Starting at 6:30 p.m. at the casino's AVA, student groups who have attended workshops each get 12 minutes of time to show off their stuff on the big stage. Tickets are $10.

At 7 p.m. on Friday, April 26, at AVA, it's the biggest event of the conference: the Espectacular Concert. Performers at this year's show include Mariachi Sol de Mexico de Jose Hernandez; the Los Angeles-based, all-female mariaichi band Las Colibrí; and, barely in double digits age-wise, Sebastien de la Cruz, who was a fan favorite on the most recent season of America's Got Talent. Tickets range from $20 to $50.

At 10 a.m. at AVA on Saturday, April 27, there's a mariachi mass that's free to the public, followed by the Fiesta de Garibaldi, which runs from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday, and features the music, art, culture, and food of the Garibaldi Plaza in Mexico City. It takes place at Casino del Sol's outdoor pool area and Grand Ballroom, and tickets are $10.

Casino del Sol is located at 5655 W. Valencia Road. To purchase tickets head to For more information check out or call the casino at (800) 344-9435. Proceeds from the Tucson International Mariachi Conference benefit children's services at La Frontera Center.

Meanwhile, Casino del Sol is also one of the sponsors of the 3rd Annual Cowboy Music Festival and Western Art Show, which takes place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on both Saturday, April 27, and Sunday, April 28, at Old Tucson. From a press release: "The music festival will pay homage to the musical heritage of the American West from traditional trail songs, through the era of the silver screen cowboy to contemporary western songwriting. The art show will feature one-of-a-kind handmade works of many local artists. Extraordinary western paintings, photography, sculpture, woodcarving, jewelry and more will be available for guests to browse and purchase at the festival." Tickets are $16.95 for adults, $10.95 for children ages 4 to 11, and free for children 3 and younger.

The festival will move offsite for a special benefit concert at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 27. An Evening of Songs and Stories of the West will feature performances by Rex Allen, Jr., Juni Fisher, Bill Barwick, Gary McMahan, and the Bill Ganz Western Band, and will take place at the Berger Performing Arts Center, 1200 W. Speedway Blvd. Tickets are $20, and the concert will benefit Young Life Tucson, "a Christian ministry that reaches out to middle school, high school and college-aged kids."

Old Tucson is located at 201 S. Kinney Road. For more information or to purchase tickets, go to You can also contact Old Tucson at 883-0100.

For nearly five years, Bonnie Vining has been the director of the Live Acoustic Venue Association (LAVA), a non-profit she founded to present concerts at a variety of locations around town and on Mount Lemmon. And before that she presented shows for several years at Javalinas Coffee and Friends, which she later sold and is now closed.

Vining presented her last show as LAVA's director on April 13, and this week Vining, as well as official LAVA photographer Bob Block, will be celebrating birthdays. Which brings us to Bonnie and Bob's Big Birthday Bye-Bye. Organized by local singer-songwriter Sabra Faulk, who has lined up 18 acts to perform, the event will run from noon to 9 p.m. on Sunday, April 28, at the Pantano Stables Wedding Park, 4450 S. Houghton Road.

Here's what the schedule looks like: Sabra Faulk with Mitzi Cowell and Beverly Seckinger (noon); Cinder Bridge (12:25 p.m.); Nancy Lynn Bright with Mitzi Cowell and Slim Rost (12:50 p.m.); Nancy McCallion and Tom Rhodes (1:15 p.m.); Amber Norgaard with Sabra Faulk (1:40 p.m.); Wally Lawder with Samantha Bounkeua, Stefin Gordon, and Jim Lipson (2:05 p.m.); The Moonstruck Coyotes (2:30 p.m.); Ron Pandy and friends (2:55 p.m.); The Wayback Machine (3:20 p.m.); Stefan George (3:45 p.m.); Don and Victoria Armstrong (4:10 p.m.); Robyn Landis with Joel Dvoskin (4:35 p.m.); Ice-9 (5 p.m.); I Hear Voices! featuring Bobby Kimmel, Kathy Harris, Bobby Ronstadt, and Suzy Ronstadt (5:25 p.m.); Coyote Supper Club featuring Kevin Pakulis, Amy Langley, Kevin Heiderman, and Johnny Benoit (6 p.m.); Cochise County All-Stars featuring Sabra Faulk, Louie Levinson, Gene Holmes, and Pete Torberg (6:45 p.m.); Chuck Wagon and the Wheelchairs (7:30 p.m.); John Coinman Band with Peter McLaughlin, Neil Harry, Blair Forward, and Larry Cobb (8:15 p.m.).

Admission is free. You're encouraged to BYOB and BYOLC (lawn chair) and food trucks will be present for your noshing needs. For more information head to

Each year local musicians band together to raise money for BASIS Tucson's Annual Teacher Fund, which, according to a press release, "has achieved national recognition for our success that is built on hiring the best teachers available. In order to recruit and retain such high quality educators, BASIS Tucson focuses all fundraising efforts on the Annual Teacher Fund. This fund allows us to augment teacher salaries and provide merit-based bonuses."

This year's Bands 4 Basis will take place at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 28, at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., and will feature performances by Sun Bones, Hans Hutchison, Sean Aiken, Early Black, Michael P. and the Gully Washers, and Carlos Arzate and the Kind Souls. Tickets are available for $11 in advance or $15 on the day of show via or 740-1000, which is the same info to use for further details.


There are plenty non-festival shows hitting town this week as well. Here are some options to consider: Black Mountain and Young Hunter at Club Congress on Wednesday, May 1; Machine Gun Kelly at the Rialto Theatre on Wednesday, May 1; Touché, Yardsale Heart, and Kaia Chesney at Plush on Friday, April 26; Hot Love Cabaret, featuring Lisa Otey, Diane Van Deurzen, Regina "The Queen" Wills, Burney Starks, Mark Rosenbaum, and Bobby Curtis, present "Hot Love in Bloom" at St. Francis in the Foothills on Friday, April 26; Jake Miller at The Rock on Saturday, April 27; Making Movies at Plush tonight, Thursday, April 25; Larry the Cable Guy and Reno Collier at AVA at Casino del Sol on Sunday, April 28.

Be sure to check out our listings sections for more good stuff this week.

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