This weekend, the western Arizona desert will be filled with the sounds of rock ... en español.
Rock Fiesta, a debut festival to be held in Quartzsite, Ariz. (30 minutes from Blythe, Calif.), brings together high-profile Latin American rock, pop and electronica performers over 2 1/2 days starting Thursday night.
The acts include legendary rockers Caifanes, Molotov, El Tri and Café Tacvba (pronounced Tacuba) from Mexico, alt rockers Kinky, also from Mexico, fusion pop-funk band Los Amigos Invisibles from Venezuela, and DJs Bostich and Fussible from the Tijuana electronica act Nortec Collective. Los Angeles' own Ozomatli is also on the lineup.
The festival's associate producer Alejandro Euvoli says that Rock Fiesta aims to be the Coachella of the Latin music world. "It has rock, electronica, punk — it has everything!" he says.
Although many of the acts, including Café Tacvba and Caifanes, have played Coachella, Latin rock acts remain marginalized at that festival, which focuses more on English-language rock, pop and hip-hop.
The Rock Fiesta idea came from promoter Hal Davidson after he saw images of similar festivals held in Mexico. "He wanted to do something like that — a big rock festival for Latinos," says Euvoli, "because there really wasn't any." At least none on the scale he's planning.
The festival features two stages, 13 hours of continuous music each day and 19 live performances. This includes a gig by Metalachi, "the world's first and only heavy metal mariachi."
With its prime location — Quartzsite is just 3 1/2 hours from L.A. and Tijuana, 3 hours from Las Vegas and 2 hours from Phoenix — the organizers are hoping to draw audiences from all over the region for what Euvoli describes as "one big celebration of Latin culture."
"Rock Fiesta" kicks off Thursday evening with DJ parties in the dance tent. Bands take the stage, starting with Metalachi, Friday at 11 a.m. The final act takes place Saturday at 11:30 p.m. when Bostich + Fussible perform. One-day festival tickets start at $95. Desert Garden Show Grounds, 1240 Acacia Road, Quartzsite, rockfiesta.com.