In 1995, several years after the original mariachi conference had ceased to exist, publicist and former mariachi musician Cynthia Muñoz started a new chapter in San Antonio’s mariachi festival history when she instituted the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza. Founded with the explicit mission of promoting and presenting world-class mariachi artists and preserving the cultural traditions of Hispanic heritage, today the Extravaganza is the largest and longest-running mariachi music festival in Texas and one of the most important events of its kind in the world. Each year, more than a dozen mariachi-related events are held during this seven-day festival, culminating in a gala concert that features award-winning mariachi groups and vocalists and the internationally renowned Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán. The event draws thousands of people from throughout the U.S. who come together to proudly celebrate this music and culture — and enjoy performances from the best in the world.
Mariachi Vargas Concert
Since its inception, the heart of the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza has been Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán — the most important ensemble in the history of mariachi music. For over half a century, Vargas has been considered the best mariachi in the world (“el mejor mariachi del mundo”). Founded in 1898, in the southern Jalisco village of Tecalitlán, the group celebrates 117 years and six generations. No other mariachi in history has had a trajectory or influence remotely comparable to that of Vargas. Its current generation represents the state of the art in mariachi music: world-class vocalists and instrumentalists, flawless ensemble work, impeccable taste in arrangements and repertoire, and spellbinding showmanship — while continuing to preserve the traditional folk music of the group’s rural origin.
Select Press Coverage
- WBUR – DJ Session: Mariachi
- University of Michigan – Student Spotlight: Embedded with Mariachi Vargas
- San Antonio Current – Mariachi Vargas’ National Mariachi Group Competitions
- San Antonio Current – Celebrate the 21st Annual Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza at Noche De Cultura, Now!
- San Antonio Express News – Mariachi is ‘at a different level now’
- San Antonio Magazine – Mariachi fest celebrates 20 years of music, culture and education
- New York Times – GTT
- PBS – Mariachi High
- Navajo Times – Young Diné earns top prize at Mariachi event
- La Prensa – Mariachi Camp con Vikki Carr previo a festival de mariachis
- Christian Science Monitor – Old music finds new voices
- VOA News – Mariachi Music Gains Popularity Across Ethnic Lines
- Texas Monthly Magazine – Six Must-Attend Events
- San Antonio Express News – Mariachi Masters in SA for Workshop
- San Antonio Express News – Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza kicks off
- San Antonio Express News – Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza Saturday at the Cockrell
- San Antonio Express News – Mariachi singer set to win Univision’s ‘Va Por Ti’
- San Antonio Express News – Mariachi Extravaganza
- San Antonio Express News – Comic-actor Quezada loves mariachi music
- San Antonio Express News – Eva Longoria profiling S.A.’s ‘Little Mariachi’ for national TV